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Home Arts and Culture  Turn it down: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape
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Wednesday, April 27,2011

Turn it down: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

by Rich Tupica
Fiddle hosts two touring folkies Friday

Pennsylvania-based folk artist Anne Hills’ voice is often compared to Judy Collins. She will perform Friday at the Ten Pound Fiddle, along with songwriter David Roth. Hills has been a fixture in the folk world for more than three decades with her soaring, crystal-clear soprano. She cut her teeth in the Chicago folk scene and has since even delved into more experimental work with jazz musicians and theatrical presenters. Along the way, she has garnered such prestigious followers as folk legend Tom Paxton, who called Hills “quite simply one of my absolute favorite songwriters.”

Roth, a Chicago-based songwriter/speaker, defines himself as “Will Rogers-meets-David Letterman-meets- James Taylor-meets-Jerry Seinfeld.” Since the mid-1980s Roth has received national attention for his distinctive songs, emotional (and often comical) stories and powerful singing. He will perform songs off his new album, “Practice Makes Progress.”


Friday, April 29 @ Ten Pound Fiddle — Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove St., East Lansing, all ages. 8 p.m. show. $15 general admission; $12 for Fiddle members; $5 for students. www.tenpoundfiddle.org



Bickhardt teaches songwriting at Elderly, performs at Pump House


A-list Nashville songwriter Craig Bickhardt will make two local appearances this weekend, one as a songwriting teacher, the other as a performer. Bickhardt, a native of Pennsylvania, is known for his folky brand of acoustic songs.


His big break came in 1982 when he was chosen to write and sing two songs for Robert Duvall’s Academy Awardwinning film “Tender Mercies.” Bickhardt then made his move to Nashville and penned songs for platinum-selling, Grammy-winning CDs by Ray Charles, B. B. King, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride and The Judds. Meanwhile ,he scored four No. 1 hits.


Bickhardt teaches a songwriting workshop Saturday at Elderly Instruments titled “The Heart of the Writer, the Art of the Song.” He will speak on the craft of songwriting and will touch on key points such as, “Mastering Metaphor,” and “Character, Imagery, Melodic Theme and Rhyme.” The workshop includes demonstrations on crafting tunes, and a series of tips on how to gain success in the music industry.


For those wanting to hear Bickhardt perform live, he is playing a Sunday night show at the Pump House, an East Lansing community center and listening room.


Workshop: 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 30 @ Elderly Instruments, 1100 N Washington Ave., Lansing, $30. Show: 7 p.m. Sunday, May 1 @ Pump House, 368 Orchard St., East Lansing, $10 suggested donation; all money goes to artist.



Fencemen play debut show with Flatfoot


Members of Lansing’s Small Brown Bike, Ettison Clio and Biddy/Biddy/Biddy formed a new melodic rock band known as The Fencemen. It features local musicians Daniel Jaquint, Tyler Mitchell Blakslee, Michael Reed and Jared Nisch. The band’s first show happens Friday at Mac’s Bar. Also taking the stage is Flatfoot, a staple in the Lansing twang scene. Since it formed in 2000, the band has drawn influences from the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and an assortment of other American roots artists.


Opening the show are Hot Goss Band (East Lansing indie), Your Skull My Closet (Brooklyn punk), and the debut performance of John Paul Rippy, an East Lansing rock duo.


Friday, April 29 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 18 and over, $8, 8 p.m.



Greg Nagy releases new CD at Leroy’s


Guitarist/singer Greg Nagy, formerly with the Root Doctor Band, began to turn heads in his own right in 2009 with the release of his first solo album, “Walk That Fine Thin Line.” The Flint-based musician will release a second soulful blues album, “Fell Toward None,” Saturday at Leroy’s. Nagy’s playing has earned him a prestigious Best New Artist nomination from the Blues Foundation in Memphis, as well as favorable reviews from Blues Revue and DownBeat. He’s just signed with major blues label Vizztone Records, which has released records by the likes of Pinetop Perkins.


Friday, April 29 @ Leroy’s Classic Bar & Grill, 1526 S. Cedar St., Lansing, 21 and over, $5, 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.



Detroit ska punks play it fast at Mac’s


We Are the Union plays a hard-nosed brand of ska, which caters to the members’ love of wild music and horns. On Saturday the band performs at Mac’s Bar. Fans of Mustard Plug and Hot Water Music may want to check them out. Also set to make noise are The Riot Before (a Virginia-based melodic punk outfit), The Forthrights (New York reggae), Sig Transit Gloria (Chicago rock), and Little American Champ (Lansing post-hardcore).


Saturday, April 30 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, all ages, $8, 5 p.m.




To be listed in Live and Local, e-mail your information to liveandlocal@lansingcitypulse.com by Thursday of the week before publication.


If your band has an upcoming show, post it at www.facebook.com/turnitdown


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