Local Lansing folk will probably be hip to this now, but GTG is more-or-less booking and promoting the majority of the music at The Avenue Cafe these days. Here’s what we’ve got for the whole month of August:
That’s a good run there, eh? We’ve got the first full-length show by The Wild Honey Collective, the first public Lansing shows from Cavalcade and The Plurals in at least 18 months, a record release by the Cartridge Family(?!?!??), GTG Fest familiars like The Ryne Experience, LVRS, and Marsha, Mike Reed from Small Brown Bike… great stuff all around!
Shows are getting to be a little more commonplace – on top of the above listed we’ve got The Plurals playing Taste of Michigan City (Michigan City, IN) the afternoon of August 7, The Wild Honey Collective play from 5-9 at the Beer Garden at Horrocks Farm Market in Lansing on August 21 as well as an afternoon slot at Sundried Music Fest in Mason on August 28, and then The Stick Arounds take the Horrocks stage themselves on August 28 too. All of these events are free and promise great times. We need ’em! Stay safe out there everyone, masks are still a good thing!
The Wild Honey Collective is very much a product of the events of 2020 – without any shows to play or go to and missing the spirit of an active band, GTG originators and Drinking Mercury bandmates Tommy McCord (Plural, etc) and Timmy Rodriguez (Sleeping, etc), joined with DanielleGyger (who had contributed harmony vocals to the last few Drinking Mercury releases) in June 2020 to play some acoustic music on a back porch in Ionia, MI. Dan O’Brien (multi-instrumentalist and a former bandmate of Timmy’s) joined the group a few weeks later and very quickly we began building an extensive catalog of music ranging from folk traditionals, original songs, and songs written by friends. An appreciation for classic country music and early country rock had been rising amongst the individual musicians for the last few years, and with Danielle’s lifelong association with the legendary Wheatland Music Festival came a catalog of traditional songs (both vocal and fiddle-led) that were made for these back porch sessions. This bridging of musical styles modern and traditional dramatically helped fill the void of a concert-less summer, played outdoors for only the crickets to hear (or possibly Tommy’s dad who developed a reputation as a conspicuous eavesdropper on these practices).
As the summer ended and COVID-19 cases began rising in Michigan again – and thus, no shows anywhere in sight – we shifted our focus to making an album through a series of socially distanced recordings and file sharing to capture the spirit and friendship of a musical collective. And it is a collective! In addition to the core band members the album features contributions from acclaimed pedal steel guitarist Drew Howard, drummer Dave Shilakes (Small Parks, Gumsmack), singer Alyson Rodriguez, pianist John Gyger, Tommy and Timmy’s Drinking Mercury bandmate Michael Boyes (who took the original photo featured on the cover and the band also does a rendition of one of his songs), Crooked Sound/ Calliope/ Sexy Murders songwriter Eric Merckling, and the rhythm section of The Plurals, drummer Hattie Danby and bassist Nicholas Richard. It’s a new year, but the pandemic isn’t over, and to help get this winter over with a bit sooner we’re releasing the album right now for everyone to listen to. Thanks for being along for the ride, and bring on 2021!