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Friday Night Folk: BanjoFest

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

46th Ann Arbor Folk Festival - Presented by Bank of Ann Arbor Valerie June headlines this in-the-round evening in The Ark's Ford Listening Room featuring her own specially curated lineup of phenomenal women banjo players, including Yasmin Williams and Michigan’s own Rachael Davis.

$250, $120, $45

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Matt Nathanson

Opener: Stephen Kellogg

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Presented by ann arbor's 107one A lot of people know Matt Nathanson for his 2007 hit "Come On Get Higher," but his career has only kept growing since then. He comes to Michigan with a new album, “Boston Accent,” whose stripped-down arrangements recall his beginnings as an acoustic troubadour. That’s all to the good for this show—it's not so common to hear him in a club The Ark's size. Matt has a unique sense of humor on stage that can get lost in larger venues, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back for the first time since the pandemic began. “I wanted to make a real singer/songwriter record this time. an ‘inspired by cat stevens, joni mitchell, paul simon, tom petty kinda record … which is something i’ve been running away from since ‘Ernst,’ Matt says.

$45, $60, $75
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Leo Kottke

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

The Los Angeles Times calls Leo Kottke "an American legend in the guitar world, and a king of his own private musical world." If you haven't heard Leo Kottke for a while, though, you may have missed how one of the fastest 6- and 12-string guitar players around has also become one of the most innovative and least musically classifiable. His music encompasses influences from all over the world, and players from outside the folk world closely follow what he does. Leo Kottke is a legend of the guitar who's still full of surprises after all these years. His shows are displays of captivating mastery of a sort that's rare in any genre of music. Don't miss him, and get tickets early for this one—Leo's Ark shows have been consistent sellouts.

$40
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May Erlewine

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

One of the Midwest’s most prolific and passionate songwriters, May Erlewine continues to share her gift for writing songs of substance that feel both new and soulfully familiar. Her lyrics offer a window into her heartbreak, her empowerment, and her emboldened spirit. These lyrics, which are really stories crafted through May’s unique experiences, are rooted in wisdom, joy, sorrow, simplicity, and love. Musically, she carries the songwriter’s torch through many genres and sonic landscapes. May considers her career in the music industry as a service-oriented one and uses her platform for positive change. She stresses the importance of environmental advocacy, social justice, creative empowerment, and community building as necessary work in our world.

$25

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The Wailin’ Jennys

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

The Wailin' Jennys are neither a reggae group nor an all-female Waylon Jennings tribute band. Three extraordinary voices with one singular vision: The Wailin' Jennys continue to evolve into far more than the melodious sum of their individual talents years after blowing in on a fresh acoustic breeze from Canada's midwestern heartland. Canadians Nicky Mehta, and Ruth Moody and New Yorker Heather Masse were all well-established talents individually, and their collaboration is an example of how exciting it can be when performers with distinct outlooks find ways of working together. Each member of the trio contributes distinctive original songs to the mix, which ranges from folk-rock to Celtic to traditional song. This trio has won fans for its incredible harmonies at venues ranging from "A Prairie Home Companion" (multiple times) to the small-town parks and festivals in Manitoba that gave them their start.

$45

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Victor Wooten and The Wooten Brothers

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Hailed as the most influential bassist since Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten is known for his solo recordings and tours, and as a founding member of the Grammy-winning supergroup Bela Fleck & The Flecktones. He is an innovator on the bass guitar, as well as a talented composer, arranger, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Continuing the tradition of virtuosity forged by James Brown, Funkadelic, and Prince, Victor will make you wonder how he could possibly be creating his incredible bass effects in real time. His show is a high-wire act on low-pitched strings that owes some of its inspiration to another Wooten mentor, the inimitable Bootsy Collins. A multiple-time winner of Bass Player magazine's Bass Player of the Year award and a five-time Grammy winner, Victor Wooten is a musical experience not to be missed! Tonight Victor appears with brothers Joseph, Roy, and Regi Wooten.

$45

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Ebird & Friends Holiday Show

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Celebrating its 16th anniversary, the Ebird and Friends Holiday Show has become known for connecting audiences with stellar artists in the Michigan music community. Four performances of this festive revue will occur December 7 through 9. Produced by Erin Zindle, the singer, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist of Erin Zindle & the Ragbirds, this concert series has […]

$25, $35, $50
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Vienna Teng

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

“I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with music for the past several years,” jokes songwriter Vienna Teng. “Now we’re talking about moving in together again." Long-distance, perhaps, but long-running. In 2002, Vienna released her debut album, “Waking Hour,” landing her on NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Late Show with David Letterman, and the top of Amazon’s music charts. More albums followed; 2013’s “Aims” became the first album to win four Independent Music Awards. Most recently Vienna composed the music for The Fourth Messenger by playwright Tanya Shaffer. Along with Vienna’s captivating live performances and thoughtful online presence, her work has built a devoted following across generations as well as continents.

$40

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Save The Speakeasy Benefit Concert

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

In 2022, Johnny Williams' home -- above his well-known and highly regarded house concert venue, Johnny's Speakeasy -- suffered a devastating fire. Johnny paid for a premium homeowner's replacement policy for nearly 30 years, but after 18+ months his insurance company continues to delay fair payment on his claim. This benefit concert features a lineup of some of the finest artists from across Michigan performing in support and solidarity with the grassroots, community driven campaign to Save the Speakeasy and Bring Johnny Home!

$25, $35, $50
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G. Love & Special Sauce 30th Anniversary Tour

Special Guest: Jakobs Castle

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Born Garrett Dutton in Philadelphia, PA, G. Love grew up equally enthralled with folk, blues, and rap, devouring everything from Lead Belly and Run D.M.C. to John Hammond and the Beastie Boys. After migrating to Boston, he and his band, Special Sauce, broke out in 1994 with their Gold-selling self-titled debut, which earned widespread critical acclaim for its bold vision and adventurous production. Over the next twenty-five years, G. Love would go on to release seven more similarly lauded studio studios albums with Special Sauce (plus four solo albums on his own), solidifying his place in music history as a genre-bending pioneer with a sound The New York Times described as "a new and urgent hybrid" and NPR called a "musical melting pot."

$40

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Glen Phillips of Toad The Wet Sprocket

Opener: Chris Pureka

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Glen Phillips is the lead singer and main songwriter for the band Toad the Wet Sprocket, which he joined when he was only 14. In the words of James Christopher Monger, "Phillips has matured into . . . a quiet storm that dutifully blends Cat Stevens' confident huskiness and Jackson Browne's weary but warm observer of all things broken." Glen has evolved into one of the great folk-rock songwriters of our time, still staying true to his Toad-like roots, and The Ark is the place to hear him!

$30
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Josh Ritter

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

The Ark helped spread Josh Ritter’s name among Michigan audiences when he made a standout performance at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival in 2003, and we’re proud that we, along with Emmylou Harris and Paste magazine, which named Josh one of the 100 greatest living songwriters in 2006, spotted this monster talent in the making. Josh has gone on to record a dozen albums, write a book or two, tour with Jason Isbell, and play much larger halls than The Ark. So it’s very special to us to invite Josh to perform in a rare small club appearance. He’s an entrancing performer, a true master of the songwriter’s art. This is a special Works In Progress + Songs You Know solo show.

$45