Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Seasons of Swirl

Music Kristi Kates Seasons of swirl: Wine tasting & music energize Crooked Tree Arts Center
By Kristi Kates
“I like learning about the wines and asking about food pairings at Swirl…”
“It’s great to be able to view an exhibit with friends at Swirl…”
“Swirl is a great way to meet new people of all ages…”

But just what is Swirl?
“Swirl is an informal and informative wine tasting held in our galleries, with live music,” explains Liz Ahrens, the Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Executive Director. “Each month we invite a local wine purveyor to provide wines and appetizers, featuring their best or most unusual products,” she continues, “it’s the result of CTAC wanting to bring in visitors to the galleries in an informal and relaxed setting.”
 
Monday, April 18, 2011

4Play: Paul Simon, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Alexander, Robbie Robertson

Music Kristi Kates Paul Simon - So Beautiful, So What - Hear Music
Simon returns with some of his best music since back in the Graceland
days, featuring an emotional range of new songs fully graced (ahem) with
diverse worldbeat instrumentations pinned to intelligent-folk roots. With
vocals barely aged even as Simon approaches 70 years old, he crafts smart
storytelling vehicles via music that beckon the ear and spark discussion.
“Questions for the Angels” harkens empathy for the homeless through one of
Simon’s trademark ballads; “The Afterlife” throws a bit of humor into the
mix; “Dazzling Blue” mixes exotic percussion and fiddle; and highlight
“Love is Eternal Sacred Light” is as catchy as Simon’s music ever was.
 
Alison Krauss and Union Station - Paper Airplane - Rounder Records
It took a few years for Krauss and crew to craft something that they
apparantly felt would stand up to their 3-Grammy-winning 2004 release
(Lonely Runs Both Ways), but they’re back in full force with this one,
which showcases every facet of Krauss’ influences, from
Americana/roots/bluegrass music to country and pop. Krauss’ voice is a
consistent element throughout for the most part (three songs are sung by
Union Station’s Dan Tyminski), whether on the pensive “Lie Awake,” the
serene “Dimming of the Day,” and the slightly darker “Sinking Stone.” It’s
nothing particularly groundbreaking, but a consistent, strong, and
appealing set of tunes.
 
Monday, April 11, 2011

Courtney Argue 4/11/11

Music Rick Coates Courtney Argue: A Hopeful Star is Born…
By Rick Coates 
While American Idol and the soon-to-debut American version of The X Factor
look for the next big pop stars, Traverse City’s Courtney Argue has her
own plans. The 2008 TC West High School graduate has a big-time producer,
a major music deal in the works, and a reality television show in
pre-production.
 
Monday, April 11, 2011

Island 4/11/11

Music Kristi Kates Benefit for an Environmental ISLAND
By Kristi Kates
 Founded by Brad Kik and his wife Amanda six years ago, Bellaire non-profit
organization ISLAND - aka the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and
Natural Design - began, essentially, on a date… or several, according to
Brad Kik himself.
 
Monday, April 11, 2011

4Plat: Moondoggies, Middle Brother, Tino Ghost, Twilight Singers 4/11/11

Music Kristi Kates Moondoggies - Tidelands - Hardly Art
Seattle harmony-fans Moondoggies (think Crosby Stills and Nash, not Gidget) teamed up with Erik Blood, Kurt Bloch, and Phil Ek for this set, which finds the band in a more determined mood production-wise, and a more shoegazey mood musically (firmly within their Americana vibe, of course.) They’re strong on the melodies, too, with plenty of songs that offer hooks without pandering to radio - retrofied organ sounds coupled with simply mic’d pianos and guitars set the groundwork for songs like the languid, drawling “It’s a Shame, It’s a Pity,” the violin-seasoned “Lead Me On,” and the chugging, organ-tuneful “Down the Well.”


 
Monday, April 4, 2011

Jesse Winchester 4/4/11

Music Kristi Kates Jesse Winchester: 40 Years of Songs
By Kristi Kates
 When asked what the audience can look forward to at his upcoming City
Opera House show in Traverse City, singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is
either the humblest of performers, or merely the soul of brevity.
“(It’ll be) me, playing my guitar and singing. Doesn’t sound like much,
does it?” he says.
 
Monday, April 4, 2011

Steel Wheels 4/4/11

Music Kristi Kates Steel Wheels’ Rolling Medicine Show
By Kristi Kates
 Blissfest’s concise description of the four-piece band known as The Steel
Wheels is simply this: “an old time medicine show with modern energy and
an Americana heart.”
 
Monday, April 4, 2011

4Play:Badly Drawn Boy, The Apples in Stereo, Eels, Autumn Defense 4/4/11

Music Kristi Kates Badly Drawn Boy - It’s What I’m Thinking: Part One - The End Records
Chock-full of emotional filling and dusted with instrumental sugar, Badly Drawn Boy’s latest - like so many of his best albums - is another musical treat that’s light enough to not be overwhelming, but still a rewarding and smart listen. His personal lyrics tell the stories, while the melodies remain as catchy as always, right from the temperate opener (“In Safe Hands”) to the reflective “What Tomorrow Brings,” the simple but effortlessly pretty balladry of “Saw You Walk Away” and “The Electric,” and onward to the slightly more musically-adventurous “A Pure Accident” and “This Beautiful Idea.” It’s fairly apparent that most of the album is inspired by relationships - but hopefully something else he’s thinking about is how to make more great music like this.


 
Monday, March 28, 2011

Disco Inferno 3/28/11

Music Rick Coates Disco Inferno: ‘Best Band’ winners change name to Ella R!ot
By Rick Coates
For the past couple of years Ann Arbor based My Dear Disco has been making regular stops in Northern Michigan. The band recently headlined the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival and just last week they performed to a packed house at the Loading Dock in Traverse City.
Voted “Best Band” in Northern Michigan, the players are getting ready to embark on a national tour. Guitarist and band co-leader Robert Lester sat down to give an update:
 
Monday, March 28, 2011

Miriam Pico 3/28/11

Music Rick Coates Miriam Pico : Best Solo Performer
By Rick Coates
Singer/songwriter Miriam Pico has been on the Northern Express radar for the past six years; in our recent survey, readers of the paper selected her as Best Solo Performer in Northern Michigan.
Releasing three CDs since she launched her professional singing career at the age of 21, Pico is now 27 and performs at several venues in the region, most notably Phil’s on Front. Her 2009 release “S’bout Time” with pianist David Chown has sold well and when the duo gets together to perform it is a big draw for area venues.
 
Monday, March 28, 2011

In the name of Black Sabbath 3/28/11

Music Tom Carr In the Name Of… Black Sabbath
By Tom Carr
Eddie Janes bears a striking resemblance to Ozzie Osbourne, which instantly puts In The Name Of above other Black Sabbath tribute bands.
Janes has been stopped on the street by people telling him he looks like the legendary heavy metal frontman. When he drops his Midwest accent and goes into a British semi-mumble, the transformation is nearly complete.
Put him with a tight band that covers Sabbath to a tee on a stage amid skulls with lighted red eyes and Janes singing in a high-pitched, metal wail, and you’re getting eerily close to the real thing.
Janes sings for In The Name Of, which will play a show at Ground Zero at Streeters Center on Saturday, April 2.
 
Monday, March 28, 2011

4Play:R.E.M., Beady Eye, The Strokes, Elbow 3/28/11

Music Kristi Kates R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now - Warner Bros.
The Little Athens Band That Could harken back to their good old days with their newest set, as produced by legend-in-the-making Jacknife Lee. Tracked in New Orleans and at Berlin’s famed Hansa Studios, the album includes special appearances by Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, and Hidden Cameras’ Joel Gibb - but the real elements to note are the songs themselves. “Discoverer” is classic R.E.M. (their more optimistic side, as well), with big Peter Buck guitars and an undeniable hook; “Uberlin” and “Oh My Heart” showcase R.E.M.’s ability to craft evocative indie ballads; and album closer “Blue” lets Stipe’s speaking voice take center stage.
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

Bill Staines 3/21/11

Music Rick Coates The Long Road of Bill Staines: Folkie cult favorite logs 65,000 miles each year 3/21/11
By Rick Coates
Sleder’s Family Tavern has been offering their On The Porch Concert for
several years and one of the favorites has been singer/songwriter folkie
Bill Staines. He will return this Sunday, March 27 after just making a
swing through Michigan 10 days ago.
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

Chris Smither 3/21/11

Music Rick Coates Time Stands Still for Chris Smither
By Rick Coates
At 67, singer/songwriter Chris Smither has not lost his passion for
performing. He plans to cut his tour schedule from 120 shows to 80 shows a
year, but it has nothing to do with his age.
“I have a six-year-old daughter and I don’t want to miss out on her
growing up,” said Smither. “I love performing, I just don’t like getting
there.”
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

Solas 3/21/11

Music Kristi Kates Solas: Lighting a Path to Irish Music
By Kristi Kates
It was May of 1996 when Irish-American folk group Solas first snagged
national attention on A Prairie Home Companion, and also the same year
that the band recorded their first album; quite a landmark year for them.
Currently a five-piece outfit, Solas’ music is pure Irish and full of
emotion, from the classic instrumentation right down to the often
haunting, lilting vocals. This year, they’ll be showcasing their talents
in Harbor Springs for a Performing Arts Center performance this Saturday,
March 26.
 
 
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