With Michigan House running a pop-up ArtPrize venue to tout local music, art and products, Local Spins asked organizer Ted Velie for his Top 10 list of songs. Not surprisingly, they’re all Michigan acts.
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Returning home after living out of state, Ted Velie now relishes what Michigan has to offer — especially when it come to the lively, burgeoning and vital music scene.
Here’s how he puts it: “Born and raised in Michigan, Ted declared at 20 that he’d seen enough. New York City, Colorado, and parts unknown followed, but the way of things led him back. Since returning, he’s started a furniture company and with his Middle West partners — Jamie Kirby and Peter Jacob — he’s created Michigan House and a few other Michigan-centric experiences.”
As a principal organizer of Michigan House, Velie also spearheaded efforts to renovate and open a groovy pop-up venue at the corner of Ottawa Avenue and Pearl Street NW in downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize to celebrate what the Great Lakes State has to offer — and that includes an occasional concert series featuring local and regional acts that was curated by Local Spins.
Visitors can stop by to soak up the vibe and the music: Next up, singer-songwriters Andrew Martin, Olivia Mainville and Alexander Lynch hold court at Michigan House between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday. See the full schedule online here.
And while you’re wandering the streets ogling ArtPrize entries, put on your earbuds and plug into this playlist created by Velie — a 10-song tribute to the music of Michigan, with compelling artists new and old. Check out the videos, with a Spotify version of the playlist below. It’s a Mitten State gem.
TED VELIE: THE LOCAL SPINS GUEST PLAYLIST
1. JR JR, “Philip the Engineer” – They were still Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. when we picked these guys up from the airport in Austin at 3:30 in the morning (last spring during South by Southwest). Their hotel that night ended up being nothing more than an empty University of Texas dorm, complete with sheet-less beds and no towels in the bathrooms. Fifteen hours later, they debuted this song on the lawn at Michigan House. Good dudes, these guys, no matter what their name is.
2. Lord Huron, “Meet Me in the Woods” – Summer time driving, man, this song will take you places.
3. David Ruffin, “My Whole World Ended” – I’ve long wanted to do a Motown Revue with a bunch of local acts. Who can handle David Ruffin though?
4. Ghost Heart, “Sick Black Lung” – One of my business partners, Jamie Kirby, has been playing this song on repeat for the entire run of Michigan House. It is a pretty killer track and a killer band.
5. Flint Eastwood, “Can You Feel Me Now” – Jax and the boys just rocked our living room in Austin with this one. Even the angry neighbors were asking for more. (Flint Eastwood plays a special “Michigan House Presents” show at The Pyramid Scheme on Wednesday Oct. 7, with MPV and hi-ker also on the bill. Tickets are $10. Details here.)
6. Sufjan Stevens, “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” – I love the new album, but have you listened to this song in a while? Songs about serial killers aren’t supposed to sound like this. They’re not supposed to tug at your heart.
7. Heaters, “Solstice” – Groove this loud can’t be bad.
8. The White Stripes, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” – Michigan House 2020: White Stripes Reunion Tour. You heard it here first.
9. The White Stripes, “The Same Boy You’ve Always Known” – Sorry, I couldn’t break the tie.
10. Stevie Wonder, “For Once in My Life” – I’m ending with this bit of playlist incongruity because … look at the breadth of what we can do around these parts.
TED VELIE: THE LOCAL SPINS GUEST PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY
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