The Bucktown Ramblers came together in Buchanan, Michigan in 2012, when musicians Trevor Gibney and Mathew Thornton began seeking out a unique sound. They immediately carved out a distinct and energetic brand of Americana, drawing from traditional folk music, blues, and rock and roll.
The duo performed at many Michiana music venues, Trevor on guitar and Mathew on banjo, and began to attract a following of like-minded music lovers. They are both excellent instrumentalists, but most folks feel it is their powerful vocal harmonies that set the group apart right from the start. They are reminiscent of the Avett Brothers or even the Everly Brothers in their tight and explosive harmonies.
Trevor studied music at the famed Berklee School of Music in Massachusetts and has built a career as a music director at the Trinity Church in Granger, He also performs regularly with The Barn Storm, another popular roots group in South Bend. Mathew has had a long and successful career as a composer of commercial and film music, and was a studio musician for many years, recording with groups like The Ides of March, and writing and playing music for Kellogg’s, Ford Motor Company, Gatorade and a long list of advertisers in his Chicago studio.
Will Navalon and Sean Thornton join with the group, bringing viola (Will) and percussion (Sean) to the party. The added musicians helped define the sound, with Celtic, and even classical influences from Will and more modern, hip-hopping backbeats from Sean.
They write their music in a style all their own, blending modern acoustic pop with traditional folk and bluegrass sensibilities. Songs like The Ghost of Where I’ve Been and East of the Moon never fail to turn heads, appealing to the heart and the mind, with spicy lyrics and inventive harmonies over creative chord progressions.
Their shows are upbeat and toe-tapping, with an original Americana sound that blends traditional Irish and Appalachian influences with modern folk and pop rhythms and harmonies.
Singer and songwriter Laura Whidden will perform with the Bucktown Ramblers. She has been compared in style to singers such as Aretha Franklin and Sarah McLaughlin, but she brings her own individual influences to her music. She has been inspired by Sara Barellis, Sara Groves and Ingrid Michaelson and brings a soulful and deep meaning to her lyrics and melodies. She and her family live in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
The Box Factory for the Arts is please to present Neil Jacobs, "World 12-String Guitar", on January 24, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., for a night of masterful 12-string acoustic guitar.
Neil's performances feature music diverse as Gypsy, World, Balkan Folk, Jazz, Classical and Modern Fingerstyle, while transforming his 12-string acoustic guitar into his own personal orchestra. Neil will be touring and promoting his seventh CD release, "The Peasant Sabbatical."
Neil Jacobs, a truly original 12-string guitarist, draws inspiration from world travels and improbable experiences, Neil shares amazing stories and humorous anecdotes while performing breathtaking compositions. Featuring music influenced by travels with the Gypsies of Spain, refugee camps during the Balkan Wars, surreal "cowboy" TV specials in the Soviet Bloc, and Saturday morning “Cartoon Classics”, Neil pushes the limits of this traditional folk instrument while forging Gypsy, Celtic, Balkan, and Classical influences into new American music.
Neil Jacobs is truly a masterful performer on the 12 string acoustic guitar. With his own captivating style of playing that the St. Louis Riverfront Times describes as "mesmerizing" and the Austin Chronicle describes as "the rockin'est since early Leo Kottke". Neil covers the world vibe with music diverse as Gypsy, World, Balkan Folk, Jazz, Classical and Modern Fingerstyle, while transforming his 12-string acoustic guitar into his own personal orchestra.
American folk singer – songwriter Anne HIlls returns to the Box Factory for the Arts on January 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Ilene Weiss and Allen Power will be performing with Hills. Weiss is from Philadelphia and now resides in New York City. A very perceptive writer of songs about romantic irony she has been nominated for a BMI Songwriters Award and two New York Music Awards. Allen Power leads a double life. Based in Rochester, NY, Power is a physician, author, and lecturer on topics related to aging, and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. But Power is also a musician, and although he only tours part-time, his songs and reputation precede him.
Anne has become one of the better known voices of the contemporary folk music scene, receiving awards and recognition for her live performances, her unique solo and collaborative recording projects and her overall artistry and benefit work. Tom Paxton says, “Anne Hills is such an exquisite singer that it’s understandable that people might be swept up in the pure beauty of her voice and thereby overlook her writing. That would be a mistake. For me, Anne’s writing, in songs like “Follow the Road: and many others, is as direct, melodic and deep as any work begin done today. She is quite simply one of my absolute favorite songwriters.”
The ARK Jazz Project is a four piece instrumental group from the southwest Michigan
area featuring Andrew Kolosowsky on Tenor Saxophone, Tim King on Bass, Jim Allen
on Drums, and the newcomer to the band Alex Ispa--Cowen on Guitar.
"Our show is a great mix of Cool Jazz and Bebop with a hint of Latin for flavor"
say's saxophonist Andrew Kolosowsky. Only in the clubs of Chicago do you hear
Jazz like "Midnight Voyage" by Michael Brecker, "Four on Six" by Wes Montgomery
or "Ornithology" by Charlie Parker.
So come on out, relax and enjoy the best Jazz this side of Lake Michigan.
The Box Factory for the Arts welcomes back award-winning Chris Vallillo on Saturday February 14, 2015 at 7:30pm. Vallillo will present, “Oh Freedom, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement” for the first time in Michigan. Vallillo performs pivotal songs from the music that inspired and sustained this landmark movement. Intermixed with the music, Vallillo presents first hand accounts of the historic struggle and discusses the impact of music to our nation’s most important social cause.
Chris Vallillo is a nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter and folk musician who makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song. Having spent the last 30 years in the rural Midwest, he has a natural affinity for American roots music. Performing on six-string and bottleneck slide guitars and harmonica, Vallillo weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs and narratives into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyles of the Midwest. Dirty Linen magazine described the music as, “vivid, original story songs” delivered with an “eye for detail and a sense of history” while Folk Wax Magazine Editor, Arthur Wood said “Vallillo's guitar playing flows like warm honey and is a true aural delight.”
For Chris, a good song is as much a work of art as any painting or sculpture. His music has a timeless quality about it, with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Perhaps the archaeology degree Vallillo earned at Beloit College (BA Anthropology, 1976) helped him see the important little details of life which imbue his songs with a sense of history. His prairie poet style has been compared to Edgar Lee Masters and Vachel Lindsay and you can hear the strains of the Carter Family and Jimmy Rogers reflected in his writing. Its roots based original and contemporary folk with the rich acoustic textures of bottleneck slide, finger style and flat picked guitars that echo the influences of Mississippi John Hurt, Norman Blake, Doc Watson and John Fahey.
Danny Dine and Phil Anderson combine their love of acoustic rock of the sixties and seventies into a harmony filled show. Playing favorites of the era such as the Beatles, Crosby Stills and Nash, James Taylor and others, they lend their own distinct sound to those, as well as playing many original songs of their own.
Danny is a well-known regional musician and currently is the lead guitarist for the Luna Madre band, as well as the Sypian family band. Danny is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, piano, bass, ukulele, and almost any instrument he can get his hands on. Danny’s brilliant guitar work has been compared to that of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Phil is enjoying a rebirth of sorts in the music world, with much past experience in bands and solo work, has been a fixture at many of the open mike stages throughout our area. His vocal style has often been compared to James Taylor. Expect a nice blend of harmonies and some tasty guitar work from these two. Danny and Phil will be joined for a few songs by their friend Sarah Carlson, a very talented piano/vocalist with whom they have collaborated.
In 2013 East North Carolina met West Michigan to form a new music group, Frederic and Ronza. This husband and wife duo are singers, songwriters, and musicians who perform with passion and skill and span many genres to reach a wide audience. With a soulful sound that ranges from Rhythm and Blues to Country, their unique style touches hearts, and the lyrics come to life in a remarkable way.
Some of their influences include: Marvin Gaye and Tammie Terrell, Lady Antebellum, John Legend, and the Carpenters. Frederic and Ronza also create songs of their own, and in 2013 they were finalists in the Acorn Theatre singer-songwriter contest.
This is what fans say: "Love the strong harmonies”; “Refreshing talent”; “Great performers”; “Incredibly moving and special performance".
In addition to Frederic and Ronza, the audience will be treated to an opening performance by Livia Gazzolo, a very talented young singer from Southwest Michigan. Livia has the voice of an angel and a repertoire that includes pop, jazz, and show tunes. Livia will be accompanied by Tim Giessner, an outstanding young local pianist.
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