For those of us who like cities, Ann Arbor can sometimes feel too lofty, too sanitized–we miss the crowds, the bustle, the cigarette butts on the sidewalk that shout “urban.”
People like musician Paul Miles, who occasionally performs in the streets here, evoke the tougher texture college towns lack. Miles, an African American with a grizzled chin and broad- brimmed hat, sings and plays a medley of his and others’ songs, and, man, is he good! His song “Blue Collar Man” resonates resignation and yet resilience:“I’m working my fingers to the bone / I’m a blue collar man. . .Let me tell you I’m not about to give in! ”That’s a contrast to a playful piece in which he bellows “Giddyup! Hi ho Silver! / The Lone Ranger, he went into town.”
I bought his CD, Blue Collar Man, but I’m keeping an eye out for him downtown, where his music makes A2 seem bigger than it is.