Sounds of Summer Start Now
Blues, classic rock, and island music alongside the water in Charlevoix
By Ross Boissoneau | May 19, 2018
The summer music season gets underway with the Round Lake Music Festival in downtown Charlevoix May 25–27. Three bands each on Saturday and Sunday will provide the festivities, with the Jelly Roll Blues Band kicking things off with a special Friday evening performance starting at 5pm.
Jellyroll has long been one of northern Michigan’s favorite bands, playing its lively blend of blues and boogie across the area, from longstanding gigs at Legs Inn in Cross Village, Horn’s Bar on Mackinac Island, and the Sportsman Bar in Boyne City to showcase performances at Rick’s American Café in East Lansing, the Royal Oak Music Theatre, even the MSU Auditorium.
Now a trio consisting of drummer Bill Riesenbeck, bassist Bob Crosser, and guitarist Johnny Storm, Riesenbeck said the group is slowly winding down its performance schedule. “I don’t want to work and hope people will like us,” he said, noting that the band prefers now to play private parties and engagements where they know they’ll be welcome.
“We were so fortunate to be on the cusp of things,” said Riesenbeck. “We’d play four nights a week at the Sportsman, and on our first break we’d go see who was playing at the Dilworth. On our second break we’d go to the Tannery and see who was playing. It’s all different now.”
On Saturday, things get rolling at 1pm with the hypnotic rhythms of Universal Xpression, who’ll take you on a trip to the Caribbean without ever leaving Michigan, as the band assays reggae, soca, zouk and dancehall music. The Detroit-based outfit has been grooving for 20 years and has shared the bandstand with the likes of Percy Sledge, Shaggy, Luciano, Calypso Rose, Mighty Sparrow, Burning Spear, The Manhattans, and Maxi Priest.
The Shelagh Brown Band takes the stage at 4pm. Brown brings to mind country performers from Loretta Lynn to Carrie Underwood, sharing her personal songwriting prowess on tunes such as “Sunflower,” “Dang, Boy,” and “What I Believe” as well.
At 7pm it’s time to take a journey back to the hits of the ’70s and ’80s with the Journey Tribute Band. Don’t stop believin’ that the festivities end there, though, because it all starts up again Sunday with the Jared Knox Band. The Louisiana native now calls South Haven home, and he and his crack quartet blend the sounds of contemporary country with some Louisiana hot sauce. Knox and the Hagar Bombs crank it out starting at 1pm.
At 4pm it’s the Donny Hartman Band. A member of the Detroit Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hartman mixes and matches rock, pop, country and R&B, much like the Motor City itself does.
Finally, the festival concludes with the 7pm performance by the McCartney Project. A loving tribute to Sir Paul, this five-piece band from Columbus, Ohio, performs Macca’s music from the Beatles to Wings to his solo career.
Performances are free of charge, and you can even listen from the beer tent. It opens at noon and, like the music, closes up shop at 10pm. For more information go to LiveFromCharlevoix.com.