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Nightspots

Ark

316 S. Main [map]
761-1451
theark.org

Michigan's leading showcase for American and international performers of all forms of traditional and roots music and contemporary songwriting. Shows almost every night at 8 p.m. Mon.- Sat., & 7:30 p.m. Sun., unless otherwise noted. Tickets are sold in advance at the Michigan Union Ticket Office and TheArk.org, and at the door. Note: Proof of vaccination and masks required.

 
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January 4: Albert Lee

A veteran English electric guitar virtuoso whom Eric Clapton calls "the greatest guitarist in the world," Lee is a master of just about every style of Anglo-American vernacular music, but he is best known for his influence on country guitarists, both from his stints in the bands of Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, and the Everly Brothers and from his own "Country Boy," which helped redefine country guitar.

January 5: Open Stage

All acoustic performers invited. Fifteen acts are selected randomly from those who sign up (doors open 7:30 p.m.) to perform 8 minutes (or 2 songs) each. The most talented and popular Open Stage performers are offered their own evenings at the Ark. $3 (members, seniors, & students, $2).

January 7: Jorma Kaukonen

A founding member of Jefferson Airplane and a leader of the early 70s progressive blues band Hot Tuna, Kaukonen is a brilliant guitarist whose playing blends the fingerpicking style of Piedmont blues master Reverend Gary Davis with the deep resonance of the Delta blues. His 2002 CD Blue Country Heart added old-time country classics from the 20s and 30s to his repertoire, and his recent CD, Ain't in No Hurry, features a lost Woody Guthrie lyric set to music by Kaukonen and producer Larry Campbell as well as a killer version of the standard "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." "Kaukonen's voice is a ticket to the rural past, his relaxed phrases making the most of an expressive, tight range and dust-coated tone," says Boston Phoenix reviewer Ted Drozdowski. $40.

January 8: The Yellow Room Gang

In-the-round performances by this group of 8 award-winning veteran Michigan songwriters who get together regularly to share their new work. Members are David Barrett, Jim Bizer, Annie Capps, Kitty Donohoe, Jan Krist, Matt Watroba, and Michael Hough & David Tamulevich of the local duo Mustard's Retreat. The Yellow Room Gang's eponymous compilation CD features new and older songs by each artist. $20.

January 9: Drew Nelson

Grand Rapids-based Americana roots-rock singer-songwriter, a Navy veteran, fly fisherman, and world traveler whose CD Tilt-a-Whirl, released on the durable folk label Red House, drew praise from AllMusic reviewer James Allen for its thoughtful lyrics. $20.

January 11: Oliver Wood Trio

Rootsy blend of blues, folk, gospel and rock by this ensemble led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Wood. $22.

January 12: Skerryvore

This Scottish Celtic pop-rock band formed as a quartet on the Scottish Isle of Tiree in 2005. Since then they've grown to an octet, released several albums, and won some prestigious awards. They blend their traditional roots with influences from country to Cajun. $22.

January 14: The Sweet Remains

This trio of charismatic singer-songwriters Rich Price, Greg Naughton, and Brian Chartrand formed a band in 2008 when they met for a chance jam session in a Rhode Island hotel room. According to a Boston Herald review, "it's been a long time since three-part harmonies this lush were yoked to songs this melodically gorgeous." Having lately released a song each month, they come to the Ark with new music. $20.

January 14: The Sweet Remains

This trio of charismatic singer-songwriters Rich Price, Greg Naughton, and Brian Chartrand formed a band in 2008 when they met for a chance jam session in a Rhode Island hotel room. According to a Boston Herald review, "it's been a long time since three- part harmonies this lush were yoked to songs this melodically gorgeous." Having lately released a song each month, they come to the Ark with new music. $20.

January 15: "Jill Jack's Birthday Bash"

Jack is a sultry-voiced Detroit folk-rock singer-songwriter whose music also draws freely on jazz and country flavors. Jack's 2005 CD Moon and the Morning After won a Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Folk Recording, and her annual birthday shows have amassed a strong following. $20.

January 16: Ellis Paul

Acclaimed Boston-based singer-songwriter from Maine who writes vividly figured, quietly thoughtful songs blending personal and political themes that he sings in what the All Music Guide aptly calls a "dynamic silken tenor." The New York Times opines that "despite his success and sense of history, Mr. Paul remains an artist with his eye on the future and an interest in discovering the transformative potential in his music." $20.

January 18: G. Love & the Juice

G. Love is singer-songwriter Garrett Dutton, frontman for G. Love & the Special Sauce, a Philadelphia trio that for almost 30 years has been purveying an original music that's a loose, spontaneous mix of sounds that treated the conventions of hip-hop, R&B, grunge, and assorted other old and new sounds with an effortless sense of fun with total creative freedom. His new band is quartet of Philadelphia all-stars whose repertoire includes Special Sauce favorites, improvisational jams, and low-down dirty blues. $35.

January 19: Open Stage

All acoustic performers invited. Fifteen acts are selected randomly from those who sign up (doors open 7:30 p.m.) to perform 8 minutes (or 2 songs) each. The most talented and popular Open Stage performers are offered their own evenings at the Ark. $3 (members, seniors, & students, $2).

January 22: The RFD Boys

Authentic bluegrass by these longtime local favorites who have appeared in numerous festivals and on the cover of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Their shows blend top-notch musicianship with funny between-songs dialogue. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2019 by adding a new guitarist-mandolinist, Dan Roehrig, and releasing the album Still Delivering. $11 at the door only.

February 5: Mustard's Retreat

Livestreamed at facebook.com/TheArkAnnArbor. With the relocation of Michael Hough to Arizona, cofounder David Tamulevich is rejoined by Libby Glover, an original member of Mustard's Retreat when it started out as a trio in the 1970s. Their repertoire includes traditional songs and Tamulevich originals. Free.

February 9: Open Stage

All acoustic performers invited. Fifteen acts are selected randomly from those who sign up (doors open 7:30 p.m.) to perform 8 minutes (or 2 songs) each. The most talented and popular Open Stage performers are offered their own evenings at the Ark. $3 (members, seniors, & students, $2).

February 10: Corn Potato String Band

Traditional Appalachian folk music by this Detroit-based acoustic trio. Its repertoire ranges from ballads and Southern gospel to "ho- downs" and country rags. $20.

February 11: Heywood Banks

Heywood Banks is the stage name of Howell native Stuart Mitchell, a very animated comedian known for his silly musical spoofs, goofy prop humor, and sight gags. Since adopting the nerdy, quietly psychotic Banks persona in the mid-80s, he has risen from a regional favorite to a national star. He's a longtime local favorite. $25.

February 12: Langhorne Slim

Bluegrass-tinged folk-rock by this veteran Nashville-based singer- songwriter. His latest CD, Strawberry Mansion, is a collection of emotionally tumultuous songs exploring his private struggles with anxiety and addiction. $25.

February 13: "My Folky Valentine."

In celebration of romance, the veteran Chelsea-based wife-and- husband folk-rock duo Annie & Rod Capps host other Michigan musical couples TBA. $20.

February 16: Open Stage

All acoustic performers invited. Fifteen acts are selected randomly from those who sign up (doors open 7:30 p.m.) to perform 8 minutes (or 2 songs) each. The most talented and popular Open Stage performers are offered their own evenings at the Ark. $3 (members, seniors, & students, $2).

February 18: John McCutcheon

A longtime favorite with local audiences, McCutcheon is a hammered-dulcimer virtuoso whose repertoire features all forms of Appalachian music, from Sacred Harp songs and traditional ballads to buoyant hoedowns, contemporary songs, and originals, including a series of labor union songs for kids. Called by Frets magazine "the most versatile and energetic figure in the American traditional revival," McCutcheon also plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, and autoharp, and he's a witty, charming performer. $25.

February 19: Peter Mulvey

Highly regarded folkie singer-songwriter from Milwaukee who is known for his complex guitar work, expressively playful vocals, and dark, vividly rendered lyrics. His 2019 album Fool's Errand is a contemplative, self-consciously literary collection marked by what a Shepherd Express reviewer calls "ruminative lyrics that come off primarily as self-talk to nurture a wounded soul," says a Shepherd Express review. Opener: SistaStrings, a classically trained Milwaukee-based sister duo whose gospel-flavored R&B is embedded in the lush harmonies of their violin and cello accompaniment. $20.

February 20: Bettye LaVette

Veteran Detroit R&B and soul singer with a tough, feisty, passionate vocal style. Rolling Stone's Joe Levy calls her 2018 album of Bob Dylan covers "remarkable" and "full of grit, brass, and soul." $40.

February 22: Marielle Kraft

Nashville-based indie pop singer-songwriter, originally from Rhode Island, who won the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Singer-Songwriter Competition. Free; nonperishables for Food Gatherers accepted.

February 24: Enter the Haggis

Popular Toronto quintet whose music is a rousing, raucous blend of Scottish and Canadian Celtic music (and Scottish and Canadian musicians) with rock, bluegrass, Caribbean, and world music. Instrumentation includes fiddle, bagpipes, tin whistle, guitars, keyboards, and drums. $20.

February 28: Allison Russell

A former member of the Canadian alt-folk quartet Po' Girl and a current member of the all-star collective Our Native Daughters, Russell is a highly regarded singer-songwriter whose 2021 solo debut, Outside Child, is a widely acclaimed collection of songs exploring her experiences during her youth and her recovery from the trauma of childhood abuse. . Opener: SistaStrings, a classically trained Milwaukee-based sister duo whose gospel- flavored R&B is embedded in the lush harmonies of their violin and cello accompaniment. $20.

February 28: John Moreland

Alt-country Americana singer-songwriter from Tulsa known for what New York Times critic Jon Caramanica called his "beautifully abraded voice, full of potholes and gravel," along with his sparsely acoustic style and lyrics about heartbreak, loneliness, and love. Opener: Will Johnson, an Austin-based folk-rock singer- songwriter who was a member of the all-star quartet Monsters of Folk. $20.




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