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.
Justin Furstenfeld has turned a corner. The lead singer and songwriter of Blue October described the band's latest album as a personal and professional rebirth. After overcoming alcoholism and anxiety issues within the past couple of years, Furstenfeld is in a more stable place than in 2006.
Forty years ago, Frank Zappa and the Mothers recorded what was to become one of the band's most iconic albums, Roxy & Elsewhere. In honor of that anniversary, Gibson released the Frank Zappa "Roxy" SG, an exact replica of the guitar Frank used in those recordings.
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.
The Michigan Irish Festival is coming, so grab your kilts or your 'something green,' and come sing your feckin' heart out with fellow lovers of everything Celtic. According to Laura Holmes, marketing director for the festival, one of the most "wildly popular" events is Tional (pronounced "Chen-ol"), the Irish word for "Gathering."
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.
In 1949, the famed Welsh poet Dylan Thomas moved to a little town called Laugharne, and there had a small writing shack where he sought inspiration for his work during the last four years of his life. And it was to this very same shack that Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the husband and wife duo that make up folk/Americana outfit Over the Rhine, went seeking inspiration themselves.
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.
In another generation, they would be called Deadheads. But lately, devoted fans of Donna the Buffalo have endeared themselves to the band as "The Herd." The name is fitting.
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