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 […]
Shows & Events
Whether battling valiantly from behind the enemy lines of his dive-bar-underground past or blowing the doors off sold-out theaters as he’s done with Drive-By Truckers for the last decade, Mike Cooley has proved his mettle time and time again. He’s rock & roll incarnate—Mick and Keith rolled into one impossibly cool, soul-howling, guitar rattlin’ ball of genuine unapologetic grit and swagger. At least that’s how it seems gazing up from the crowd at a packed DBT show. So how did this modern-day rock hero feel about temporarily ditching his band and rolling back the volume for the unaccompanied acoustic performances that would become his debut solo record, “The Fool on Every Corner?” “When you don’t do it normally, it’s terrifying,” Mike admits. “I try to relax, but I’ll probably never be able to sit down in a chair on stage as easily as I sit down on a toilet behind a closed door. That’s the goal—somewhere in between,” he deadpans. “I set the bar high.” Despite his bad nerves and tongue-in-cheek penchant for self-deprecation, Cooley shines, tossing aside his guitar pick and playing almost everything with his fingers. “Strip it, strip it, strip it down,” he says, alluding to the mantra that guided these performances. “What’s left is the song and nothing else.”
The Founding is a progressive folk band from Kalamazoo, Michigan. With its timeless, powerful approach to songwriting and unique instrumentation, they strive to balance tradition and innovation as they bring new music to life. The Founding has performed at theaters and festivals throughout the United States, and they already have a Christmas album out. Members of The Founding are lead singer and flautist Elizabeth June; fiddler and vocalist John Robey; mandolinist and fiddler Joel Tyrone Myers; keyboardist, violist, and percussionist Lukas Stanley; guitarist and cellist Patrick Hartson; and bassist and vocalist Kyle Pitcher.
Lisa LeBlanc comes from a French-speaking village in New Brunswick, and she sings in English and French. She calls her music “trash folk,” and it includes elements of Acadian folk music and garage rock. Lisa sings and plays the guitar, and she has a powerful voice and gives shows with a strong physicality. Lisa’s latest album is “Chiac Disco,” a bright, funny and sparkling record, filled with all kinds of musical glitter and colorful lyrics sung loud and proud. The album earned her a repeat visit to the Polaris Short List, as well as the Félix awards in the categories Album Production of the Year (with her trusted collaborator Benoit Morier) and Pop Album of the Year. Join us for the Ark debut of this rising Canadian original!
In 2016, Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the Season 10 finale of NBC’s “The Voice.” Now he’s bringing an authentic blend of blues, soul and classic rock to audiences around the nation and the world. Laith Al-Saadi has always had the perfect combination of Midwestern hustle and incredible musical chops—honed at the University of Michigan school of music in his hometown of Ann Arbor, and on stages across the country working with legends like Taj Mahal, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Gregg Allman, and B.B. King.
At it since 1984, Blackthorn offers shows that involve a musical ramble across Ireland. Traditional songs of emigration, ballads, shanties and jigs and reels combine with some of Ireland's best contemporary songs for a musical experience that is uniquely Irish. Each of the band's five members plays multiple instruments, including flute, accordion, tin whistle, fiddle, banjo, cittern, bodhran, and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band's tight blend of four-part harmony. This band has been bringing a rich tapestry of Celtic music to southeast Michigan and beyond for almost 40 years, and they're a must-see for those who want to know the deep traditions of Irish music in Michigan.
“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.
One of Michigan's international exports, Maggie Cocco returns with a preview of her first analog album, “Like A Moth,” slated for release in 2024. Through "Science for Sociopaths," Cocco crafts evocative theatrical song cycles that delve into themes of systemic and interpersonal wounds and connection. Boasting awards including Best Music at Auckland Fringe Festival, Maggie Cocco's Science for Sociopaths is "radiant but raw, presenting beautifully melodic odes of unvarnished truths," says Jeff Milo of Deep Cutz.