An impressive, nationally acclaimed roster of songwriters plays Caledonia’s Family Tavern on Thursday, part of a new showcase series hosted by West Michigan’s Kyle Rasche.
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There’s a certain magic that comes with watching an artist perform with the sole accompaniment of their instrument in a room full of captivated listeners.
Strip away the band, the lights and the glow of smartphones and what’s left is the foundational interaction of artist and audience.
From a performer’s standpoint, these shows can be daunting. Without a wall of sound to hide behind, every note is magnified, every moment intensified.
This is, of course, part of the magic.
In an effort to showcase such raw performances, a new West Michigan listening room showcase aims to close the gap between the artist and the listener.
Started by musician and songwriter Kyle Rasche, Tavernsongs hopes to connect national touring artists with the community of Caledonia. Hosted at Caledonia Family Tavern, the series transforms the venue’s basement stage into a “world-class” listening environment.
Rasche, who performs intricate folk arrangements under the moniker Chain of Lakes, plans to connect his artist friends from around the country with the vibrant West Michigan music community by way of the new concert series.
“Tavernsongs is my attempt to be able to offer a show to my songwriter friends who travel through the area often. I want it to become a regular tour stop and showcase these artists to my friends and have a show in my neighborhood, in the corner of small town America,” Rasche says.
“I love listening room shows. I want to hear how the songs came about and I want to meet the writer singing me the songs. I can promise a quiet, intimate listening environment that’s just as impactful to the audience as the performer.”
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This week’s Tavernsongs showcase, in particular, sets a high bar for the series. The 7 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 17) concert features previous winners of the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk songwriting competition, a prestigious annual Texas event.
The lineup includes Sav Buist of The Accidentals, Jean Rohe of Robinson & Rohe, R.O. Shapiro, Sadie Gustafson-Zook and Raschle.
“I’ve not played a solo show in my entire life until this year, and I’ve been in the music industry for 15 years now,” Buist says. “I feel very comfortable on a stage or at least when I’m in a band, because even when I’m nervous, I can kind of toss that responsibility, back and forth.
“But as a soloist, I was really, really nervous. I have to get into a different mindset where it’s not really about shock and awe. It’s more about being honest, and being real. And that’s something that is a very vulnerable place to get to. But I think it’s worthwhile.”
Buist won the 2022 USA Songwriting Competition, taking home a grand prize of $50,000 for her song, “The Line,” written for The Accidentals’ 2021 album, “Vessel.”
Tickets, $15, for Thursday’s show are available online at eventbrite.com.
The same group of Kerrville winners also will perform in Traverse City at 7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 18) at the new Alluvion listening room. Tickets for that show are $25 in advance and available online here.
KERRVILLE FOLK WINNERS AT CALEDONIA FAMILY TAVERN: The Local Spins Playlist
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