Touring behind “Powerful,” their first album since 2015, the Michigan band led by Dede Alder plays Grand Rapids tonight. Get the back story and listen to a track from the release.
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As a rare marimba player in the world of rock and folk, Dede Alder always has stood out with her music and performances.
But the Traverse City native who now makes her home in the Saugatuck area feels that Dede and The Dreamers have taken an even deeper dive with trailblazing new songs that boast “a real evolution to the sound” of the band.
“Our new music is crossover jazz with a heavy soul, world and folk influence,” Alder said of “Powerful,” the Michigan band’s first studio album since 2015’s “Daydream.”
“I’d say my vocal quality has gotten richer, as well as the lyrical content. There are a few songs on the album which I would describe in the classic Dreamers sound – simple, sweet and quirky – but this album goes deeper and takes songs further than we would have in the past.”
Dede & The Dreamers bring their “We Are Powerful” tour to Midtown (formerly Listening Room) in downtown Grand Rapids at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Nov. 13), with cellist and songwriter Jordan Hamilton opening the show. Tickets are $20 and available online here.
In large part, the band’s singular sound can be attributed to Alder’s desire to follow her own path musically, without leaning on other musicians as influences.
“For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I’m following another artist’s ideas,” she said. “I’m not trying to emulate their style or career. I am fully trusting in my own musical senses and ideas, and really visualizing what I want to say and how I want to say it in the world right now. I am digging down for my own authenticity.”
LISTEN: Dede & The Dreamers, “Common Thread”
Recorded at home studios throughout Michigan, the new album was edited, mixed and produced by band member and bassist Chris Michel, with newest band member Josh Holcomb on viola and violin, Scott Pellegrom on drums and Alder on marimba and keyboards. (Will Harris, Carolyn Koebel and John Driscoll also rotate in on drums for live shows.)
“We present a totally authentic band sound. There are also some unexpected playful qualities on the album that me smile and allow the listener to be surprised,” suggested Alder, a graduate of Traverse City Central High School and Northwestern Michigan College.
“I don’t know if there is an overall theme, but the project comes together with a collective vision. The general themes of the lyrics are one of appreciation and slowing down and resilience.”
After tonight’s Grand Rapids show, the Michigan tour behind the new album continues Friday (Nov. 18) at The Beau in Cheboygan, Saturday (Nov. 19) at (This Must Be) The Place for the WNMC Farmhouse Concert Series at 1535 S. Norvick Rd. in Suttons Bay, and Nov. 20 at St. Ambrose Cellars in Beulah.
Alder said band members plan to take a break after the tour so they can “do some concentrated booking” for 2023, including winter and spring dates in other Michigan cities.
In addition to those full-band shows, Alder plans to launch a duo project next year with Holcomb, dubbed Duo One, which will perform an all-original, musical re-telling of great flood myths, including Noah’s Ark.
“Both of these projects have been incubating for several years now and are finally being set free into the world,” she said. “It is huge rebirthing for myself as a musician and our potential to create fine art.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Dede and The Dreamers, Samuel Nalangira Trio at Old Dog Tavern
Photos by Derek Ketchum