Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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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.
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

Tango‘d Web/ Oblivion Project 3/21/11

Music Kristi Kates Tango’d Web: The Oblivion Project plays Piazzolla
By Kristi Kates
Gabe Bolkosky, Derek Snyder, John Holkeboer, Alex Trajano, Tad Weed,
Julien Labro, and sometimes Peter Soave make up the unique jazz/classical
group known as The Oblivion Project, whose music may be somewhat oblivious
to those not familiar with the singular artist Astor Piazzolla.
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

Rochelle Clark 3/21/11

Music Kristi Kates Rochelle Clark steps out solo
By Kristi Kates
Under-the-radar duo The Potter’s Field may be a little tricky to find on the Internet, but you can find its members all ‘round Northern Michigan, performing at local venues as well as clubs in the Ann Arbor region. Rochelle Clark is one of those two members, and she’ll be performing her own solo show as part of the Charlevoix Library’s Winterfolk Concert Series this month.
Clark, who says she’s been interested in playing music since she was a little girl, was inspired in part by family, and in part by an inherent need to craft music.
“Both my dad and my grandpa were musicians, so music has always been a big part of my life,” she explains.
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

4Play: Foo Fighters, The Dears, Noah & the Whale, old War Kids 3/21/11

Music Kristi Kates Foo Fighters - Wasting Light - RCA
Recorded on defiant analog tape in Dave Grohl’s garage (albeit with the
assistance of superproducer Butch Vig and top-notch mixer Alan Moulder),
the songs on the Foo’s latest are an equally yin-yang mix of the high
sheen and the grungy. First official single “Rope” has pushy drums that
solidify the raw pop/rock beat and charging punk-popster “Bridge Burning”
plays out that garage-band feel, while more restraint and smoother
arrangements are shown on tracks like “These Days,” “I Should Have Known,”
and the Bob Mould-guesting “Dear Rosemary.” The new songs are definitely
fodder for the Foo’s potential headlining spot at Lollapalooza this year.

 
Monday, March 14, 2011

Serious Moonlight

Music Kristi Kates Serious Moonlight... Moonlight Red brings a mix of instruments & influences
By Kristi Kates
Talking to Laren Corie and Donna Klein of Moonlight Red, one gets the
impression that they’ve been performing together for a very long time; but
in reality, they’ve only been working together for about a year, and had
to follow quite the twisting road to find each other’s work.
 
Monday, March 14, 2011

Orpheum Bell

Music Kristi Kates Orpheum Bell rings anew in Northern Michigan
By Kristi Kates
Since 2009, when Express last checked in with Ann Arbor band Orpheum Bell, they were putting on a big CD release show at Freshwater Studios in Boyne City - and watching their music slowly but surely acquire more and more critical and fan acclaim.
Well, the gypsy-esque lineup of musicians has changed a bit, now reading Aaron Klein, Michael Billmire, the inimitable Serge van der Voo, and newest bandmates Henrik Karapetyan and Katie Lee (“With every member change, our music goes through a growing transformation process; Katie and Henrik have added tremendous intensity and inspiration to our group’s sound,” van der Voo says) but Orpheum Bell the band haven’t slowed down at all.
 
Monday, March 14, 2011

4Play: James Blake, The Script, Edwyn Collins, The Dodos

Music Kristi Kates James Blake - James Blake - Universal
Blake’s unique, downtrodden take on dubstep may not be for everyone - or
at least, not for those who don’t appreciate a certain level of
pensiveness - but his skills at melding quietude with beats can’t be
denied. The studied awkwardness of the piano on “Give Me My Month,” the
street corner loneliness and abandoned penny organ sounds of
“Measurements,” the ’80s detachment of “Lindisfarne II,” and the clicky
apathy of “The Wilhelm Scream” never pick up the pace to take the listener
anywhere at all, but that unmoving sadness is part of what makes this
album succeed - as long as the listener is in a very s
 
 
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