Exactly one year ago today, at the height of COVID angst, Local Spins published a roundup of virus-inspired songs and spoofs created by Michigan musicians, both funny and heartfelt. Revisit them today.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS, INCLUDING THE WINNER OF THE LOCAL SPINS GIFT PACKAGE: THE BRANDINO EXTRAVAGANZA, WHOSE VIDEO HAS RACKED UP MORE THAN 24,000 VIEWS.
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A health care crisis that quarantined artists also carved out time and opportunities for new art inspired by that very crisis.
Michigan songwriters responded in droves immediately after the state’s lockdown due to COVID-19 began in mid-March 2020, with many responding to Local Spins’ call for songs and videos — humorous or poignant — inspired by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Grand Rapids-based Hoom Hits record label went even farther, eventually releasing four volumes of its “Quarantine Compilation” of songs submitted by Michigan artists who wrote about the COVID-19 crisis during isolation.
The result was dozens upon dozens of tracks from the likes of WISP, Alex Perez, Seth Beck, Archie & The One Hits, Tom Hymn, Bedroom Ceilings, Further Closer, Brian Mulder, John Piatek, Ficus and many other West Michigan artists. You can listen to the music and download/purchase tracks at hoomhits.bandcamp.com.
Hoom Hits used the spring 2020 project to raise money for The Pyramid Scheme’s GoFundMe campaign aimed at creating “tips” for the Team Scheme staff that’s been idled by the pandemic. Donate to the campaign here.
“If you can, please donate to keep the lights on at a venue that has fearlessly supported local music since the day they opened,” Hoom Hits wrote at bandcamp.com.
LISTEN: “Let the Sunlight In,” Further Closer (Hoom Hits Compilation)
As for Local Spins’ call-out for musical contributions, the submissions were impressive, led by The Brandino Extravaganza, aka Brandino Proch.
The Grand Rapids singer-songwriter and looping wizard spent upwards of 16 hours creating the various parts for his parody rendition of “This is Halloween” (from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) which he dubbed, “This is Quarantine.” It features six different vocal parts and video footage of him singing the ode to COVID-19’s lockdown. (He won a Local Spins gift package for sheer determination and a brilliantly delivered concept.)
Since being posted on YouTube last spring, the video has racked up nearly 25,000 views.
Other contributions ranged from an upbeat “Quarantine Blues” ditty by Grand Rapids jazz pianist John Proulx and his daughter, Maya, to Dan Lynn of the Blue Water Ramblers, who cleverly adapted the actual wording of a “March 21 Briefing” by the president on the coronavirus crisis for his entry.
Grand Rapids’ Dale Wicks wrote his ditty from the perspective of many musicians whose music has been silenced by the crisis. “I wrote it when I didn’t know what to do with myself after all my gigs got canceled because of COVID-19,” he explains. “The song is not really humorous, though it is surprisingly major-key and bouncy, given the subject matter.”
Detroit-born singer-songwriter Scott Fab created the poignant “Wish You,” with fellow Detroiter Jeff Karoub making his “Pandemic Times” a tribute to health care workers who are risking their lives to care for fellow Michiganders, which was also the focus of Kalamazoo’s Rob Clark and his tune, “Need You Now.”
The Holland band Brother Adams’ “The Rich Will Still Be Rich,” was written, performed and recorded by Jair Driesenga, with his brother, Bryce, creating artwork and a video for the track that was sent to Zeeland’s Jake Kalmink for mixing and mastering. They call it “a simple and lighthearted take on current events and was put together to give people a laugh.”
There were more, so we’ve compiled some of the best of them here (with a parental advisory that a couple of these contain some profanity).
THE WINNING VIDEO:
The Brandino Extravaganza, “This is Quarantine” (Parody of “This is Halloween”)
VIDEO: John and Maya Proulx (Grand Rapids), “Quarantine Blues”
VIDEO: Andy Baker (Gobles), “Coronavirus Blues”
VIDEO: Brother Adams, “The Rich Will Still Be Rich”
VIDEO: Sean Miller (Petoskey), “Social Distancing Party”
VIDEO: Dan Lynn (Grand Rapids), “March 21 Briefing”
VIDEO: Scott Fab (Detroit), “Wish You”
VIDEO: Dale Wicks w/ Melissa Dylan (Grand Rapids), “Up in the Air”
VIDEO: Eric Engblade (Grand Rapids), “Contagious”
VIDEO: Rob Clark of The Yesterdays (Kalamazoo), “Need You Now”
VIDEO: Jeff Karoub (Detroit), “Pandemic Times”
VIDEO: Nicholas James Thomasma, “Slices”
VIDEO: Nicholas James Thomasma, “If I Had Known”
VIDEO: Jessica in the Rainbow (Grand Haven), “Simple”
VIDEO: Ryan Boldrey (Kalamazoo), “Last Day”
VIDEO: Phil and C.J. Biggs, “The Way Back”
VIDEO: Alan Fleishman, “50 Ways To Not Touch Others” (take on Paul Simon’s classic)
VIDEO: Grand Valley State University’s Euphoria, “Lean on Me”
VIDEO: May Ann Caneba, “A Reflection on a Different War”
VIDEO: Rachel Curtis (Lansing), “Hold On”
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