Dinner concerts and more
What brings that scene to mind is the new dinner concert series, Acoustic Routes, at Mangiamo Italian Grill. Located in the newly renovated second floor of 107 W. Michigan, it's an apt venue for folks eager to eat and listen to traditional American music from bluegrass to Irish folk, from Cajun dance sounds to country blues.
The concept for the new monthly dinner concert series came about in an old-fashioned way: folks meeting one another with a good idea and moving forward on a handshake. Jim Cain, by day a public relations manager at GM, is passionate about traditional American music. A local gem, Cain has logged thousands of hours washing dishes and cooking for the homeless; he is also the force behind organizing and producing the BreakFest Benefit Concert at the Ark, an annual event that raises thousands of dollars for the free daily breakfasts served at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor. When Minneapolis-based guitarist (and BreakFest 2014 performer) Dakota Dave Hull contacted Cain back in February saying he would be working his way to Boston in April, he asked Cain if he could help him book a show in the Ann Arbor-Detroit area. None of the venues Cain knew about were available. Cain talked to his old friend, Kirk Weaver. "Kirk is a little like the Mayor of Saline," Cain wrote in a recent email. "He seems to know every restaurateur in town." Over a beer at Mangiamo Italian Grill in downtown Saline, Weaver introduced Cain to Pete Toarmina.