November’s music news roundup: a Fretboard Fest call for bands, a Grand Rapids record store move and a statewide Local Spins podcast featuring Joshua Davis, Bigfoot Buffalo, Blushing Monk.
KALAMAZOO FRETBOARD FESTIVAL PLAY-IN CONTEST ENTRY DEADLINE IS DEC. 3
Dec. 3 is the deadline for bands that include string instruments to enter the 2018 Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival’s Play-In Contest.
Two slots in the festival’s line-up, one for acoustic, one for electric, will be chosen by judges from among contest entrants.
Last year, Kalamazoo’s Last Gasp Collective and Blarney Castle won the electric and acoustic categories, respectively. Read more about that in this Local Spins feature.
The 2018 Fretboard Festival is slated for March 2-3 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in downtown Kalamazoo, with performances by regional bands on several stages.
To apply for the Play-In Contest, fill out the application available online here.
Other requirements include an active web link to the music or a demo CD, a biographical sketch and photo. The first round of judging during the week of Dec. 10 will be based on the applications.
REVOLVE RECORDS TO RELOCATE TO HEARTSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD IN GRAND RAPIDS
Revolve Records plans to move from its Fuller Avenue SE site to a 2,706-square-foot location on South Division Avenue in Heartside, commercial real estate firm Colliers International announced this week.
According to Colliers, store owner Daniel Phelps plans to open the new Revolve Records store on Jan. 1. He intends to add a small stage, new shelving and artwork to the store at 453 S. Division Ave. The store comes with 12 parking spaces for customers.
“We were looking for a larger store near downtown where we could connect with the city’s music-lovers and Colliers made it a priority to ensure we could do just that,” Phelps said.
“This is a prime location that will allow us to empower, educate and bring the entire community together through music and we can’t wait to open our doors this fall.”
Revolve sells vinyl records, cassettes, 8-tracks, CDs and other music-related items.
LOCAL SPINS ON MICHIGAN RADIO: BIGFOOT BUFFALO, JOSHUA DAVIS, BLUSHING MONK
This month’s edition of Local Spins on Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” had editor and publisher John Sinkevics discussing three new releases by West Michigan artists with host Cynthia Canty. Listen to the full podcast online here, with descriptions of the releases here:
• Bigfoot Buffalo, “The Sun is the Moon” – Frontman and singer-guitarist Kyle Brown calls this “the first full real album” and first real full-band project that Bigfoot Buffalo has created — a jam band-hued, roots-rock affair recorded at Ben Zito’s Centennial Sound studios in Grand Rapids. The songs were road-tested before going in the studio.
The band plays its final album-release concert Friday night at Union Street Station in Traverse City show, and the last with drummer Charlie Merkel’s who plans to relocate in December to Pere – a country he visited last year, fell in love with and now wants to experience outside of the “American bubble.” The band – Brown, bassist Michael Serota, keyboard player Landon Knoppers and guitarist Lucas Smits – already has lined up a replacement drummer, Kris Rewa, and will start playing shows with the new lineup starting in March.
• Joshua Davis, “The Way Back Home” – Two years after making a much-buzzed-about run on NBC’s “The Voice,” where he finished third in the nationally televised competition, northern Michigan’s Joshua Davis has finally released a full-length album – his first since 2013’s acclaimed “A Miracle of Birds” and his fourth solo album overall. For this project, released on the Earthwork Music label, he called on producer Steve Berlin of the band Los Lobos to create what’s been described as a “more intentional, polished” album than what Davis has released in the past. He called on an established crew of well-known talented musicians to help in the studio, including Dominic Davis on bass, Michael Shimmin on drums and Michael Lynch on keyboards, along with Drew Howard on pedal steel, Joe Wilson on Dobro, Steve Berlin on keyboards and singers May Erlewine, Jen Sygit, Laura Ann Bates and Rachael Davis.
Davis plays a series of album-release shows in Michigan this month, including Friday at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Saturday at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Nov. 16 at the City Opera House in Traverse City and Nov. 18 at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids.
• Blushing Monk, “Blushing Monk” – Led by jazz keyboard player Dutcher Snedeker, Blushing Monk brings together a who’s who lineup of young and talented West Michigan musicians, culled from instrumentalists trained at Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. Their debut EP explores “the different sounds and styles found within jazz history,” including Thelonious Monk, Modeski Martin & Wood, Duke Ellington and more, and then putting their own spin on the genre by meshing modern swing, hip hop and funk.
The core of the band features Snedeker, Brad Fritcher on trumpet, Caleb Elzinga on sax, Olin Clark on guitar, Joe Vasquez on bass and Jordan Otto on drums. Because they’re in different band projects and mostly scattered across the country, they best place to hear them is on this CD, which is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and CDBaby. (They did play the Lamp Light Music Festival this past weekend in Grand Rapids and will play the Jammie Awards at The Intersection in February.)
Listen to the full Local Spins segment at michiganradio.org.
And listen to Michigan Radio’s “Stateside” at 3 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month — 104.1 FM in Grand Rapids — for another Local Spins segment showcasing new music by West Michigan artists
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC