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Home > Magazine > Music
Hot Home Stereo Speaker Tip!
January 28, 2013 - ...Make sure your speakers are off the floor. Put em up on little wood blocks if need be. Small, pointy blocks are best -- they make music stands for the purpose. Man, we just elevated our speakers and it makes a BIG difference! ...More resonant bass and 'brighter' mid-tones. Nice! (And easy. And cheap.) (I also hear...
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Super Stereo Repair Tip! --Fix Your Blown Speakers
January 28, 2013 - Don't throw away your old blown speakers. Revive 'em! You can get confused with all the widely differing how-to out there. Also the parts sources can give interesting price ranges for what you're after. Typically, you'll have rotted/missing/torn foam surrounds around the cones. And the cones might be torn. And the dust caps...
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Holler Fest: SE MI's Only Farm Folk Fest, Aug 24-26
August 14, 2012 - Rural and northwoods areas have quite a few folkfests steadily thru the summer. But SE Michigan has just the Holler Fest. If you live down here, check it out! Also, sometimes it seems like folk fests emphasize out of towners, world music and exotic folk action. Which is great. Holler Fest is more of a gathering of local/regiona...
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Water Hill Music Fest: a Neighborhood Party
May 07, 2012 - It's only the 2nd year but it's already blown up. I guess that's what blowing up means. A chunk of the Old West Side neighborhood of Ann Arbor thought it would be fun to all go out on their porches and play music some Spring Sunday and so that's what they did. People play music already, and hang out on porches. But this was to be...
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Frank Allison Documentary: Funnest Michigan Band
January 29, 2012 - I've posted stuff about Frank here before, but it was with a post about Goober, so here he is on his own now, sheesh. Frank Allison and the Odd Sox was the funnest band ever. They were based out of Ann Arbor in the 1990's and they drew weekly crowds for about a decade, until Frank's vocal cords got injured (same as Diane Rehm...
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Weird Fun Music, Michigan-Style
January 29, 2012 - If you like weird Michigan music (synonymous?) you gotta check out the YouTubes (and CDs) that I've linked to here before. No, Michigan isn't weird, it's special. Bold and distinctive. Doesn't mind being funny. I won't link to 'em again because I see they're still there down below, but here's a quick runthrough of some ba...
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Great Old Unknown Band: THE FUGS
March 22, 2011 - ...Unknown to me, anyway. OK, "lesser known" might've been more fitting, but unless you're hip this band is basically off the radar. A young member of our "life studies" meetings recently turned me on to them. His dad was into them. Then we found out that our group host Ron Puhek also appreciated them, had an old album. Those t...
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"Yukon Women" & More: fun Alaska songs!
February 07, 2011 - Once upon a time I visited Alaska and someone there gave me a tape of a record called "Alaska Hit Singles." My tape is totally stretched now. Or something. All our players in the house are dead. But thank heavens one of the tunes is on YouTube. I've recently ordered the record...from Germany, it looks like. Hasn't arrived. I...
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Ragamuffins at the Hollerfest!
August 24, 2010 - I really enjoyed discovering these youngsters and their music last weekend. I'd wondered about them as they wandered the grounds with their pitbulls during the day, but they sprang to life as soon as the lights went out on the official show. It was fun staying up late around the bonfires. There were two fires. One ragamuffin, the...
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The Singersongwriter Bonfire: Afterhours at Hollerfest
August 24, 2010 - There were two bonfires after the lights went out at Hollerfest. Both had great music spark up around 'em. At the singersongwriter fire the fire was hardly alive but the music was fine. It was hard to see much, so my vid comes only in basic black. I blinded everyone with a couple flashes, so I merged in the pics to show where w...
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Hollerfest 2010: My Personal Highlights
August 23, 2010 - Hollerfest is always a relaxing weekend where I learn some new things. Ya never can tell beforehand, though, which makes it fun that way. The event, as I've posted before, is a Jackson-area weekend of music, food and related Frog Holler farm activities, like hilltop yoga in the mornings. The food is always a nice big aspect ...
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Hollerfest this Weekend! --SE Michigan's FarmFolkFest!
August 18, 2010 - If you live in SE Michigan, you gotta get over to Hollerfest this weekend! There's just something about it. Like, maybe, it's great? We'll be there. It's at Frog Holler, Michigan's first organic farm (I think). It's smallish, at like 500 folks (just guessin). No wristbands (thank heavens!). One main stage in a natural am...
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Songs of the Outdoor Life?
July 26, 2010 - Anyone know any good songs or singers of the Outdoor Life? I'm thinking of... *two-tracks ("Seasonal Road, Unplowed") *bike riding ("King of the Big Ring... off the front!") *xc skiing *vintage travel trailers ("It's a Mighty Rig...") *kayaking, canoeing, small boats of any kind... Any variations or similar them...
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Mr. B's Joybox Express: a PIANO band *bikes* across Michigan!
July 02, 2010 - From Mr. B's Facebook page: "You gotta see this! ... On July 2, 2010 four musicians begin a 2 week tour across the State of Michigan on bicycles. They will ride from Saugatuck to Detroit (300 miles), hauling their instruments with them: string bass, a drum set, a guitar, and a 352-pound piano! The Joybox Express Quartet wi...
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A Decent "Best Song" List
May 31, 2010 - Another "500 top songs of all time" list just out from Rolling Stone: Why just rock? I suppose because it's from RS we can just assume. But what about Standards, Folk-tunes, Blues, Country, Hymns? They're songs. They're even Pop. As types they should go head to head with Rock. (And, of course, we're assuming "...in English" with ...
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Your Soundtrack to Xmas?
December 15, 2009 - Here's our favorites for this time of year: Christmas music from: *Etta James *Chet Atkins *Johnny Mathis *Bruce Cockburn *Vince Guaraldi *King's College Choir "Festival of Nine Lessons" -- Carols and Readings, boy sopranos included, since 1918, live recording of the BBC's annual Christmas Eve broadcast. So, if w...
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Contra Dance: Dance with Everyone!
December 04, 2009 - I'm sure glad that I bumped into the Contra scene back in the early 80's, basically as soon as I was old enough to appreciate it on my own. But we can all use a little help from time to time, so maybe this note will help you shorten your time-to-contact with this classically-radical social form! Contra dancing means live musi...
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Dan Reeder: Music Tip from an OYB Reader
October 20, 2009 - A longtime OYB reader sent in a music tip recommending that folks check out Dan Reeder. He's a rough, candid musician who does songs that candid-type folks seem to relate to. He's nervy but not holier-than-thou. He sent in his record to John Prine, who signed him. It usually doesn't work out that way, I gather. Read Article | Go to Website

A Hard-hooking Song from One Tough Gal...
September 18, 2009 - I went to a great farm folk fest this summer, HollerFest, the only one in lower Michigan. I heard a song in a cabin there that slayed me. I've since learned that it was "Fruits of My Labor," a deep-swinging Lucinda Williams rough, tough sensuously biblical soulfest. What I saw in that cabin was as good as anything, but you can ...
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Musical Bike Tour Visits Lansing
September 08, 2009 - Singer/songwriter Peter Mulvey is playing at Old Town Lansing's cozy Creole Gallery this Friday, Sept. 11, at 8pm. But he's arriving by bicycle all the way from Milwaukee! Bikes seem to be going with music more often all the time these days. From Peter's website: "From September 9-26, Milwaukee-based, internationa...
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HollerFest 2009 Report
August 26, 2009 - UPDATE: I set up a Facebook Group so that anyone can upload pics, vids, etc., of this year's event. I put up a few already. www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118566522935 Dang, this HollerFest just keeps getting better. Or maybe it's just tha...
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Holler Fest!
August 21, 2009 - [BUMPED FROM 2008] Update 2009: It's the Holler Fest weekend time of year again! I should've put up a notice sooner. Sorry! But for community music fun this is the place to be for SE Michiganders! Aug. 21-23. I'll have an OYB table AND Lazygal table. More at hollerfest.com. ...
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Sweet New Songs, Thanks to Pandora.com
October 10, 2008 - I've mentioned Madeleine Peyroux here before, I think. She's a new Billy Holiday. Oh yeah, she's good! Bluesy, torchy, quirky. French. Well, I just heard on Pandora.com a super-duper song with OYB at its core: "Back in Your Own Back Yard." Here's a "free radio" site that offers direct links to songs. Gotta register after a couple...
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"There weren't no depression, we always lived that way."
September 22, 2008 - In this day of economic trouble, recession and the like, I bump up my post promoting this song from the great roots music band, Dread Clampitt, and offer a tribute to the song "Granny Brown." Balder Saunders is in this band (cd for sale here in Products > Music). He's the son of Jack, a hero writer of mine (novel for sale h...
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Backwoods Song: "Billy from the Hills," Greg Brown
September 20, 2008 - Whoa, here's a song with some nifty backwoods lyrics, to give you a shiver, with some realistic content not usually in songs today. Greg Brown is one a them fine singersongwriters who has a strong feel for upnorth Michigan. Keep an eye on him. This song has come up for us a couple times now on Pandora. Open a "Greg Brown"...
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Pandora Rocks!
September 05, 2008 - I know I'm behind the times and this is lame geek stuff, but DANG, Pandora.com rocks! Actually, it's all relative. Some folks out there who don't know Pandora might now find out! It's free. I wired it into our home stereo. I've made a dozen of my own radio stations on it. Then I pick QuickMix and the thing does random ...
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A Rural Folk Fest for Lower Michigan!
August 16, 2008 - It's this weekend! Frog Holler is a venerable old family hippy farm commune organic hang-out in the lush green hills east of Jackson, MI. I suppose that not many of the 70's era farms are still around. This one is! And it's been going strong and steady the whole time, as far as I know. I'm always hearing about it in one way...
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Flight of Conchords: a lot like breakthru ULA zeen novel!
July 25, 2008 - The hip new HBO TV series, "The Flight of the Conchords," is pretty darn funny. It's a show in the flat-affect stupid vein of "The Office"---which came from Seinfeld and movies like, well, everything that Apa-dude makes and flicks like "Office Space." The twist here is that it's about a ne'er-do-well 2-man rock band that plays m...
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Billy Holiday isn't gone: meet Madeleine Peyroux
July 03, 2008 - ...And Billy, in her new guise, has even kept up with the times. I first found out about MP after being charmed by the wild Amy Winehouse. I saw an online mention that if you think AW can sing, try MP. Or, if you think AW has a desperate, edgy Billy quality, try MP. So I tried MP. Wow! What a singer. She does new stuff ...
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The Blue Sun: blues with Guthrie/Kerouac twist
May 08, 2008 - Welcome to "The Blue Sun"! Here's new music. Available only thru me! It's original American music the likes of which you haven't heard before but which will add to your life. Rich, twangy swamp blues with worldclass lyrics. The better stereo the better these songs will sound. You can buy downloads for ...
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Time Travel with this wacky CD from the Ligon Brothers
February 11, 2008 - This is a story with some background. For the past few years, we've been going to a retro music event in Chicago around Xmas-time called Chris & Heather's Country Calendar Show and Record Roundup. Heather McAdams is a famous indy cartoonist who sketches a cartoon calendar every year of classic country stars and hosts this...
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Frank Allison & Goober: Dance-crazy Roots Music of the 90's
December 12, 2007 - In the 1980's-90's Ann Arbor had the rock-steady sensation of "Frank Allison & the Odd Sox." Frank wrote boppy, bouncy, cheery-yet-still-gritty songs about bluecollar life and a few times a week around the region he and his band would play and a hundred fans would show up and get sweaty for a couple hours. Perhaps a teeny bi...
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Astounding Vintage Dance: Over the Top
December 08, 2007 - While netsurfing yesterday I bumped into a YouTube dance vid. One thing led to another and I ended up blown away. Check out this little look into the past of social dancing. I related to these vids for obvious reasons but also because on the desolate lake near our house there used to be a dance hall that all the great swing b...
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Dave Davis: Soulful, bluesy bluegrass
October 28, 2007 - I gotta get something up about this guy and his gang. How many bluegrassers out there are tenors and you can say that they're bluesy and soulful? David Davis and the Warrior River Boys are unique bluegrass. Very smoky. Bluesy, soulful---yet they harmonize like the sweetest of bluegrassers. Davis is out of Alabam...
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Folk Music Festivals Rock!
September 26, 2007 - OK, they don't rock. What is rock, anyway? Isn't rock a slightly aggressive, seductive sound that comes from an alienated working class, right? It's not family music. Maybe the larger part of the alienation is the segregation of puberty and pre-marriage mating rituals. Which is fine...if and when it works for you...watch out fo...
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Hot Tip: "Daisy May" -- folk'n'country gal as good as Norah Jones
January 20, 2007 - C'mon, someone check out Daisy May Erlewine and let me know what you think. A Norah tune came up after a Daisy song on our random play and Daisy's cut held its own: They have similar vibes and equal talent. So if you find the idea of a little Norah plus a country slide guitar to be even remotely of interest, check out this fresh,...
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EarthWork Music: a happenin' new label...in northwoods Michihoots
May 23, 2006 - To me there seems to have been a lull in indy music. I know, I'm just an old out-of-it fart. But it seems like we had a big indy boom, then house/hiphop, then a strong new push in alt.country.punk (from Chicago) and then a tiny lull. Now I see funky roots hippy bluegrass coming on strong. ...And right here in Michigan! Of course all ...
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Heywood Banks: Good, Clean, Insane Comedy
January 15, 2006 - Comedy is hard for anyone to do, but you're basically raising the bar on yourself as a comedian if your work isn't blue or political. All that has its place, but fans can include the whole family with an "all-rounder" kind of humorist like Heywood Banks! Last summer friends of ours were strolling their remote rustic burg in th...
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Robbie Fulks: wild, pro, high-end country-punk
January 14, 2006 - I've seen Robbie Fulks play a couple times now and have heard his songs and CDs a bunch. He's a tall, rangy fellow. Seems kinda normal when you first see him. But then he just goes nuts on stage. He plays hard-rockin' hillbilly music that looks like it's almost breaking the instruments and his body apart. It's like he thinks he's...
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OYB Music Samples---click'n'play!
August 24, 2005 - To hear Slim McElderry's "The Blue Sun" just click this sample. To hear other samples, keep clicking... Richard Dobson's "Roughneck Occupation" sample Dobson's "Ballad of Robin W...
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True-blue Bluegrass
February 11, 2005 - David Davis and the Warrior River Boys is a traditional, hard-driving bluegrass band from Alabama. We and our friends always see this band when they're in town—and once a year they do drive up from way down South for a quick weekend show. That's the kind of driving they do. If you like beautiful playing, wonderful harmon...
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A Singing Festival for Everyone!
February 02, 2005 - Sally Potter (no relation -- or...?) and friends came up with coolest of events a couple years ago and it just took off like gangbusters. It's the first in the land. But it has already inspired many others. Lansing has a great folk music scene---one of the best in the US. Probably thanks mostly to the presence of the biggest ...
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Smoky, Bluesy Bluegrass
November 13, 2004 - Here's your deep, slow-living swamp music. Well, it does go fast sometimes, but it's all about soul. It's BBQ-behind-the-doublewide bluegrass---not the matching outfits kind. It's the roots reggae funky kind. "Dread Clampitt" plays the Panhandle of Florida mostly, with festivals and touring. This band has national award w...
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Best kid's music ever!
November 12, 2004 - Great for adults, too! The Bottle Let Me Down is a compilation CD of raucous, classic, freespirited kid's tunes from Bloodshot Records (Chicago folks who launch...
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Great new old music: Gram Parsons
November 12, 2004 - All the American Roots music insiders know this guy. Some of his songs were ol' faves of mine, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I really discovered him. Same with Martha. She now has a crush on him like so many ladies did in the 60's. GP is the guy who combined Rock and Country (plus Soul and Gospel). He called it Ameri...
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The Nuge pays his respects...
November 12, 2004 - People like to make fun of Ted Nugent---and he is a funny guy. But he does a wide range of outdoorsy, populist things and I give him props for that. What I like most is that he made his big mid-90's comeback with this album, "Spirit of the Wild." This is when he really came out publicly as a bowhunter with the song Read Article

Texas singer songerwriters kick butt
November 12, 2004 - Music discovery... Last year I discovered Guy Clark's combo CD Old No. 1 & Texas Cookin'. Hoo-doggie. That's some FINE music. (Click name above to order.) He's the country singer/songwriter who can take any amount of critical sc...
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Heavy Metal Edmund Fitzgerald?
November 11, 2004 - Here's a unique version of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". It offers Michigan style blended with...Elizabethan Goth metal. Our kids like it. Me, too.
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Postscript: Bluegrass Serendipity Up North
February 05, 2004 - An interesting postscript to our trip down south, where we got to meet Balder Saunders, is that a couple weeks after we got home, I got an email from Jack saying that his other boy, Owen, would be here in Detroit playing bluegrass the next day. I'd never met Owen, but I'd read about him in Jack's novels, just as I'd read abou...
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The first time we heard Owen play...
February 05, 2003 - We hear Owen Saunders play fiddle up here in Michigan! A postscript to our southern trip: Hardcore rural bluegrass, and yet another new scene.... Here's a link to my story on the experience: outyourbackdoor.com/articles2002/owen.html Here's the ...
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