Folk songs right out of Michigan life experiences and the history of the Great Lakes region will be performed by the Blue Water Ramblers as they return to the Box Factory for the Arts on April 23 at 7:30 pm. The Ramblers bring their full quintet of musicians for this appearance.
The audience will be treated to lake shanties, lumberman ballads, union rallying cries, Michigan humor, love songs, gospel and children's ditties. They say they sing the people's songs about the people's lives and invite the audience to join in and sing along.The Blue Water Ramblers have performed at folk festivals and concerts, on paddle wheelers and lake ships, in cities and out in the woods, or wherever people want to celebrate.
Members of the quintet include Jim Foerch on banjo; "Bear" Berends on six and 12 string guitars; Tom DeVries, mandolin; Dan Lynn, bass fiddle; and Marten VanEyk, fiddle. All join in on vocal harmonies.
Jim Foerch picked up his first banjo in 1965 and hasn't put it down since. As a founding member of the regional touring band “Beats Settin' Home,” Banjo-Jim was busy pickin' and singin' all over the Midwest for 20 years between 1982 and 2002.
As with so many baby boomers Bear Behrends started strumming guitar and singing folk songs in high school in the sixties. He joined Banjo-Jim and “Beats Settin' Home” at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan in 1993 and “Da Bearster” hasn't stopped playing and touring since. Whether its a love song or harmonizing with his solid baritone, Bear sculpts the Blue Water Ramblers’ sound.
Tom DeVries has been entertaining all over the Midwest since his early twenties. Between 1979 and 2001 Tom was the front man for the popular Michigan bluegrass band, The Hill People. When asked why he loves picking with the Ramblers these days, he responded, "There's nothing I'd rather do than find a good song, work it up with the boys and deliver it to an enthusiastic audience. And that's what the Ramblers are all about!"
In addition to laying down the foundation of the music, Dan Lynn leads some real crowd-pleasers and harmonizes with a pure tenor voice on the rest. Dan moved to Michigan from California where he played with the “Crooked Jades.” During that time Dan and the Jades evolved from a blue grass band to a free style old time show band. Dan's roots in all that traditional music give the Ramblers a driving honesty which will keep your toes tapping and your fingers snapping.
Many Michigan musicians have fond memories of performing at Mocha 'n' Music, Martin Van Eyk's coffee shop in Hudsonville, where live music was featured six nights a week from 2005 through 2013. Martin kept the music playing and is still keeping the music playing with the Ramblers.
The Boulevard Billies return to the Box Factory for the Arts on April 30 at 7:30 pm with a heapin helpin of light hearted stage humor and their own distinctive acoustic sound.
The Boulevard Billies incorporate elements of various American roots music styles, including classic country, roots-rock, folk and bluegrass highlighting over a century of musical experiences. From bluegrass festivals, breweries, bars, eateries, clubs, theaters and hootenannies, the Billies have been entertaining millions and thrilling bazillions (their numbers) with their music. Join Rusty Hardwater, Dan Geib, and Mark Albers for some good old fashioned toe tapping and feet slapping entertainment.
The Riversong Music Society presents "Girls Night Out" on Saturday, May 14, at 7:30 pm at the Box Factory for the Arts.
This night of musical fellowship features the women of Riversong -- Sandy Feldman, Bev Smith, Marnie Heyn, and Mary Czarnecki. It promises to be as much fun as the concerts in years past when these musicians join together to share songs, harmonies, stories and their experiences as performing members of the acoustic group. They invite the audience to join them for familiar songs, original works and lots of singing along.
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