The Southwest Michigan band opens for The Marcus King band at Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre on Sunday, one of several high-profile gigs planned for Slim Gypsy Baggage in 2017.
THE BAND: Slim Gypsy Baggage
THE MUSIC: Genre-spanning, electric roots rock, soul, funk, Americana
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: Sunday at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids (opening for The Marcus King Band); 8:30 p.m. March 3 at The Livery in Benton Harbor; 9 p.m. March 18 at The Union in Kalamazoo; 9 p.m. March 24 at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids
Performing 200 times over the past two years to build its regional fan base has earned Southwest Michigan’s Slim Gypsy Baggage high-profile slots at events such as Blissfest and St. Joseph’s annual BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass festival.
And with its audience-pleasing, genre-spanning approach – inspired by the likes of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, Wilde Belle, Minus The Bear, Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin – the four-piece band is set for a banner year in 2017, with a new studio album on the way and more attention-getting concerts.
One of those takes place Sunday at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, when Slim Gypsy Baggage will open for The Marcus King Band, a buzz-generating, national outfit led by 20-year-old blues-rock guitar whiz Marcus King.
“We want to continue to make the circle bigger,” bassist Matt Smith says of broadening Slim Gypsy Baggage’s reach. “We never quit writing. We have over four hours of original material, much of it unrecorded, and we perform about 100 times a year. We have a need to share music.”
Smith also insists the band “crosses over to most all genres of music” in its approach – “as long as it grooves.”
After releasing 2013’s “Divebomb” and 2015’s “Undercurrent,” the band – lead singer and guitarist Morgan Ingle, lead guitarist Cam Mammina, drummer Joe Gorenflo and Smith – recently laid down tracks in Nashville with well-known producer/keyboardist Matt Rollings (Willie Nelson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Edwin McCain) and producer/guitarist Kent Wells (Dolly Parton), along with session guitarist Tom Bukovac and percussionist Fred Eltringham.
Slim Gypsy Baggage hopes to release the new album this spring, followed by performances across the state that will help the band branch out from its St. Joseph base. Shows include the May 20 BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass: A Taste of Michigan festival at Whirlpool Centennial Park in St. Joseph and an Aug. 15 appearance at Grand Rapids’ Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park as part of the Tuesday Evening Music Club series.
“It’s a long drive to most gigs,” Smith concedes. “(But) the band is very committed. We’re able to quickly get to many different markets such as Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, South Bend, Chicago and Detroit within a couple of hours.”
The band’s emergence is part of “the continual growth of music and talent in West Michigan,” which is ideally situated between Chicago and Detroit, Smith says.
“This has allowed West Michigan to develop its own scene, which I believe has a lot to do with the two regions and the beach/water influence. Something in the water, I guess. That, coupled with a bunch of great venues to play (due to) the ever-growing breweries and wineries, is a perfect combination to grow the region as its own.”
VIDEO: Slim Gypsy Baggage at Martyrs’ in Chicago
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