The Detroit-area trio playing SpeakEZ on Wednesday was featured for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted new tracks by Jesse Cline, Silverstiles, Chance Jones, Tess Clark and more.
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Blame “happenstance” and “a particularly brutal, soul-crushing” live show for the formation of alternative folk’s Kate Hinote Trio a few years ago.
The Detroit-area trio – singer Kate Hinote, acoustic guitarist David Johnson and violinist Matthew Parmenter – came together after Hinote had started a folk-hued duo with Johnson as a side project from The Blueflowers, a long-running gothic Americana/alt-rock band that had released five full-length albums and two EPs.
“I didn’t feel like it was really connecting with people the way I wanted it to,” Hinote said of the duo performances.
When an especially rocky gig had her thinking about scrapping the whole idea, Johnson convinced a resistant Hinote to test bringing a violin into the mix after a “very happenstance” meeting with Parmenter.
As fate would have it, the first rehearsal as a trio was magical.
“I was overjoyed at how nice the violin sounded with my voice,” Hinote recalled. “I knew right away that I wanted to record an album with these guys. … I at least knew I wanted to try and create something new and challenge myself to co-write with someone.”
She also relished the idea of taking “noisy tunes” from The Blueflowers and stripping them down into a basic form performed acoustically.
The resulting trio, which “stands apart from the folk scene,” released its debut full-length album, “Near,” in 2021, recorded with Hinote’s husband and Blueflowers bandmate and co-songwriter Tony Hamera at Ferndale’s Tempermill Studios.
They’ve now written five songs for their next album and will play Grand Rapids for the first time on Wednesday (May 17) at SpeakEZ Lounge as part of the Local Spins Wednesdays series and the kickoff to Local Spins’ 11th anniversary celebration that culminates in Local Spins Fest at Studio Park on May 20.
Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Loren Johnson – who released a new studio album earlier this year – opens the SpeakEZ Lounge show at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and attendees get first crack at Local Spins Fest merch.
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, the Kate Hinote Trio spotlighted two of their songs – “Make Me Stop” and “Where You Dream Now” – that demonstrate their trademark sound. Watch a video for their live rendition of “If I Should Go” here, a song that will appear on their next album.
VIDEO: Kate Hinote Trio, “If I Should Go”
For Hinote, reflecting the “collective energy” of the trio’s live performance is paramount in its studio recordings.
“It became very important to me that our first album represented what we sounded like in real life. Because of that, we intentionally left it very simply produced, and recorded it almost like a performance in the studio,” she said.
“I think what were doing is really going to be more defining of our sound as an ensemble and what we’ve developed over the last two years. There are elements of weirdness and darkness as always, but Matthew has leaned into jazz since I’ve met him, so there’s just a very interesting combination of genre-melding going on here that I’m excited about.”
Hinote also is excited to pump up the trio’s touring schedule, which so far includes 17 performances across the state this summer and fall after the SpeakEZ Lounge show – from Frankenmuth and Cheboygan to Harbor Springs and Charlevoix to Albion and Chelsea.
“Once the weather broke in 2021, we hit the ground running and have not let up,” said Hinote, noting it’s easier to book a trio for shows than larger ensembles.
Hinote hasn’t put The Blueflowers on the back burner, either.
The band formed in 2009 after dissolution of the shoegaze/dream pop outfit Ether Aura, is gearing up for an epic two-hour show on June 29 at The Whitney in Detroit, featuring songs from its entire catalog. Other performances are planned for the fall.
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE, which spotlights local and regional music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org, also featured new tracks from Jesse Cline, Silverstiles, Jackamo (this week’s musician’s pick by Hinote), Tess Clark, Letrick Olson, b.Lamrouex, Chance Jones, Pink Sky & irreplica and Emma Bieniewicz. Listen to the radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (5/12/23)
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