Close Bond: Eric Moore Searches for Fellowship and Connection on New “Brother” EP

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Eric Moore stands crossing his arms wearing a blue denim jacket and a red-striped shirt.

Eric Moore explores the power of human emotion and connection on Brother. Photo by Jordan Buzzy Photography.

Despite having grown up with an older sister, Eric Moore longs for a strong sense of brotherhood.

The Ypsilanti singer-songwriter/guitarist shares his quest for finding fellowship on “Brother,” the title track from his new blues-rock EP.

“It happened in San Francisco, in Jackson Hole, [Wyoming], and here in Michigan,” said Moore, who grew up near Pittsburgh, and lived out west before moving to Ypsilanti in 2002.

“I made super-tight friendships with some guys who had tight friendships with their brothers. When their brothers were on the scene and whenever we were all together, I felt like the third wheel … there was a line I couldn’t cross, and they weren’t trying to ostracize me by any means, but I just could not get over and get any closer than what those guys had.”

Backed by contemplative acoustic guitar and piano on “Brother,” Moore sings, “The first time I ever heard it I was almost 40 years old / Far past the pain of adolescence, yeah, all those tears were cold / Still it got me thinking about some good friends along the way / They were always there for each other, there wasn’t nothing left to say.”

“I noticed this tendency in me to do that, so I started with this line, ‘I’ve been waiting on you, brother.’ I tried writing around that, and I was trying to force something,” he said.

“Somewhere at some point, I said … ‘Nobody ever called me brother,’ and I went, ‘Boom! That is the song and the line that everything is going to hinge on.’ And then the song just wrote itself, it just poured out after I had that line … [and] that’s the truth, too, growing up in Washington, Pennsylvania without a musical soul to even talk with.”

Second Run: David Roof’s Funky Rivertown Fest Returns October 10-14 at Riverside Arts Center in Ypsi

MUSIC INTERVIEW

David Roof tunes a drum kit before a Funky Rivertown Fest show at Ypsilanti's Riverside Arts Center in March.

David Roof tunes a drum kit before a Funky Rivertown Fest show at Ypsilanti's Riverside Arts Center in March. Photo by Carrie Shepard.

After playing outdoor music festivals in the summer for years, David Roof wanted to capture that same spirit indoors during the fall and spring.

The producer, recording engineer, and live performer launched Funky Rivertown Fest, a biannual music festival that debuted in March and returns October 10-14 for a second run at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Arts Center.

“I love some of the music festivals in the summertime, including Holler Fest and Earthworks Harvest Gathering, and Blissfest and Wheatland are the old standbys and senior veterans of the festival scene,” said Roof, who owns and operates the Grand Blanc-based Rooftop Recording.

“But that’s all during the summertime, and in Michigan, we only have four or five nice months of weather, so that was the inspiration for me to want to do a live music series that could happen after the nice weather is gone and before the nice weather has arrived.”

At Funky Rivertown Fest, Roof features a lineup of Americana and rock-inspired acts that come from Washtenaw County and Metro Detroit. They specialize in folk-rock, blues-rock, power-pop, roots-rock, and country over five days of live performances:

Tuesday, October 10: Adam Labeaux and Head Full of Ghosts

Wednesday, October 11: Eric Moore with Rochelle Clark and Jason Dennie

Thursday, October 12: The Outfit and Songwriters in the Round with Scott Martin, Milan Seth, and Linden Thoburn

Friday, October 13: Bobby Pennock’s Big Fluffy Band and The Dirk Kroll Band

Saturday, October 14 (matinee show): Paul’s Big Radio and Saturday Matinee Songwriter Round with Judy Banker, Matthew Thick, and Jeff Brach

Saturday, October 14 (evening show): The Lucky Nows and Anna Lee’s Co.

Out of This World: deegeecee finds relief on and off Earth on “Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon” album

MUSIC INTERVIEW

deegeecee records tracks for his album at home.

deegeecee explores loss, self-doubt, growth, and change on Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon. Photo courtesy of deegeecee.

deegeecee didn’t expect to find creative inspiration from a set of scientific encyclopedias.

The Ypsilanti hip-hop artist and writer read different volumes on his breaks while working as a substitute teacher at a middle school.

“From one of them, I learned the term ‘anthelion,’ which is similar to a sun dog,” said deegeecee, aka Daryhl Covington. “I looked it up later, and it had a cool picture that was associated with it … and I saw a sun dog.”

That fascination led deegeecee down a Reddit and Google rabbit hole where he learned more about the atmospheric phenomenon.

“It’s all the crazy stuff that happens in the world naturally … it felt cosmically humbling,” deegeecee said. “I was also reading a lot about spirituality and the guru movements of the ‘80s and ‘90s … it was like, ‘What if I could take that mystic feeling and put that in everyday words and stories that made sense?’”

Those words and stories resulted in deegeecee’s contemplative new album, Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon, which features 15 tracks about loss, self-doubt, growth, and change.

“It’s about dealing with loss, whether that’s the loss of a person or the loss of the past,” he said. “It’s [also] about my thoughts on life and the artistic process and coming to terms with the type of artist that I want to be and where that’s going to position me.”

On Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon, deegeecee positions himself in a mystical world filled with poetic lyrics, hypnotic beats, post-rock and film score samples, cosmic imagery, and manga references.

We recently spoke to deegeecee about his background, the creative process for his debut album, his appreciation for manga and Japanese culture, select album tracks and collaborators, and upcoming plans.

Sobering Thought: Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds Remember a Late Friend’s Determination to Overcome Alcoholism on “Liquor Store” Single

MUSIC INTERVIEW

The Ragbirds' Shannon Wade, Erin Zindle, Loren Kranz, and TJ Zindle gather on The Ark's stage in Ann Arbor.

Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds honor a late friend's memory and his determination to overcome addiction on the new single, "Liquor Store." It's the latest release in a series of new singles from the band, which includes Shannon Wade, Erin Zindle, Loren Kranz, and TJ Zindle. Photo courtesy of Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds.

Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds remember a late friend’s strength and determination to overcome alcoholism on “Liquor Store.”

The bluesy new single from the Ann Arbor folk-rock band addresses the daily struggle Nelson Whitehorse faced while trying to fight addiction and follow a path to recovery.

“He was from St. Louis actually and moved to Ann Arbor to be in a band with me, and we lived together for a year,” said Zindle about Whitehorse, who passed away several years ago. “We lived on the west side of Ann Arbor and he had been an alcoholic since childhood.”

Throughout “Liquor Store,” Erin Zindle and bandmates TJ Zindle (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals), Loren Kranz (drums, vocals), and Shannon Wade (bass, vocals) chronicle Whitehorse’s ongoing challenge of having to walk past a liquor store each day to visit the local Alano Club.

Ominous keys and drums follow Zindle as she sings, “You said ‘Grace is new every morning’ / As you stared into your black coffee cup / Today you’re gonna make it past the liquor store / To get to the Alano Club.”

“I saw that battle play out over and over every day, and sometimes he made it, and sometimes he didn’t,” she said. “The daily work is just getting there every day.”

The band opted to release “Liquor Store” on September 14, which coincides with National Sober Day, to celebrate sobriety and raise awareness about addiction. 

The track also helps Whitehorse’s family and friends to take comfort in his memory as a “hilarious, loyal, giant-hearted friend” as Zindle noted in a Ragbirds’ Facebook post

“The message I hope people will take away is that today you’re going to make it,” Zindle said. “It literally is just that one day at a time. I’m so grateful that the song came to me, and it came with that wisdom to know not to add any message to it.”

We recently spoke to Zindle about the band’s new single, its strategy for releasing new songs and an upcoming album, the inspiration behind several tracks, the creative process for writing and recording them, a Halloween show at The Ark, and additional plans for new material.

Things to Do: Fall Festivals Spotlight Arts, Culture, and Music in Washtenaw County

MUSIC

Totally Awesome Fest event poster

Ypsilanti's Totally Awesome Fest is a free, family-friendly, all-ages, and all-species event that has become an annual “carnival” since 2004. Artwork taken from Totally Awesome Fest's Facebook page.

This fall brings plentiful opportunities to celebrate local arts, music, and culture through several Washtenaw County festivals. Peruse our list of fun things to do with family and friends in September and October.

WCBN Fundraiser
September 9
The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan student-run radio station, WCBN-FM 88.3, is hosting a fundraising show at The Blind Pig with two Ann Arbor bands—no-wave duo Lunch and hardcore quartet Tried—along with Lansing alt-indie rockers Harper. You can purchase tickets here.

Things to See: Pulp Art Exhibit Roundup for September

VISUAL ART

Ted Trower's glass artwork Red Dahlia is currently on view in the Emerge exhibition in Gutman Gallery.

Ted Trower's glass artwork Red Dahlia is currently on display in the Emerge exhibition in Gutman Gallery. Photo taken from Gutman Gallery's Facebook page.

With fall not too far away, we’re anticipating another season full of vibrant colors and landscapes. However, a lot of that color vibrancy can also be found indoors at several art exhibits this month in Washtenaw County. Check out this list of exhibits featured at local galleries in September. 

1968: A Folsom Redemption
September 1-October 20
Chelsea District Library, Chelsea

1968: A Folsom Redemption is a collection of photographs and memories of two journalists—photographer Dan Pousch and writer Gene Beley—lucky enough to be among a handful of eyewitnesses to the historic Johnny Cash concerts at Folsom Prison. The exhibit is available to view in the library's McKune Room.

A Colorful Dream
September 1-October 20
Ypsilanti District Library, Ypsilanti

A Colorful Dream is a family-friendly exhibition by fine art photographer Adrien Broom. Designed to evoke and capture a sense of childhood fantasy, Broom’s work is deeply rooted in fairy tales and mythology, taking the viewer on a journey through the entire spectrum of the rainbow. The exhibit is available to view at the Whittaker branch during library hours.

Scale Up: Adam J. Snyder Overcomes Life’s Obstacles on “Down From the Mountain Out to the Sea” EP

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Adam J. Snyder sits on a wooden bench with his acoustic guitar outside a white house.

Adam J. Snyder creates a comforting sonic experience on his Down From the Mountain Out to the Sea EP. Photo courtesy of Adam J. Snyder.

No “mountain” is too high for Adam J. Snyder to scale.

The Ypsilanti singer-songwriter and guitarist overcomes life’s obstacles to follow a new path on Down From the Mountain Out to the Sea.

“I’ve been pushing against myself, and I feel like I’ve been in the weeds my whole life. I’m in a pretty good place now, and I’m heading in the right direction of where I want to be,” said Snyder about his latest folk-pop EP.

“I went to Nicaragua in March, and I got to spend some time in the mountains. Then I got to spend time surfing on the beach and hanging out. Something about [that] just felt like where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, so that’s my goal.”

As part of that goal, Snyder shares that positive outlook on Down From the Mountain Out to the Sea, which features soft, breathy vocals; concise lyrics; bluesy influences; and percussive, rhythmic, and fingerpicked acoustic guitars.

Those elements create a comforting sonic experience and reflect the hope, encouragement, and determination embedded in the EP’s five tracks.

“I’ve just been feeling a little more in touch with that kind of stuff when I’ve been writing,“ said Snyder, who grew up in Dexter and previously fronted the now-disbanded Dirty Deville.

“When I come across an idea or things that feel right … or I’m just doing what I enjoy, which is playing guitar, I feel more connected to that kind of stuff. I feel like things are in alignment.”

Her Story: Joanna Sterling Chronicles a Trans Woman’s Journey on “Queen of Wands” Album

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Mel Clark, Adam Har-Zvi, Joanna Sterling, and Anthony Marchese stand in a grassy meadow with a wetland in the background.

Joanna Sterling, center, shares her experiences as a trans woman on Queen of Wands and features collaborations with Mel Clark, Adam Har-Zvi, and Anthony Marchese. Photo courtesy of Joanna Sterling.

For Joanna SterlingQueen of Wands represents an emotional journey filled with self-discovery, authenticity, and courage.

The Ann Arbor singer-songwriter reveals her inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences as a trans woman on her sophomore release.

“It’s very autobiographical, and I did have to cultivate a lot of courage to even write some of these. If you had asked me five years ago would I ever open an album with my boy name before I transitioned—like no, absolutely not,” said Sterling about her new folk-pop album.

“I wanted to open with that song ‘Joey’ because it took a lot for me to be like, ‘You know what, I want to accept my full self, not just me as a post-transition woman, but also who was I before and how that person is still very much a part of who I am today, and my journey that I had to take to become the woman that I am.’”

Sterling documents that journey through 13 cathartic tracks—which range from confessional ballads to rallying cries to melancholic tales—on Queen of Wands. She connects with listeners through honest lyrics, nature-filled imagery, and folk-inspired instrumentation.

“I feel like a lot of the themes that are explored on this album aren’t just about being transgender. They’re really about the journey we all have to take in order to accept ourselves,” she said.

“I feel like I was able to strike a balance by being really honest about some of the specific things I’ve been through, but also make them accessible and relatable to others potentially.”

We recently spoke to Sterling about her background, the album’s tarot-inspired title, the stories behind several of the album’s tracks, her collaboration with producer Chris DuPont and other local musicians, her album release show, and plans for new material.

Retired Eastern Michigan University Professor and Ypsilanti Sculptor John Nick Pappas Dies at 88

VISUAL ART HISTORY

John Nick Pappas commissioned sculptures for companies, hospitals, universities, and other public places in southeast Michigan. Photo taken from WEMU-FM's website.

John Nick Pappas commissioned sculptures for companies, hospitals, universities, and other public places in southeast Michigan. Photo taken from WEMU-FM's website.

John Nick Pappas, a retired professor of sculpture and drawing at Eastern Michigan University, died on July 6. He was 88.

Throughout his career, Pappas created sculptures in his Ypsilanti studio for Ann Arbor’s Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital (now Trinity Health Michigan), the University of Michigan’s Medical School campus, Detroit’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan headquarters, and other hospitals and public places. He also created a program at EMU to have student art installed on campus.

Pappas’ daughter Catherine Pappas revisited her father’s career in the winter of 2015 for Ypsilanti Gleanings:

“He still runs into former students, even though he’s been retired for many years now. I’ve been with him on more than one occasion when this has happened and I can tell you, it is pretty special. It makes me beam with pride when I see and hear about the incredible role he has played in the lives of many of his students. Back in the late 70’s, three of his graduate students; Ed Olson, Paul Mauren, Jeanne Flanagan and my oldest brother Nick worked with him in his studio to help create the Blue Cross piece, which took four years to complete.”

The rest of Catherine’s story, “My Dad, John Nick Pappas, Sculptor” can be read here.

Pappas also did an interview on September 27, 2022 with Creative Washentaw's Deb Polich for "creative:impact" on WEMU-FM 89.1.

Things to See: Pulp Art Exhibit Roundup for August

VISUAL ART

Dan Plummer uses stereoscopy to show depth as a major compositional element in the “American Landscapes in 3D” at Ypsilanti’s 22 North.

Dan Plummer uses stereoscopy to show depth as a major compositional element in American Landscapes in 3D at Ypsilanti’s 22 North gallery. Photo taken from 22 North's website.

While we're entering the final stretch of summer, there’s still time to catch several vibrant and innovative art exhibits this month in Washtenaw County. Check out this comprehensive list of exhibits featured at local galleries throughout August.

The (m)Organic Process: Inhale. Exhale. Art.
August 2-13
CultureVerse, Ann Arbor

The (m)Organic Process: Inhale. Exhale. Art. spotlights the creative process and original work of local artist Morgan Burgard. Visitors will experience the process of making art, what it means to Burgard, and what it means to them through a physical exhibit and a virtual experience.

Portraits of Feminism in Japan
Through August 4
Lane Hall Exhibit Space, the University of Michigan’s Institute on Research for Women and Gender, Ann Arbor

The exhibit features original portraits of feminists who have shaped the landscape of women's rights and gender rights in Japan and beyond. Portraits of Feminism in Japan features portraits and accompanying texts from nine contemporary artists in Japan and the U.S. that challenge simplistic understandings of feminism. 

The artists also highlight a diversity of experiences, needs, and activism within Japan and cover the history of Japanese studies at the University of Michigan in conjunction with the Center for Japanese Studies’ 75th anniversary.

Featured artists include Elaine CromieJenClare B. GawaranTakatoshi Hayashi, ivokuma (いぼくま), Nami Kaneko (金子奈美), Kang Jungsook, Lisa Taka MiyagiNancy Nishihira (西平・ナンシー), and Shigeki Shibata (柴田滋紀).