ArtPrize rapidly became the cornerstone of West Michigan culture, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids every year. In 2014, The Art Newspaper listed it as the most heavily attended art event on the planet. As the 19-day competition enters its seventh year, ArtPrize Executive Director Christian Gaines said he is working with his team to keep things fresh and exciting.
Over the past couple of years, electronic music producer SuperDre has been on a trajectory that has taken her from Grand Rapids to Los Angeles and back to Detroit. These days she balances film and television work with her own recording projects and international gigs at huge festivals.
Brandi Carlile just sounds cool. Her voice is steady, warm and has a little rasp that comes from years of working those vocal cords. Since hitting the music scene a decade ago in Seattle, she has since gigged across the country and was even named as an artist to watch by Rolling Stone. Thursday, July 30 she performs at Meijer Gardens.
Buzzing down a long, lonesome highway east of Kansas City, singer-guitarist Nathan Kalish and his upright bassist, Eric Soules, are en route to a honky-tonk bar. The duo, which performs as Nathan Kalish and the Lastcallers, is headed to a bar that’s known as ground zero for Kansas City’s roots music scene, the Westport Saloon. Over the past year, they’ve played the Westport “four or five” times on a tour that has seen them zig-zag across the country several times, performing their unique brew of Americana, rockabilly and outlaw country music. In all, they’ve played nearly 260 shows in about 14 months.
Milwaukee-based Americana songwriter Peter Mulvey, who’s no stranger to the West Michigan music scene, sat down on Friday and wrote a new song in a basement dressing room at the Calvin Theatre in Northhampton, Mass. The song, “Take Down Your Flag,” is a direct narrative on the tragic Charleston, S. Car. church shooting and the accompanying push to remove the confederate flag from the state’s capitol.
In 2001, writer/musician Cliff Frantz launched RECOIL Magazine — one year later the New York Times called it “The Onion of the Midwest.” The seed of the satire magazine, now online only, was planted in 1984, with the release of This Is Spinal Tap. Frantz was instantly captivated by the depth of the wit. It set the path of his life.
When Jake Simmons gets home from his day job at a family-owned scrapyard, the Kalamazoo-based blue-collar rocker goes down to his basement, plugs in and continues to work. The dim basement is where he labors over his signature brand of Springsteen-spirited Americana songs, and his time in the cellar has paid off. His new Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts LP, “No Better,” is testament to his diligence — the disc is hooky and sonically ambitious.
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