Touring behind its fifth album, “City Lights,” Driftwood plays four Michigan shows this week, including a Friday concert at Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up.
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Violinist Claire Byrne of the New York roots-folk band Driftwood calls it “a new adventure.”
Driftwood washes up along the Lake Michigan shore this week, exuding a punk-rock spirit as it tours behind its new CD, “City Lights.”
The band plays Black River Tavern in South Haven on Thursday and Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake on Friday, followed by stops in Petoskey and Traverse City.
“You never really know what to expect. You go into each tour as part of a new adventure,” Byrne told Local Spins, noting the band plays an average of about 100 shows a year. “That way, you are ready for anything, with no specific expectations.”
“City Lights,” the five-member band’s fifth CD, was released in November. Byrne, who joined the Binghamton, N.Y.-based band in 2008, said she thinks it gives her songwriting a chance to shine.
“I think the songs I have on this record reflect a woman going through a great shift in her life, settling down a bit, and reflecting on the many different ways that affects me and my relationships with others,” Byrne said in a recent interview, adding that her songwriting style has evolved over the past five or six years.
BRANCHING OUT MUSICALLY
“What once was more exclusively country, folky tunes, I have begun to branch out more, with Driftwood and the group album in mind. It’s exciting to be bringing tunes to a group like Driftwood. You bring your own songs to the others, and they kind of put their own bits of themselves in there, as well.
“Now, it’s not only my song as an individual songwriter, but it is also my song, as a part of Driftwood. It is fun to see how it evolves into that finished product.”
That finished product comes from a harmony-laden group that oozes passion not unlike what you might expect from a punk band, Driftwood suggests on its website.
Byrne calls it “tearing into something without inhibition” and “rocking out and feeling totally reborn through the song.” (Check out the video for the “City Lights” title track below.)
Formed in 2006 by high school friends Dan Forsyth and Joe Kollar, Driftwood’s lineup now includes Forsyth on guitar and vocals, Kollar on banjo, guitar and percussion, Joey Arcuri on upright bass and vocals, and Byrne on violin and vocals.
Byrne said the group is pumped up about returning to Michigan, starting with the Black River Tavern in South Haven on Thursday and Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake at 8 p.m. Friday. (Tickets for the Spring Lake show are $20-$30, available online here.)
Driftwood has visited Michigan several times before, playing The Ark in Ann Arbor and the Blissfest music festival. (Driftwood’s Saturday show is sponsored by the Blissfest Music Organization.)
“We are really excited about it. We hope we get some more listeners out there,” Byrne said of performing for Michigan audiences.
“We hope they enjoy the music, and that they have a great time. We feel really blessed to be able to play music for a living.”
VIDEO: Driftwood, “City Lights”
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