May 20, 2019

Macy Gray – Ruby– Artistry

By Kristi Kates | Nov. 17, 2018

Gray, best known for her '90s hit “I Try,” a slice of unhurried soulful blues-pop imbued with regret and a catchy refrain, is back with more on her latest set. Album opener “Buddha,” featuring attentive guitar work from Gary Clark Jr., shows off Gray’s abilities with a gospel hook as well, while “Witness” adds in reggae, showing off the singer’s vast genre range. Standouts include the Southern trap feel of “Tell Me” and the lively “Sugar Daddy,” on which she partners with Meghan Trainor. ** ½

Local Natives – Gorilla Manor – Frenchkiss
This L.A. band’s debut disc unifies log-cabin fireside vocals with several interesting contrasts in tone, from '80s drum rhythms to noodling, jamming guitar riffs, all tied up with focused production. The first track, “Wide Eyes,” is all west coast pop-rock, while “Camera Talk” heads north to siphon some of the influences of '90s Screaming Trees. “Cards and Quarters” gradually shuffles in a few chilly layers of harmonies, while tracks like “Shape Shifter” chuck everything out there to try and amp-up the mix. **

Beta Band – The Three EPs– Because Music
Just arrived in outlets is this long-awaited re-release from The Beta Band of their classic compilation collection, 20 years in the making. Here’s where you can snag the band’s first three psychedelic pop EPs, in their entirety, with beautifully compressed and remastered sound. This set is also only the first part of an ongoing reissue of their full discography; it includes standout singles “She’s the One” with its choir refrain, the Beck-ish “Dry the Rain,” and the loopy “Houses Song.” It’s definitely a great place to start. ***
Dave Grohl – Play– RCA
Recorded at East/West Studios in L.A., Grohl’s latest venture finds him performing one song – yes, just one – a 23-minute rock epic as tracked by Darrell Thorp to showcase his compositional skills, as the track shifts through several different moods. You won’t hear any of Grohl’s trademark guttural vocals here, nor his power ballad chops. Instead, he incorporates some unexpected instruments, from vibraphones to creatively placed piano riffs. Foo fans will hear little nods to familiar tunes throughout. ** ½


Welcome to Michigan’s Most Remote Brewery

After years of planning and honing his beer-making skills, this spring, Patrick McGinnity plans to open Beaver Island’s first microbrewery. Opening a craft brewery is challenging. Opening one on a remote island in Lake Michigan that’s either a 15-minute plane ride or a two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from ... Read More >>

Gaylord: A boomtown Up North

Gaylord native Gary Scott had moved to Indiana, where he and some partners started a business to invest in distressed properties. He was talking to a banker in Detroit about real estate in Bloomington when he asked what kind of deals might be available in northern Michigan. ... Read More >>

CBD Laws: Dazed and Confused

The sign outside of Family Video in Kalkaska lets drivers know the store has more than just movies. The sign reads: “CBD PRODUCTS NOW AVAILABLE HERE! CHECK IT OUT.” CBD is short for cannabidiol, a kind of chemical compound that occurs naturally in hemp and marijuana plants, but does ... Read More >>

Small Up North Towns on the Rise

Spotlight on Bellaire (pictured)Seems Traverse City isn’t the only place in the region making those “Best of” lists. The Antrim County hamlet of Bellaire was recently named to the list of Best Lakeside Towns in the U.S. by Country Living Magazine, alongside the likes of Vergennes, Vermont, Greenville, ... Read More >>