Shows & Events

Buffalo Nichols

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Since his earliest infatuations with guitar, Carl “Buffalo” Nichols has asked himself the same question: How can I bring the blues of the past into the future? After cutting his teeth between a Baptist church and bars in Milwaukee, it was a globetrotting trip through West Africa and Europe during a creative down period that began to reveal the answer.

$20

Appalachian Road Show

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Appalachian Road Show is a visionary acoustic ensemble, bringing new-generation interpretations of traditional Americana, bluegrass and folk songs, as well as offering innovative original music, all presented with a common thread tied directly to the heart of the Appalachian regions of the United States. Grammy-nominated banjoist Barry Abernathy joins forces with Grammy-winning fiddler Jim VanCleve, fresh off of his recent stint touring with multi-platinum country artist Josh Turner, as well as esteemed vocalist and mandolinist Darrell Webb, who has recorded and toured with Dolly Parton and Rhonda Vincent, among many others. The group also includes 26-year-old “old soul” guitarist Zeb Snyder, whose fierce and versatile playing recalls Doc Watson and Norman Blake as readily as it does Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

$25

Mustard’s Retreat

Opener: Jonas Berzznskis

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Mustard’s Retreat has always sung the songs they enjoyed and cared about, regardless of the trends of the music industry and pop culture. They are committed to simply being themselves, not chasing fame or brass rings, while delighting in and connecting with their audiences as if they were family. The honesty of what they present onstage and the extensive body of outstanding original songs and recordings all contribute to a fiercely loyal audience that continues to grow.

$20

Laith Al-Saadi

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

An intimate solo performance
Laith Al-Saadi began singing at age four and began playing guitar at 13. At 15 he formed his first blues band, Blue Vinyl. In short order they opened for blues greats like Buddy Guy (to whose work his playing has been compared), Luther Allison, Son Seals, and Taj Mahal and toured the Netherlands. At the University of Michigan, Laith was a member of the Johnny Trudell Orchestra and freelanced with Detroit greats like Thornetta Davis, Jocelyn B, The Reefermen. Laith is a real road warrior who generally can be found playing at least five nights a week around Michigan and beyond, and Michigan's secret got out when he made the finals of television's "The Voice." If you haven’t checked out this monster Michigan talent yet, you really should! Tonight Laith performs a rare solo show.

$30

JD Clayton

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Arkansas-based singer/songwriter JD Clayton crafts and plays songs from the heart and heartland. Through varied tunes and soul-gripping lyrics, JD weaves a classic Americana vibe, staying true to his Southern roots. From an early age, he developed his musical skills from piano to percussion and blues harp to guitar, uniting them with coming-of-age verse. He delivers to his listening audience the essence of what it means to be young and alive. He comes to Michigan with a new EP, “Side A.”

$20

The Ark’s Open Stage

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Whether you're looking for your big break, want to perfect your live performance skills, or just want to perform live for the sheer fun of it, Open Stage nights offer supportive audiences and a terrific space.

$3, $2 members, seniors, students

Talisk

Opener: Anna Mieke

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Groundbreaking, chart-topping, genre-bending, globetrotting, instantly enthralling… it’s little wonder that Talisk ranks highly amongst the most in-demand folk-based groups to emerge from Scotland in the last decade and more. Mohsen Amini (BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year), Graeme Armstrong and Benedict Morris  (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) fuse concertina, guitar, and fiddle to produce a multilayered signature that has captivated audiences around the globe. At its core, three seemingly acoustic instruments—but in the hands of three master craftsmen one unmistakable, bold sound and captivating live show. Talisk is coming to Michigan with a new album, “Dawn.”

$20

Breabach

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Securely ranked among Scotland’s most skilled and imaginative contemporary folk acts, Breabach unite deep roots in Highland and Island tradition with the innovative musical ferment of their Glasgow base.

$25
Ford Fund Family Series

Justin Roberts & The Not Ready For Naptime Players

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Five-time GRAMMY-nominated Justin Roberts is truly one of the all-stars of the indie family music scene. For some 20 years, Justin has been crafting songs for kids and parents that navigate the joys and sorrows of growing up. Along with his band, The Not Ready for Naptime Players, he has traveled the globe, from Hong Kong to New York, and Miami to Seattle. He comes to the Family Room with a new album, "Space Cadet," that’s packed with his trademark brand of zany fun. Justin has performed in front of millions of people on the Today show; he's been featured on Nick Jr.; and his song "Get Me Some Glasses" was featured on a World Series broadcast. We’re excited to welcome Justin back for his first in-person performance since the pandemic started!

$15, $12 kids
Postponed

An Evening with George Winston

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Due to unforeseen circumstances, George Winston’s Feb 11 performance at The Ark will be rescheduled to a future date.  You will be notified by email after this date is determined. 

Please retain your tickets and they will be honored on the new date. Once the date is announced, patrons will have 30 days to request a refund if they are not able to attend the new date.

$45, $53, $75

Jess Merritt & The Understorey

Opener: Abigail Stauffer

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

Jess Merritt is an Ann Arbor singer and songwriter whose rich, soulful voice evokes a unique emotional resonance.  From power ballads to velvet keys, soul and rock to blues and pop, listeners are headed into a memorable experience by this expansive and versatile artist.

This special “musical memoir” performance marks Jess’s 40th birthday and a return to the stage with her band, the Understorey, after a 5-year hiatus.  The Understorey is composed of longtime collaborators Josef Deas and Jenny Jones and new members Brennan Andes, Jon Brown and TJ Zindle.  The show will feature a mix of original songs, covers and stories about the “path to renaming and reclaiming” herself, along with special guests.

$20

My Folky Valentine

The Ark 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI

What better time than Valentine's Day to get to know some married or partnered couples who make music together? My Folky Valentine is The Ark's annual celebration of romance! Each year we present a few of the region's top musical couples, in the round during Valentine's Day week. Your hosts, Annie and Rod Capps, invite some of their most talented friends from around the region to share the stage for an evening of grand collaboration and anything but love songs! . . . Okay, well, maybe a few love songs, since this year My Folky Valentine falls on the day itself. Can you imagine anything sweeter than a pair of tickets to see this show? Stay tuned for lineup.

$20