Friday Five: Ki5, Kiyoshi & 3 Steez, Utica, Jonathan Crayne, KUZbeats

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Album covers for the artists featured in this Friday Five: Ki5, Kiyoshi & 3Steez, Utica, Jonathan Crayne, KUZbeats

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features pop-a-cappella by Ki5, hip-hop from Kiyoshi and 3Steez, pastoral ambiance by Utica, '90s-esque alt-rock by Jonathan Crayne, and experimental songcraft by KUZbeats.

For Stevie—with Love and Squalor: Ann Arbor’s Chirp honors late rodent companion on a funky new single

MUSIC PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Black and white photo of Chirp performing live taken by Austin S. Grinnell.

Chirp kicks out the jams, from left to right: bassist Brian Long, singer-guitarist Jay Frydenlund, and guitarist Sam Naples. Photo by Austin S. Grinnell.

After his pet rat passed away, Jay Frydenlund was at a loss for words.

Instead, the Chirp frontman decided to honor his late rodent companion, Stevie, with a spirited namesake instrumental.

“Stevie the Rat was the most fearless rat that has ever existed, so I wanted to write something about her that represented that,” said Frydenlund, Chirp’s lead vocalist and guitarist. “I started working on it a few days after she died.”

Alongside bandmates Brian Long (bass, vocals), Sam Naples (guitar, vocals), and Patrick Blommel (drums) in the Ann Arbor prog-funk-jazz jam quartet, Frydenlund penned the playful, ardent “Stevie.”

Buoyant electric guitar, soulful bass, and pulsating drums scurry throughout the melodic funk and psych-rock adventures of Stevie’s past. 

“I think the energy of the tune represents Stevie’s pretty well,” Frydenlund said. “Brian [Long] lights that song on fire with his bass solo. If Stevie were a bass-playing rat, that’s exactly what she would have done.”

Chirp will share “Stevie” and other fresh, funky tracks during an Aug. 13 show in Ann Arbor’s Liberty Plaza as part of the Concert to Shut Down Line 5. It will be the band's first hometown show since playing Ann Arbor Summer Festival: Top of the Park in June.

Muse Over: Emma McDermott finds inspiration from relationships on “She Likes to Fly” album

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Emma McDermott by Jen Geer Photography. A profile shot of a young woman with brown hair, a nose ring, a contemplative look on her face.

Emma McDermott chronicles an emotive journey of self-discovery on She Likes to Fly. Photo by Jen Geer Photography.

For Emma McDermott, people from her past and present provide the ultimate creative inspiration.

The Nashville, Tennessee electro-pop singer-songwriter thoughtfully channels previous relationships and memorable interactions on her reflective debut album, She Likes to Fly.

“I write a lot of my lyrics from my heart … not necessarily as journal entries, but if I’m feeling a certain feeling, and I’m able to put music to it, then it’s almost like being in a musical,” said McDermott, who hails from Ann Arbor and studies commercial voice at Belmont University.

“I do like to write about what I’m feeling, the times that I’ve had, and the people who have come and gone in my life. I write people as muses a little bit, so if I had a relationship in high school, and then I was just reflecting on it during my sophomore year of college, then that’s what fuels the lyrics and fuels the feeling.”

Throughout She Likes to Fly, McDermott chronicles an emotive journey of self-discovery that grooves and glides through life and love. Alongside intimate lyrics, magnetic synth-based instrumentation, and infectious dance-pop hooks, she provides captivating tales that instantly resonate with listeners.

“That’s sort of how it came together, just on its own,” McDermott said. “The songs were written over a span of like two or three years, so it wasn’t like I sat down and said, ‘Oh, I’m gonna write this album about this subject matter.’ It was kind of like a conglomerate sort of entity, and all those songs found their way toward each other to be on the album.”

Friday Five: The Stooges, cv313, YY Ori, False Figures, Alex Blanpied

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album covers by The Stooges, cv313, YY Ori, False Figures, and Alex Blanpied

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features live music and demos by The Stooges circa 2003-2007, dub techno by cv313 and YY Ori, rustic Americana by False Figures, and modern classical courtesy of Alex Blanpied.

The Guild of Artists & Artisans with Gutman Gallery showcase up-and-coming artists in their annual "Emerge" exhibition

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Phantom Barber by SHoNobi

ShoNobi, Phantom Barber

An exhibition featuring newer or less-established artists might conjure up thoughts of an elementary school art fair. 

But one peek at the new Emerge exhibit at Ann Arbor's Gutman Gallery will banish those incorrect thoughts right back into that giant box of unexamined fingerpaintings your kid did as a tot.

Like last year's inaugural edition, the Gutman Gallery and The Guild of Artists & Artisans have created another show worthy of excitement and praise for all the fresh talent highlighted in Emerge.

Check out the press release below and see some samples of the work featured in the exhibition.

Friday Five: Lily Talmers, Olivia Cirisan, Otherseas, Magic Toaster, Tru Klassick

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Album covers for the music discussed in the July 29, 2022, edition of the Friday Five

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features orchestral indie-folk from Lily Talmers, beat-driven tunes by Olivia Cirisan, otherworldly electronica via Otherseas, power-pop by Magic Toaster, and the return of the boom-bap by Tru Klassick.

Out of the "Shadows": Jazz vocalist Olivia Van Goor explores lesser-known songs on her debut EP and returns to Blue LLama

MUSIC PREVIEW INTERVIEW

A headshot of jazz singer Olivia Van Goor. She has brown-blonde bob-type hair and blue eyes and is wearing a blue dress.

Photo by Ryme Media

This story originally ran on February 7. 2002. We're featuring it again because Olivia Van Goor will play Blue LLama Jazz Club on July 30.

For her debut EP, When The Shadows Fall, Milford jazz vocalist Olivia Van Goor unearthed and reshaped five hidden gems from the Great American Songbook and beyond.

“None of them are any of the classic standards like ‘Fly Me to the Moon,'" Van Goor said. "I intentionally chose standards that most professional working jazz musicians know, but not all of them. The two that are standards are ‘Willow Weep for Me’ and ‘No Moon at All. ... I did the Detroit Jazz Workshop two years in a row, and the first time I sang ‘Willow Weep for Me,’ and the second time I did ‘No Moon at All.’ I picked my milestone moments with learning the music.”

Those milestone moments also serve as a timeless journey through a spectrum of emotions ranging from hope to heartbreak. Each When The Shadows Fall track waltzes, swings, and bops from one era to the next. 

“I was really inspired by Veronica Swift, and she’s one of the best jazz vocalists of the time right now," Van Goor said. "On her last album, she took some musical theater songs that haven’t been taken by any of the legends and turned into standards and did them in that format.

“If you listen to an old recording of ‘Shadow Waltz,’ you’ll notice the style is completely different (from my version). I arranged all of the songs, and that’s my biggest originality to it, except I wrote the lyrics to ‘Hershey Bar.’”

The Olivia Van Goor Quartet will return to Ann Arbor’s Blue LLama Jazz Club on Feb. 18 July 30 and will perform songs from When The Shadows Fall as well as some past and new tunes.

Poet and U-M professor Linda Gregerson’s “Canopy” takes its impetus from gratitude and wonder at the saturating intelligence of the natural world

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Poet Linda Gregerson and her book Canopy

Author photo by Nina Subin

Linda Gregerson’s new book of poems, Canopy, lifts us to the heights of the treetops and also studies those who toil below where “There’s always a moment before the moment when nothing / is ever the same again.”

The single word “canopy” as the title conjures both a place to aspire to and a boundary delineating human limitations. 

Gregerson teaches at the University of Michigan as the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and directs the Helen Zell Writers Program. She is a chancellor emeritus of the Academy of American Poets and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of seven books of poetry and two books of criticism, and she is the co-editor of one collection of scholarly essays.

Trees, land, and the whole environment figure strongly in these poems in Gregerson’s most recent volume. A painting on a panel of oak allows for the identification of when it was created. When shipping was a dangerous, frequently fatal endeavor on the Great Lakes, a relative several generations back “was among the ones / who did not drown. Who sold his ship / and bought a farm.” The land and the trees bring surety and safety. 

The reality on the ground, however, often carries both happiness and disappointment, as a poem asks, “What is it / you love / that has not been ruined because of you.”

Canopy considers not just the ecosystem in which we live but also the current events in it, such as the COVID-19 pandemic threaded through several poems and the murder of George Floyd in “Fragment.” Yet addressing these significant events and issues leave us “bound to act and bound / to be not enough.”

Action is necessary, but the problems are much bigger than any individual.  

Emilio Rodriguez asks who gets to decide what’s offensive in his play "God Kinda Looks Like Tupac"

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW INTERVIEW

A photo of Emilio Rodriguez, author of the play God Kinda Looks Like Tupac.

Emilio Rodriguez, author of the play God Kinda Looks Like Tupac. Photo via his Facebook page.

NOTE: "God Kinda Looks Like Tupac" has been pushed back from its original opening date to August 5 due to illness.

Emilio Rodriguez, whose play God Kinda Looks Like Tupac opens at Ann Arbor's Theatre Nova on July 29 August 5, says his theater career started early.

Very early.

Donning his mother’s high heels and appropriating her broom and a funnel, he performed “one-kid adaptations of The Wizard of Oz” in the family’s living room.

Perhaps one reason why a movie with the famous line "There's no place like home" resonated with Rodriguez is that he is a self-described “military brat” who grew up on the move. Rodriguez says he didn’t have a sense of hometown until he moved to Detroit in 2012 to teach high school English and drama for AmeriCorps. One thing that informs all his work, he says, is “a loose sense of the idea of home. The plays are not necessarily set in someone’s home [but ask] … how do people make a sense of home?”

When Rodriguez began teaching, he saw the classroom as “an extension of home. … In the younger grade levels, kids spend more time at school than with their families.” He also found that friendships with colleagues gave him a sense of connection, of a mock family, a home. 

Rodriguez set God Kinda Looks Like Tupac in a Detroit high school, where a white art teacher in the mostly Black school has been targeted as insensitive. A Latino teacher offers a suggestion to the art teacher that might help him keep his job: It’s Black History month, she tells him, and there’s a competition; if a student he enters can paint something in celebration of the month and win, chances are good he will be named Teacher of the Year.

And who would fire Teacher of the Year? 

Friday Five: Andy Adamson Quintet, Ki5, Alvin Hill, Half Blue, Live sets on WCBN's Local Music Show

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Album covers for music featured in the Friday Five 07-22-2022

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features jazz/fusion by the Andy Adamson Quintet, a capella-tronica via Ki5, neo-IDM electronica by Alvin Hill, trip-hop courtesy of Half Blue, and various live sets on WCBN's Local Music Show from Dr. Pete Larson, Tanager, Girth, XV, Jim Cherewick, and Flwr.Child.