Stories indexed with the term ‘bands’

Bill Bynum’s BreakFest Preview at Old Town

On Sunday, Jim and Connie Johnston drove from Hanover, just south of Jackson, Mich., to Ann Arbor.

Bill Bynum and Co. Sunday Night Old Town

Bill Bynum & Co. Sunday night at the Old Town Tavern. Left to right: Mary Seelhorst on fiddle, Chuck Anderson on bass, Dave Keeney on guitar, Bill Bynum on guitar and vocals. (Photos by the writer.)

They’d come specifically to hear Bill Bynum & Co. play the Old Town Tavern – a neighborhood bar offering free live music every Sunday night. Yes, the Johnstons are fans – they buy a CD every time they see Bill play, says Jim, so they’ll have one to give away to another friend as an introduction to Bynum’s songs.

What kind of songs are those? Bynum announced his Old Town set by saying, “Howdy, folks, we’re here to play some hillbilly music!” And that’s what they did for two 45-minute sets, with a break in between.

The Chronicle didn’t have to drive nearly an hour to get to the Old Town like the Johnstons did – the Old Town is right down the street from us.

But we were there to see Bynum, too, because we wanted to check out one of the acts playing BreakFest 2010 at The Ark on Feb. 26. That’s when Bynum will be joined by Bonnie Rideout, Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. and Duck Baker in a benefit concert at The Ark for The Breakfast at St. Andrew’s, a nonprofit that provides a hot breakfast every day of the year to anyone who shows up at the doorstep of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on North Division. [Full Story]

Column: Dick Siegel Connects

Musician Dick Seigel in his home on Ann Arbor's near northwest side.

Musician Dick Siegel in his home on Ann Arbor's near northwest side. (Photo by Mary Morgan.)

A strange and fortuitous connection exists between the local musician Dick Siegel, myself, and The Ann Arbor Chronicle. Last May, I wrote a tribute to Ken King of Frog Holler Farm, who passed away after battling a brain tumor. I knew that Dick had played music with Ken, and I thought he might have some insightful words for the tribute.

Just before finishing that article, I ran into Dick at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, and one of his quotes completed the piece for me. The column ended:

Dick Siegel had this final thought about the death of his long time friend, Ken King.

“He just took one foot off the earth… just now.”

Dick told me that after reading the column in The Chronicle, and considering further what Ken meant to him, he wrote a song about Ken that he then performed at Ken’s memorial service. It is a slow, deeply moving ballad that pays tribute to an extraordinary man, captivating and also hopeful. Expanding on the imagery quoted in the memorial article, the song is called ”The Man Who Fell Into The Sky.”

Dick himself is no less extraordinary. This internationally recognized singer/songwriter and performer is playing at The Ark on Saturday, Jan. 9 as Dick Siegel and the Brandos. This is the latest partnering for Dick – playing with Brian Delaney and Dave Roof – and perhaps one of the ensembles most likely to showcase his immense talent. The three men have also been spending time in the studio, with a new album expected this summer – the tribute to Ken will be on that album.

I had the opportunity to talk with Dick recently at his home on Ann Arbor’s near northwest side. In a wide-ranging interview, we touched on everything from the process of writing his tribute, to Ken, to his childhood growing up in New Jersey, and how his upbringing instilled in him a strong sense of community. [Full Story]

Dave Sharp’s Seven Not a Jazz Secret


Dave Sharp (Photos by Dave Askins.)

Last Friday, The Chronicle took a break from reporting on government meetings to pay a visit to Live at PJ’s on the western edge of downtown Ann Arbor at the corner of First and Huron.

The occasion of our visit: The release of Dave Sharp’s Secret Seven CD. The music, self-described as “Jazz, World Music and Rock together with a grooving sound for all ears” was available for sale on CDs as well as re-usable, eco-friendly USB drives – because, as Sharp put it, “This is Ann Arbor, right?”

Sharp, of course, knew right where he was, because he teaches bass at the Ann Arbor Music Center on Ashley Street a couple of blocks away from PJ’s.

His students, as well as the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, were represented in the crowd. After the jump, we share some photos to document the evening. [Full Story]

Column: Orpheum Bell, Handmade Music

man singing through a grammaphone amplifyer thing

An Orpheum Bell rehearsal: On bass, Serge van der Voo; vocals sung through a gramophone horn, Aaron Klein.

I’m wedged in the corner of a west side Ann Arbor basement amongst a jumble of musical instrument cases. The cases belong to the six musicians of Orpheum Bell. There’s more than one case per musician – they each play an array of different instruments. During a break in the rehearsal, I have to ask: What is that? It’s a Stroh violin, “spelled like the beer,” explains Annie Crawford.

The rehearsal is geared towards a CD release show at The Ark on Dec. 4. I’m soaking in the sounds of the basement practice mostly because of that CD, the group’s second – “Pearls.”

Serge van der Voo had sent along a review copy of the CD to The Chronicle. In a world of MP3 files flung around the Internet, a physical CD is an awfully clunky way to deliver musical data. But when I unfolded the heavy card stock CD cover into its 16-inch total length, I noticed one of the folds was not exactly uniform and regular – not the way you’d expect if a machine had produced several thousand of them.

An even closer examination revealed that the print quality was not the laser-like rigid perfection that a modern digital printer delivers. Which is not to say it was sloppy. On the contrary. It was more like trace-evidence that human hands had played a role. Who were these people with the apparently handcrafted CD case? To get some insight, I had crammed myself back amongst those instrument cases in the corner of a basement for two hours. [Full Story]