Local Spins asked Michigan musicians to submit songs inspired by the COVID-19 crisis — humorous as well as heartfelt. And one Grand Rapids label has released a two-volume set of ‘quarantine jams.’
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS, INCLUDING THE WINNER OF THE LOCAL SPINS GIFT PACKAGE: THE BRANDINO EXTRAVAGANZA
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A health care crisis that quarantines artists creates time and opportunities for new art inspired by that very crisis.
Michigan songwriters have responded in droves since the state’s lockdown due to COVID-19 began in mid-March, with many responding this past weekend to Local Spins’ call for songs and videos — humorous or poignant — inspired by the coronavirus pandemic.
Indeed, Hoom Hits went one — or two — better: The Grand Rapids-based record label quickly created a two-volume “Quarantine Compilation” of songs submitted by artists who wrote about the COVID-19 crisis in their first week of Michigan isolation.
The result was 27 songs from the likes of WISP, Alex Perez, Seth Beck, Archie & The One Hits, Tom Hymn, Bedroom Ceilings, Further Closer and many other West Michigan artists who you can listen to and download/purchase at bandcamp.com.
Hoom Hits is using the 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 wins the Local Spins gift package for sheer determination and a brilliantly delivered concept.)
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.”
And 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.)
Listen (and watch) these tunes below and let us know what you think of them. We’ll choose one to receive a special Local Spins gift pack that includes a fashionable beanie, which might not protect you from the coronavirus but will certainly make you feel and look better. (By the way, 50 percent of proceeds from sales of Local Spins beanies here will go to the Michigan Artist Relief Fund.)
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: Rachel Curtis (Lansing), “Hold On”
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: Michael Richards of Adaboy! (Bay City), “Lazy Daze”
VIDEO: Grand Valley State University’s Euphoria, “Lean on Me”
VIDEO: May Ann Caneba, “A Reflection on a Different War”
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