local music

Alex Johnson

In January, the Michigan band Fauxgrass won the Fretboard Festival’s Play-In Contest for acoustic music. That secured them a spot in Saturday's Fretboard Festival lineup, alongside bands like The Red Sea Pedestrians, The Corn Fed Girls, and artists like Megan Dooley. 


The members of the Chicago rock 'n roll band American Grizzly say they don’t really dream of best-selling albums and sold-out concerts. Instead, the band of Western Michigan University grads say their strategy is just to play shows and see what happens. So far, they say, it’s worked. In just a few short years, the band has gradually grown bigger, and now they’re releasing their debut album, funded completely through friends and fans. 


Courtesy Rene Meave

If you head to the lounge at Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek on any weekend night, and you might find a man performing there. He’ll have a mustache, maybe a cowboy hat. And he’ll be strumming away at a guitar. Rene Meave croons away here, singing original songs of heartache and loss. He's put those songs into a new album, Riding Mustangs.


Courtesy Small Brown Bike

The band Small Brown Bike, from Marshall, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a January 29th concert at Bell's Eccentric Cafe. The band has certainly had staying power, but it's also had a winding road, too. The band had plenty of success in punk-rock circles, but after breaking up and reuniting, it hasn't been easy.


Courtesy Jake Simmons Facebook Page

Jake Simmons, of the Kalamazoo band Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts, describes his band's sound pretty simply: straight up rock-and-roll. And Simmons looks the part. Simmons looks the part – when he came into the WMUK studios, he was dressed in a torn-up leather jacket, with diesel oil still splattered on his hands.  It’s a look shaped by a childhood growing up in South Haven, and a blue-collar job working in his dad’s scrapyard.


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