The Grand Rapids band releasing a new album tonight was featured for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by Jack Droppers, The Accidentals, Oxford Fields, Sage Castleberry and more.
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When it comes to testing the boundaries of modern music and exploring ways it might heal society’s ills, some musicians ask, “Why Not?”
Hence, the Grand Rapids funk/alt-rock/hip-hop group Y-Not’s moniker reflects not only its approach but its mission as a band.
“Y-Not is both a band and a philosophy,” said frontman, guitarist and singer Tony Geren, who first invited musicians to join the group five years ago after hosting full-band, open-mic sessions at O’Toole’s Public House in Grand Rapids.
“The purpose was to create a message and a rhythm that spoke to the root of humanity, using music to help foster a recognition and embrace of our deepest truths individually, relationally and societally. … I really felt like I could do something with music that was going to help shift things in the culture.”
After COVID pandemic delays and some lineup changes, Y-Not is poised to unleash its first full-length studio album, with a release show at 8 p.m. today (March 3) at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids, with Ficus also on the bill. Get tickets, $10-$15, and details here.
“Now, we’re at the point where we have a really solid footing with ourselves,” Geren said of the band which features Geren, bassist V Garvey, saxophonists Mason Viilo and Caleb Elzinga, violist Connor Meston, drummer Matthew Perlman and guitarist Jeremiah Wenger.
Geren calls the band’s live shows “a journey of self-discovery” for listeners. “The music and atmosphere during shows is intended to be empowering, exciting and hopeful,” he suggested, with funk, alternative rock, spoken-word poetry, hip-hop and jam-band elements.
A ‘SOUP FULL’ OF WIDE-RANGING INFLUENCES
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, the band spotlighted two tracks (“Break the Cycle” and “Lover of Mine”) from the new album, “Rearranging the Psychic Furniture.” Watch a video from a January performance by the band here and scroll down to listen to the two spotlighted tracks and the full radio show podcast.
VIDEO: Y-Not (Live)
The eclectic approach of the band has roots in its members’ wide-ranging influences, with Geren citing the likes of Ben Howard, Trevor Hall, Ripe, Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer among his inspirations.
Garvey soaks up everything from metal, indie and electronic acts to foreign artists and experimental music. “I just have like a soup full of great music that I love that just comes out in what I do,” Garvey said.
In addition to the Tip Top release show, Y-Not has several upcoming performances, including May 12 at The Stray café in Grand Rapids and May 13 at Union Street Station in Traverse City.
The band also will be playing summer music festivals, including June’s Fairyland Festival in Harrietta and August’s Farm Fest in Johannesburg. Geren also has high hopes for eventually playing the mammoth Electric Forest in Rothbury.
He noted that the community spirit of festivals creates an ideal setting for Y-Not’s brand of music – a vehicle for change and camaraderie.
“That’s ultimately what the purpose of the music is,” he said.
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE — which focuses on music by artists from Michigan at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org — also featured an interview with Sav Buist of The Accidentals (with “Time Out” shows Friday and Saturday at Midtown in Grand Rapids) and fresh tracks from Oxford Fields, Sage Castleberry, Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions, Somewhere South of Here, the aforementioned Accidentals and Grace Theisen as well as a 2020 song from The Hacky Turtles, this week’s musicians’ pick by Y-Not. Listen to the full radio show here.
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