With producer Mitchell Froom, Ron Sexsmith released his self-titled label debut album in 1995. The melancholic tone and sparse acoustic arrangements of the album were met an enthusiastic endorsement from Elvis Costello, and the album was declared a critical success. In his Sept 7, 1995 review for Rolling Stone, Bud Scoppa wrote: “He just may be the most fluent balladeer to come along since Tim Hardin or Harry Nilsson.” Ron’s songwriting style evolved into a unique and timeless blend of classic pop, contemporary folk, and roots-rock idioms. He has built a steadfast reputation with critics and with some of his own songwriting heroes (Elton John, Ray Davies, John Prine, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen and Paul McCartney) for his characteristically honest, sensitive, and enduring approach to the songwriting craft.
Shows & Events
Since his neo-psychedelic Green On Red days, Chuck Prophet has been turning out country, folk, blues, and Brill Building classicism. His latest album, "The Land That Time Forgot," is something different, a weather vane picking up signals from outer space—or maybe from the Heartland. Come and hear the latest from one of our favorite songwriters to have come out of the world of alternative rock.
at The Majestic Theatre Dubbed "masters of soulful folk" by Paste, The Wood Brothers formed after brothers Chris and Oliver Wood pursued separate musical careers for 15 years. Chris already had legions of devoted fans for his incomparable work as one-third of Medeski Martin & Wood, while Oliver toured with Tinsley Ellis before releasing a half-dozen albums with his band King Johnson. With drummer Jano Rix added as a permanent third member, it's become quite clear that The Wood Brothers is indeed the main act.
A multiethnic Latin pop songstress, Gina Chavez is a ten-time Austin Music Award winner. Her bilingual record "Up.Rooted" topped both the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts following a feature on NPR's All Things Considered and has gained wide critical acclaim. Her Tiny Desk concert made NPR's top 15 of 2015. Fresh off a 12-country tour as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, Gina offers passionate bilingual songs that take audiences on a journey through the Americas, blending the sounds and rhythms of the region with tension and grace. Her Spanish-language anthem "Siete-D" (Grand Prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest) recounts her experience volunteering in a gang-dominated suburb of San Salvador, where she co-founded the Niñas Arriba College Fund for young Latinas. Her songs share her story of life in Texas as a married, queer Catholic She’s back from Folk Festival with her first all-Spanish album, the Latin Grammy–nominated "La que manda."
Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman (AKA "DaBu") started Choir! Choir! Choir! as a weekly drop-in, no-commitment singing event in 2011. Now happening twice weekly, and open to anyone who likes to sing new arrangements of pop songs, C!C!C! boasts a dedicated and passionate membership of inspired singers from in and around Toronto, Canada. They have performed live with Patti Smith at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Tegan and Sara on the Juno Awards, at TEDx Toronto, and at the Toronto International Film Festival Closing Gala at Roy Thompson Hall. Choir! Choir! Choir! sings popular songs, choral style—you never know quite which ones. Like what you hear? Show up, and they’ll teach you an original arrangement of a song you love. Tonight: an epic George Harrison singalong to celebrate George’s 80th birthday.
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.
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.
During a performance in summer 2020, Mark Erelli looked down at his guitar neck and couldn’t believe what he saw. Or rather, what he couldn’t see: his fingers on the frets. Soon after, a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease, would bring some answers, but it also yielded new questions. Does diminished eyesight correlate with lesser insight? Does your songwriting change when your perception of the world around you changes? These questions, and Mark’s hunt for creative agency, are at the heart of his new album, “Lay Your Darkness Down.” In need of connection and catharsis, he turned as he often did to songwriting. “The only way I could console myself was to know that I was still going to be able to have some creative agency,” Mark says. “I could then bring whatever I was feeling or wanting to express into reality.” He began to craft songs with an intricate, labored approach like never before. “It's much more like an oil painting, where you're layering different tones and colors one at a time.”
Vanessa Collier is a captivating and multitalented blues vocalist, saxophonist, and songwriter, hailing from the world-renowned Berklee College of Music, where she earned dual degrees in Performance and Music Production & Engineering. Vanessa demonstrates her skills as a master musician and songwriter, blending her blues background with elements of funk, rock, and soul. Vanessa’s mighty vocals, gritty saxophone solos, and incredible high-energy stage presence create a powerful show not to be missed!
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.
Jared Deck has been praised for his "powerful, beautiful voice" by Alejandro Escovedo. "The battle has always been internal, overcoming my own failures and working to improve," he says. Raised on the dusty plains of an Oklahoma family farm, Jared worked in the fields as well as the town grocery, owned by his parents. "In a community of 1,200 people, big dreams seem impossible. We're taught to manage expectations, put our nose down, and get to work." Later he worked in an oilfield and a factory. During the Great Recession he got by with a job as a pianist in a Black church, where over the next six years, he received an unparalleled musical education. His songs tell stories in an honest voice of Midland America. "The American Dream" won first place in the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriting Competition. And on top of all this, he was recently elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Returning from Folk Festival, Jared has a recent release, "Bully Pulpit.”