Turn it Down! Loud dispatches from Lansing’s music scene

A quick look at upcoming Ten Pound Fiddle Shows

Who’s playing ‘The Fiddle’?

Posted

The Ten Pound Fiddle has been bringing in world-class folk music and dance events to East Lansing since 1975, is still going as strong as ever. It’s always an assorted mix of amazingly talented national, international and local folkies.

Just last week, Michigan’s own May Erlewine (a regular on the series) performed a Fiddle set. As for the rest of the month, they have a diverse roster of musicians performing at University United Methodist Church (UUMC). Here’s a quick look at what’s in store over the next couple weeks. Be sure to check tenpoundfiddle.org for the Fiddle’s COVID policy. 

Jake Blount
Jake Blount

Jake Blount and His Band 

University United Methodist Church

Thursday, Oct. 21, 7:30 pm

$20, $18 Fiddle Members, $5 Students

Praised by The Guardian as a “brilliant banjoist, fiddle player and singer,” Jake Blount might play old-time music, but he is newly rising star. The Providence, R.I.-based banjoist, fiddler, singer and ethnomusicologist is also half of Tui, an emerging, and internationally touring, Americana duo. Thursday, Blount performs with his band at a Ten Pound Fiddle show set for the University United Methodist Church. Fans of similar artists like Rhiannon Gibbons or Amythyst Kiah might want to catch Blount in this intimate venue.

Blount, who’s appeared on Radiolab, Soundcheck and NPR’s Weekend Edition, is not only a musician, but also a teacher of the craft. He often instructs fiddle and banjo at festivals, including the Midwest Banjo Camp. He has also shared his music and research at the Newport Folk Festival, the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University, to only name a few. Beyond that, he is a two-time winner, and many-time finalist, of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, also known as Clifftop. Coming from the old-time string band tradition, Blount melds blues, bluegrass and spirituals into his own distinct sound.

To preview his sound, check out his debut LP, “Spider Tales,” which is out now on Free Dirt Records & Service Co. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and received praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and Billboard. 

Low Lily, featuring Lissa 
Low Lily, featuring Lissa 

Low Lily, featuring Lissa 

Schneckenburger

University United Methodist Church

Friday, Oct. 22, 7:30 pm

$20, $18 Fiddle Members, $5 Students

With a couple of decades of performances behind them, Low Lily is known for its seamless blend of traditional folk and pop melodies. It’s rooted in tradition but as sounds fresh as ever. This upcoming Fiddle show catches the Brattleboro, Vermont-based trio on a rare Midwest tour. The outfit interprets songs from various genres with Lissa Schneckenburger on fiddle, Liz Simmons on guitar and Flynn Cohen on both guitar and mandolin.  All three members share vocal duties, and deliver exceptionally matched vocal harmonies. Add in some perfect picking to that equation and the result is a joyously superb ensemble.

Over the years, Low Lily has performed upbeat gigs throughout North America and the United Kingdom, and, along the way, have earned two No. 1 songs on international folk radio and two Independent Music Award wins.

For a taste of what they can do, back in December, Low Lily released a remix of “Dark Skies Again,” a song written by Sarah Yanni and originally recorded for the trio’s 2018 album, “10,000 Days Like These.” The dreamy single was accompanied by an animated video, which is streamed at lowlily.com. 

Joel Mabus
Joel Mabus
Joel Mabus

University United Methodist Church

Friday, Oct. 29, 7:30 pm

$20, $18 Fiddle Members, $5 Students

Closing out the month of October is Joel Mabus, a Fiddle vet and Midwest folk legend. Born in 1953, Mabus was raised by family of old-time country performers. The family likely started playing for fun on their porch, but by the 1930s, during the Great Depression, became a traveling “Hillbilly” troupe for Chicago’s WLS, home of the famed “National Barn Dance” radio show. 

Mabus’ father, a champion fiddler, would pick while his mom accompanied him on vocals, banjo and accordion. Sadly, she was widowed when Joel was only 2-years old. From there, in a small Southern Illinois town, his mother raised her still budding family on meagre social security survivor-benefit checks and some additional income from accordion lessons and other odd jobs.

All of that laid the groundwork for Mabus’ authentic musical journey. While he’s toured major folk clubs and festivals across the country, he remains firmly centered in the Midwest. For decades now, he’s been widely known as a risk-taking multi-instrumentalist with a welltravelled voice (check out 2019’s “Time and Truth” LP for proof of that). Perhaps “Musichound Folk: The Essential Album Guide” book said it best: “It's hard to imagine another artist on the folk scene who combines the same concise, deceptively understated, lyrical insight and sometimes devastating wit with such world-class instrumental prowess.” 

For tickets, visit tenpoundfiddle.org.

Support City Pulse  -  Donate Today!

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here


Connect with us