Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Grand Haven braces for Season Two of "Music at the Museum" series

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins August 10, 2016

It all started with a little red house.

Locally organized concerts have helped put Grand Haven on the musical map, thanks in large part to the Red House Concert Series and the wildly successful first season of Music at the Museum, held at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in downtown Grand Haven.

Now the museum staff, together with organizers of the Music at the Museum series, are ready to play the second verse of this hit song they have written, together with the announcement of another edition of the popular concert series.

Read more on the announcement, as well as the season schedule, on the full Local Spins article!

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Diana Ross hits all the right notes for passionate crowd at Meijer Gardens

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins July 26, 2016

Long before the gates opened early at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Monday to usher in the capacity crowd of fans, ticket holders understood they were in for something special.

They knew that the Queen of Motown, Diana Ross, was not far away.

And part of that royal family - Ross' daughter, Rhonda Ross - opened the concert, starting with a rendition of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly with His Song," accompanied by a band and backing vocalists.

"I am so thrilled to be here as a part of my mother's show," she told the crowd during a short set that included a few songs from "In Case You Haven't Heard," her latest album. "I've learned, it doesn't matter what's going on around me, only I can decide how I feel."

Rhonda said she considers herself a social artist, one who uses her music to help make people think and add to the social conversation. She began a lively, upbeat jazzy tempo medley, including another favorite, "You've Got the Best of My Love," which had much of the audience clapping along with her music.

By the time she left the stage, the crowd already was cheering eagerly for the main performer of the evening to take the floor. As the band came out to take their places, fans rose to their feet, clapping for her grand entrance.

Read more about Ross' grand entrance and Meijer Gardens show at the full article on Local Spins!

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Old Crow Medicine Show turns Meijer Gardens amphitheater into backyard party

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins July 15, 2016

From the very first song, Old Crow Medicine Show set the bar high.

The bluegrass/folk/country band's headlining set thursday night at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park captivated young and old alike in the sold-out amphitheater, including longtime fans wearing shirts from tours and shows past and children enjoying their first concert of many to come.

After an opening acoustic set from Alabama songwriter duo Secret Sisters, Old Crow Medicine Show jumped right in with a fast, upbeat tempo, getting the crowd cheering from the get go. Trading bluesy solos from one instrument to the next, the group members seemed to feed off the member who played before them, then build on it as the song flew on.

Read the full article about the concert at Local Spins!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Singer/Songwriter Matt Gabriel takes eclectic, diverse approach on new EP, 'Fiction'

On his newest recording, the Grand Rapids artist aimed to "write something different." He'll perform those genre-spanning songs and more compelling material along the lakeshore in coming weeks.

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins

It starts fast and energetic, coming at listeners with a country twang, like an Old West train robbery.

That was the scene that West Michigan singer/songwriter Matt Gabriel envisioned while writing the first track on his new EP, "Fiction."

That renegade image fits perfectly - not only with the song, but with the entire album - because Gabriel refuses to let himself be pigeonholed into one style or genre.

"I'm always trying to write something different," Gabriel said. "I'm surprised how people don't get bored, staying all within one genre, not even branching out simply for their own enjoyment."

The 27-year-old Jenison native's EP is versatile in the tone of its songs, an impressive feat considering there are only three tracks on the recording. The first, "True North," is a faster-paced, upbeat song, full of country twang in the guitar licks. The track's lyrics deliver a message about breaking ranks with what should be, in favor of following your own path instead.

Read more about this EP, and Matt Gabriel's songwriting style, on the Local Spins website!

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Channing & Quinn embrace Michigan as duo's new home on 'Up North' album, revel in audience-pleasing, multi-instrumental shows

With their new album, Channing Lee and Quinn Mathews add a Great Lakes State perspective to their unique indie-folk, which will come to life next week at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins

When West Michigan's Channing Lee and Quinn Mathews throw an album release party, they do it right.

From singing along to songs to tapping feet and even dancing off to the side of the stage, the crowd clearly had a blast at the duo's "Up North" album release party last week at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in downtown Grand Haven.

Channing & Quinn's new album is the first written completely in Michigan since the duo moved to Grand Rapids after a nine-year stint in Nashville. They saw the phrase "Up North" as one that's often associated with vacations, or at least relaxing and having a great time with loved ones in the Great Lakes State.

"So, it is a very good title for our album," said Lee, noting the couple wanted the album-release show "to be like a party - a fun time and a celebration of this album."

Indeed, it was.

Read the rest of the concert coverage and album review on the Local Spins website!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Grand Haven Walk the Beat seeking bands and songs for August festival, aims for biggest spectacle yet

In its third year, Walk the Beat wants to sign up 70 bands to play 35 venues and will host another song contest, with $12,500 in prizes for musicians at stake. Check out the back story and links to sign up.

By Matt Marn

Published by Local Spins

The idea began as an inspired dream to provide musical instruments and resources for those who could not afford them otherwise.

But in its third year, the effort has grown into a year-round, nonprofit organization known as Walk the Beat.

The Aug. 20 Walk the Beat festival will feature 70 bands and singer/songwriters - many of them local - performing at 35 businesses in Grand Haven. The 2015 event had 60 acts playing 30 venues.

"The festival is in its third year now," said Dave Palmer, founder and executive director of Walk the Beat. "The first year was good, and the second year doubled in attendance from the first. And we plan to double in attendance this year, again."

Read the full article - and follow the information to sign up your group for Walk the Beat - at the full Local Spins website!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Seven Steps Up celebrates fifth anniversary

Gary and Michelle Hanks: co-owners of Seven Steps Up
By Matt Marn
Published by Local Spins

When Gary and Michelle Hanks opened Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake, they originally had no intention of using the venue as a listening space for live music.

But after five years of presenting their Pin Drop Concerts series, the duo continues to be smitten with the music, and eager to keep it all going.

"We only have two concepts for our Pin Drop Concert Series: to provide an amazing experience for the artist, and to provide an amazing experience for our guests," said co-owner Gary Hanks.

If you do both of those things, Michelle added, amazing and magical things happen.

"There has never been a show where that doesn't happen," she said. "People leave in tears, they are so moved. We are addicted."

Read the full article on Seven Steps Up at Local Spins!

Local Spins Sneak Peek: Loren Johnson Spotlight

Grand Haven singer/songwriter, Loren Johnson
By Matt Marn
Published by Local Spins

Hailing from a Coast Guard family, Loren Johnson was already accustomed to moving from city to city. When her family moved into their new home in Grand Haven, she had trouble at first being "the new kid" in a new school.

Everything had changed - again. Everything... except the guitar she brought along and her passion for songwriting.

Now, that songwriting is on display for all to see on her debut EP, "Sleepsick," officially released early this year. Johnson has been performing around the Grand Haven area with the support of her family and friends, as well as the community.

Read the full spotlight on Loren Johnson at Local Spins!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Local Spins venue spotlight sneak peek: Odd Side Ales

By Matt Marn
Full article published at Local Spins

One of the many businesses that call a renovated former piano factory home, Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven prides itself on being a little different.

From the brewery's title to the beer choices it serves, the hot spot puts a unique spin on everything it does, said Reid Warber, bar manager for Odd Side Ales.

And he wouldn't have it any other way.

Read the full Local Spins venue spotlight of Odd Side Ales!