Letters

Letters 8-18-2014

The Climate Clarified

Climate change isn’t an easy subject. A class I’m taking compared it to medicine in a way that was helpful for me: Climate scientists are like planetary physicians. Our understanding of medicine is incomplete, but what we know is useful...

Beware Non-Locally Grown

The article “Farm Fresh?” couldn’t be any more true than exactly stated. As an avid shopper at the local farm markets I want to know “exactly” what I am buying, from GMO free to organic or not organic, sprayed or not sprayed and with what...

Media Bias Must End

I wish to thank Joel Weberman for his letter “Seeking Balanced Israel Coverage.” The pro-Palestinian bias includes TV news coverage...

Proud of My President

The world is a mess. According to many conservative voices, it would not be in such a mess if Obama was not the president. I am finally understanding that the problem with our president is that he is too thoughtful, too rational, too realistic, too inclined to see things differently and change his mind, too compassionate to be the leader of a free world...

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Tom Rush

Music Rick Coates Now in its 31st season Blissfest should be on every “music festival-goers” bucket list. Among Northern Michigan music festivals this is the “grandaddy” of them all. If someone says a festival can’t be all things to all people they should come and check out Blissfest, located just north of Harbor Springs near Cross Village that takes place this weekend Friday July 8 - Sunday July 10.
Along with ‘60s folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie, headlining this year’s festival is Tom Rush, who Rolling Stone magazine credits as the artist responsible for ushering in the singer/songwriter generation. Rush helped Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and many others gain recognition by covering their songs.
Rush’s impact on the music industry has been felt for the past 50 years, inspiring musicians from Bob Dylan to Garth Brooks to Bono.
“Tom Rush was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences.” said Garth Brooks in an interview with Country Music Television.” He is definitely one of my top five musical influences of all time.”
U2’s Bono echoed that sentiment after incorporating Rush’s “No Regrets” into their setlist and performing it on Saturday Night Live.
“I am a big fan of Tom Rush and admire his songwriting talents. He is one of the songwriting greats,” Bono told the BBC in 2009. “I often incorporate his song ‘No Regrets,’ into our setlist.”
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Rock memories

Music Rick Coates The story behind how progressive rockers Kansas formed seems like it could be a scene out of the Forrest Gump movie.
When Kansas kicks off the national acts portion of the National Cherry Festival Bay Side Music Stage on Wednesday, July 6, not only will they be bringing their hit songs “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Point Of Know Return,” “Dust In The Wind,” “Hold On,” and “The Wall” -- they will also bring links to some obscure moments in rock music history.
The origins of the band date back to the late ’60s though the band uses their 1974 label deal with legendary Don Kirshner as their official formation year.
Formed in Topeka, Kansas and morphing out of the band White Clover, Kansas would rise to the top of the rock scene in the late ‘70s and early ’80s. When their self-titled album debut was released in 1974 the group wrote on the back of the album jacket: “From the beginning, we considered ourselves and our music different and we hope we will always remain so.”
That being “different” according to founding member and drummer Phil Ehart stemmed from the group’s early influences and experiences. Just out of high school, the members of White Clover in a one-year period were jamming with Jim Morrison and The Doors, hanging out with Jerry Garcia, being told that Santana was opening for them, and having Janis Joplin come up to them and tell them “you guys are pretty good.” But it was the circumstances of these chance encounters that put the group in some of rock and roll music’s most obscure moments.
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Good music at The Good Work Collective

Music Kristi Kates The Good Work Collective’s mission statement says it all about the new arts and music organization housed in a funky old building in Traverse City’s Old Town:
“From art showings, to live music, to culinary events, to meeting spaces for local non-profits and community groups, The Good Work Collective is a welcoming environment where individuals and inspiration meet. We’re not a think tank. We’re a do tank.”
Born in 2008 with a goal of being a “steward of the arts” in Northern Michigan as well as in Bozeman, Montana, Porterhouse Productions supports musicians and artists with a finesse not often seen in the more casual “Up North” environment.
Founded by Sam Porter and Abby Walton Porter as a dual-state entertainment production company, Porterhouse recently expanded its reach with The Good Work Collective, a ‘gathering space’ for everything from concerts, art displays and grass root projects to brainstorming sessions and artistic collaborations.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Kenny Olson?s Friendly Jam

Music Rick Coates Since hitting the big time with Kid Rock over 12 years ago, Kenny Olson has always made a point to return home to Traverse City once a year to jam. This year is no exception.
Olson, who left Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker band five years ago to pursue solo projects, will be back on Sunday, July 3 for one show at Union Street Station.
Olson is currently working on several projects since relocating to Nashville a couple of years ago. He has become a major part of the Nashville music scene by hosting an almost weekly Kenny Olson and Friends jam sessions, where A-list music stars join him on stage when they are in town recording or touring. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Buddy Guy, members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Three Doors Down, Chaka Chan and some of Jimi Hendrix’s former band mates among others have all joined him.
“It has been pretty cool and a lot of fun,” said Olson. “I have been getting encouragement to turn this into a record and a tour and now that is happening.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Dominic Fortuna

Music Rick Coates Dominic Fortuna is back in Northern Michigan, at least for the moment. Fresh off his third stint with Grease, that kept Fortuna on Broadway and on the road for much of the past three and half years, he is happy to be back in Northern Michigan and working on a new summer season.
Fortuna and his wife Ashley Moeggenberg Fortuna are producing three shows this summer at the Williamsburg Dinner Theater beginning this Friday, July 1 and continuing through August.
“I launched the Williamsburg Dinner Theater eight years ago and we have had a great run and we want to keep it going,” said Fortuna, who is a 33-year veteran of the region’s entertainment scene. “My wife and I talked and decided we are going to put everything we can into making this work as we want to stay here in Northern Michigan and be performers and raise our children.”

IN DEMAND
The challenge Fortuna is facing is that the rest of the country is calling for his talent. Vegas wants him, so does LA and Nashville and New York is also calling and they want him back.
“I started performing in Northern Michigan in 1978 at Brownwood, I was in the Young Americans and built a following performing at my father’s restaurant,” said Fortuna. “I have been fortunate to be able to perform throughout the region and I love it here; I am hoping to stay but I have to make it work financially.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Rock Fusion The Max Allen Band

Music Kristi Kates Most of today’s up and coming bands - with good reason - don’t like to be pigeonholed, nor do they like to be limited. Indianapolis band Max Allen Band, who will be performing in Traverse City the first week of July, are no exception.
“This band has been influenced by way too many genres and artists to list,” Max Allen explains. “We like to call what we do ‘rock fusion’ - there’s some rock, rap, Latin, funk, blues, bluegrass, baroque, R&B, electronica - if it sounds good and it moves us, we’ll play it.”
See for yourself when the band plays the Loading Dock in TC this Friday, July 1.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Aten Place

Music Kristi Kates “This is probably the best schedule we have been able to put together in the 17 years we have offered shows,” grins William Aten, organizer of Aten Place Concerts in Boyne Falls.
Aten - who, perhaps somewhat incongruously, also works as a mathematics consultant and data coach for the Charlevoix-Emmet ISD - runs the Aten Place Concerts shows with his wife, Maxine, and has watched as their “house concerts” have become part of a growing movement in Northern Michigan.
The Rhubarbary Farm House Concerts in Harbor Springs and the Black Cat Concert Series at the Dhaseleer Events Barn in Charlevoix are two other venues that are spearheading this growing trend - great music being showcased in low-key, homegrown venues, usually privately-owned homes or barns that have been converted into personalized and friendly local concert stages. Aten Place is no exception, and have been doing their musical thing since 1995.
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Musical Roots on the River in Manistee

Music Kristi Kates Roots on the River is the moniker that’s been given to a relatively new
music series in Manistee, at the impetus of two locals who simply wanted
to bring more music to the community.
“In 2007, Noah Joseph and I decided that with so many talented musicians
in Michigan, we wanted to support them,” organizer Erin Garcia explains.
“Recently joining the Manistee Jaycees, we thought this would be a great
community project to initiate. The community has really embraced Roots on
the River, and we are now celebrating our fifth season.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Summer Concerts Charlotte Ross Lee?s musical legacy

Music Kristi Kates The Charlotte Ross Lee Concert Series at Pennsylvania Park in downtown
Petoskey was the dream of its namesake.
“She was the champion of this community event,” explains Carlin Smith,
president of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce. “She raised the
money, booked the shows, and made all of the preparations. I look at it as
Charlotte’s legacy - a gift she left to our community.”
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

4Play: Third Day, Antlers, Brandon Heath, Gus Gus

Music Kristi Kates Third Day - Move - Provident
Third Day’s 11th set, recorded in the band’s own studio in Georgia, features 12 tracks that blend together heavy, Southern-rock influenced instrumentals with soulful, introspective, pensive lyrics and hooks, with a focus on faith. While the songs here are very specifically focused and solid in their beliefs - some of the most inspirational being “Surrender,” “What Have You Got To Lose,” and “Don’t Give Up Hope” - the album adds yet another dimension via the band’s collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama on “Lift Up Your Face,” and encouraging tune that showcases both the band’s traditional rock abilities and their positive attitude.
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Seamus Shinners: The Man Behind the Music

Music Rick Coates Just mention his name in certain music circles and one will quickly find
that Seamus Shinners is a legend. He may not be a household name in
Northern Michigan, but there is a good chance over the past 20 years if
you are an aficionado of music you have attended at least one of the more
than 500 concerts he has presented around the region.
The founder of Connemara Concerts, Shinners has brought an eclectic
collection of performers, from Greg Brown to Second City to Lynn Miles to
Chris Smither to name just a few. His quiet but passionate demeanor has
helped shape the culture of the music scene in the region. While
concertgoers from the area have benefitted so have the performers Shinners
has brought in. 
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Nocturnal Jazz A night of sight and sound at the Dennos

Music Erin Crowell Having grown up in California and experiencing the all-senses performance
of The Blue Oyster Cult and laser light show of Pink Floyd, Stosh — a
Traverse City artist who moved to the area in 1993 — knew firsthand that
an audience at a jazz concert could experience more than
just sound.
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

4Play: Moby, Blondie, Above & Beyond, BT

Music Kristi Kates Moby - Destroyed - Mute
Moby’s latest set is a thematic one, focusing on the busy musician’s many hours spent in spare hotel rooms, impersonal airport lounges, and in transit. All of the songs were written on the road - many fueled by Moby’s insomnia - and many are also accompanied by photographs that Moby took, which can be acquired via a separate photography book of the same name. Opening the album is the evocative instrumental piece “The Broken Places” (several other “just” instrumentals are also included here, the best being “Sevastopol”); also included are danceable tracks “After” and “Blue Moon,” and the more introspective “When You Are Old.”
 
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Meredith Fierke?s Triple Threat

Music Kristi Kates By Kristi Kates

Singer-songwriter Meredith Fierke grew up in the small town of Northfield, Minnesota, and has been writing and singing songs for “as long as I can remember.” 
“I learned to love music by listening to it obsessively as a kid,” she explains, “I loved the radio; I would tape my favorite songs by holding my radio speakers up next to the tape recorder. What would come back was a crackling ‘far away’ version of the songs that I would sing along with over and over again. But it wasn’t until I decided to write and record my first album (The Procession, 2008) that I really started learning the art of recording and collaborating with other musicians.”
Today, Fierke is a busily ambitious musician, collaborating with a father-son team who make up her trio. She’ll be performing in Petoskey at the Crooked Tree Arts Center this Thursday.
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Stripped-down Cracker brings acoustic rock to Legs Inn

Music Rick Coates In the early ‘80s when major record companies were trying to get every band to sound the same, the indie-rock scene emerged to counter the money-oriented music industry. As commercial radio embraced the homogenized rock sounds, college radio and MTV were busy ushering in the independent labels, with such bands as R.E.M. and U2, among others, leading the way. 
Another band that was part of the second generation of the indie-rock scene was Cracker founded by vocalist and songwriter David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman. Formed in 1991, Cracker signed with Virgin Records and released their self-titled debut CD in 1992 with alternative rock hits “Happy Birthday to Me” and “Teen Angst.”  Cracker would become best known for their platinum-selling album, “Kerosene Hat”  in 1993, which featured the hit songs “Low”, “Euro-Trash Girl”, and “Get Off This.”
Lowery and Hickman will head to Northern Michigan on Friday June 24 at Legs Inn (Cross Village, north of Harbor Springs) with a special version of Cracker.
“Johnny and I do a stripped down version of Cracker. I can’t afford to bring the full band to a small venue in Northern Michigan so this works. we call it Cracker Duo,” said David Lowery. “It gives us a chance to play out of the way places and we still rock out, we are not sitting on stools we are standing up and jamming. Our fans love this, they view the Cracker Duo as a separate entity from Cracker. This format gives us an opportunity to play a different set of songs, of course w
 
 
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