Teen Acoustic Prodigies, Other Michigan Female Musicians To Tour

Jun 9, 2014

Credit courtesy of The Accidentals

 Ten female musical acts from around the state are hitting the road together in a tour called “Girls With Guitars.” They’ll stop at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo on Thursday.

But if the lineup is anything like the Traverse City duo The Accidentals, maybe they should have called the tour “Girls With Strings.” Between the two of them, Katie Larson and Savannah Buist play guitar, electric bass, upright bass, violin, cello, mandolin, ukulele, accordion, and occasionally the kazoo.

Buist and Larson have been making music together for a little less than three years. But in that time they’ve recorded two albums, had songs in a few commercials, and even did two film scores. Buist says students at Michigan State University used one of their songs for a film called Please Wait To Be Seated.

“There’s like a love montage scene when they’re playing our song called ‘Miso Soup,’ which is about this people who meet and fall in love in the grocery store and it’s really dorky," says Buist. "But the other one that we actually wrote a bunch of parts and scores for was a movie called One Simple Question.”

One Simple Question is a documentary about a couple trying to live the simple life on a sailboat while looking for a North Atlantic iceberg.

Did I mention the duo just graduated high school? Larson says they met at Traverse City West Senior High.

“We kind of volunteered to do a little project to represent our class’s Alternative Styles String Club where we played like Coldplay and like Irish tunes and stuff," says Larson. "Both of us come from musical families and Savannah was in her parents’ band. So our first gig ever was the two of us opening for her parents’ band. And that’s how the two of us got started.”

“Yeah, [Katie] actually came over to my house to work on this classical thing that Katie and I volunteered for and we ended up playing The White Stripes instead," Buist adds. "So we were a band that night and we’ve been a band ever since.”

Katie Larson’s dad, Steve, is also a well-known pianist and accompanist at Interlochen Center for the Arts. A year after Larson and Buist met, they became one of the first students in a new singer/songwriter major at Interlochen. Buist says Michigan has always been a great state for the genre. 

Olivia Mainville describes her sound as gypsy swing
Credit courtesy of Olivia Mainville

“We’ll always be astounded at the huge support for singer/songwriters in Michigan," says Buist.

"It’s crazy and we really owe a lot of our band makeup thanks to this huge fan base and a bunch of people who’ve really been helping us out and supporting us. It’s not just like a fan base, it’s like a family.”

Though mostly acoustic, The Accidentals sound drifts from folk to jazz to rock. And the rest of the Girls With Guitars lineup is just as varied. Olivia Mainville, for example, describes her music as gypsy swing.

“Every one of us plays something…like a totally different genre," says Mainville.

"You know Mariam Pico plays these happy pop songs. E Minor plays these sad songs that are still really good and really slow. Blake Elliot plays like these kind of 50s tunes. The Accidentals play pretty much everything, they’re pretty crazy. So yeah, everything is really diverse and really nice.”