Country music is kicking up its heels in West Michigan. "Within the last three years, the country music scene here has just exploded," said Kari Lynch, a fast-rising Grand Rapids country singer.
This is what progressive rock sounds like in the second decade of the New Millennium: A mélange of ear-electrifying, genre-spanning styles, funky backbeats, ever-changing time signatures, and dizzyingly stunning instrumental jams.
To say that Grand Rapids' Ultraviolet Hippopotamus has reinvented prog-rock on its latest, much buzzed-about new studio album, Translate, may actually sell the project short.
Growing up, Patrick Cleland was a lanky kid from Grand Rapids who loved nothing more than playing basketball. On bus rides to and from games and around the house, he toyed with on-the-spot rhymes for the hell of it. To him, it was fun and it made his friends laugh.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, Cleland (better known today as hip-hop artist Rick Chyme) will take what was once an offhand habit to the streets of ArtPrize in a big way, by tackling the world record for the longest freestyle with a target time of 17 hours.
For Grand Rapids songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Nathan Kalish, show No. 146 of 2013 at The State Room in Salt Lake City, Utah, came off as a rousing and satisfying affair amid a hectic year of touring the United States and Europe. After all, the drummer for the Deadstring Brothers got a chance to play an extended one-hour opening set for a sold-out crowd with frontman Kurtis Marschke and bassist J.D. Mack, both Detroit natives.
When it comes to seeing live music, a little dose of shut-the-hell-up-and-pay-attention is a good thing. This is not a concept lost on West Michigan, which has seen its share of listening rooms find success over the recent months and years.
Last summer’s much-expanded Cowpie Music Festival didn’t work out the way organizers hoped. Plagued by heavy rains on the festival’s opening day at Shagbark Farm south of Grand Rapids, the turnout for the 43-band lineup covering 17 genres fell far short of expectations.
After nearly 10 years on Division Avenue, volunteer run music venue and art gallery The Division Avenue Arts Collective (The DAAC) is being forced to close its doors on Aug. 1 due to a change in building ownership.
Musician and producer Tommy Schichtel likes to think of himself as a mad scientist when he's in the recording studio. He admits he can lose hours experimenting in his analog-only studio, Goon Lagoon, based in Grand Rapids' North side.
Ultraviolet Hippopotamus is a behemoth of the road, a formidable force on the national progressive jam band scene. The instrumentally adroit Grand Rapids rock band travels coast to coast, playing 150 to 200 shows a year.
Let's face it — playing music doesn't always bring in the paper. Many of West Michigan's finest musicians tend to 9 to 5 jobs to pay the bills. We followed six musicians to their day jobs and found out what they do when they’re offstage.
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