Seth Bernard, Mark Lavengood, Dede Alder, Nicholas James Thomasma and more than a dozen other acts play five cities in six days, including Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre and Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up.
This tour is all about proving that the Earthwork Music collective “can create something special” when its musicians work together.
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So when more than a dozen of these well-known artists gather next week at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake and several other venues across the state next week, they’ll serve as a showcase and a celebration of Michigan artists and their community spirit, said Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma.
“Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration,” he said of the concert format for the Earthwork Music Collective Tour 2018 that’s hitting five Michigan cities in six days.
“These shows are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the musicians and the audiences. The arrangements have never happened like this before and they will never happen again. They will be different each night depending on who is on the show that particular evening, creating a truly unique experience every night. As a musician, there are fewer things more thrilling than connecting with other musicians through song.”
The tour – which kicks off in Lake Orion on Wednesday — features these Earthwork Music artists at every show: Thomasma, Mark Lavengood, Seth Bernard, Chris Good, Dede and the Dreamers (Dede Alder, Josh Holcolmb, Chris Michels and John Driscoll), Sam Cooper, Ralston Bowles and darlenYA.
The Wealthy Theatre concert in Grand Rapids at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, will also feature Bill Chesney, Steve Leaf, Dan Rickabus, Max Lockwood, Sari Brown and Brandon Worder Smith. Get tickets($15 advance, $25 day of show) and details for that show at wealthytheatre.org.
The Nov. 10 show at Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up will add Leaf, Chesney, Smith, Joe Reilly and Allison Radell. Get tickets ($30-$40) and details for the Spring Lake show at pindropconcerts.com.
The musicians and songwriters represent all parts of the state, from Traverse City to Ann Arbor, Detroit to Grand Rapids, Lansing to Kalamazoo.
Thomasma said with so many musicians on the bill for each show, they “won’t have time for more than one song (led) by each person. But with that said, the possibilities for collaboration are endless. At times, we will be an orchestra and choir. At other times, it may be just a few people on stage. Our goal is to serve the music so whatever the song calls for we will be listening and waiting for an opportunity to work together in harmony with the music and the songs.”
HAVING FUN WHILE BEING SERIOUS ABOUT THEIR CRAFT
Not only will each concert be different, but the tourt gives each artist an opportunity to reimagine their own songs in a fresh way.
“I personally cannot wait to hear what my songs will sound like with the Earthwork crew backing me up,” said Thomasma, who performs frequently as a solo artist as well as fronting his folk/country/rock band Nicholas James & The Bandwagon.
“I know a lot of the other artists on the tour are excited about the same thing. Furthermore, I am equally excited to spend my days with the group, eating meals and sharing lodging together. With such a large and diverse group of people I know it will be a great opportunity for learning and growing.”
The tour kicked off Wednesday at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion and continued Thursday at Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Theatre, before heading north for Leland. After playing Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up on Saturday, the tour wraps up Monday at The Ark in Ann Arbor.
Admission to the show is $20 in advance, $25 at the door the day of the show.
Thomasma said the tour – the first for Earthwork in several years – reflects the mission of the collective, which was founded by Seth Bernard and serves as a record label and support mechanism for Michigan artists.
“The Earthwork Music collective believes that community is essential. We believe that we can accomplish more by working together than we can on our own,” he said.
“I think you will be able to see how much fun we have when we get together and also how serious we all are about our craft. That’s the goal. Showcase the power of community and, as Seth says, ‘Have fun while we get the job done.’ ”
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