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Music in the Porkies - Day One

PORCUPINE MTN. STATE PARK - The long wait as the gates opened this morning for the 2010 Porcupine Music Festival. The three day festival began with a full day of top notch entertainment. Performing Friday on the two stages were: Seth Bernard & May Erlewine, Dale C. & Rory Miller, Michael “Laughing Fox” Chaette, Dave Boutette, Hymn For Her, Everett Smithson Band, Frontier Ruckus, Jen Sygit , Danny Barnes, Dangermuffin and the 2010 Grammy Winner Buckwheat Zydeco.

The music festival made State history in 2005 by becoming the first music festival to be held in a State Park. The Friends of the Porkies organization presenting the festival, is a nonprofit that represents the interests of all users of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

The Friends of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park have been selected to receive funding from Arts Midwest’s Performing Arts Fund, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation, and Land O’ Lakes Foundation.

The Friends of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, has been awarded a grant of $7,500.00 from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of nearly 173 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2010 funding.


Slide Show

Seth Bernard & May Erlewine
Seth Bernard & May Erlewine began the day's entertainment on the Peace Hill stage. This duo is one of the favorite acts to entertain at the Porkies. They a have a smooth sound and are true folk singers. They will perform once again on Saturday afternoon on the Peace Hill Stage.

Seth Bernard and May Erlewine (singer-songwriter duo) - Two Michigan favorites, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, are well-known to audiences as single acts. Seth grew up surrounded by gardens, goats and stringed instruments just outside Lake City. He traveled around as a storyteller, point guard, sax player or singer/guitar player in bands with names like "Freesoil", "King Lear and the Gothic Monks" or "the Pagoda Trees". Seth recorded his first album at his guitar teacher's home studio. Born into a family of musicians, May Erlewine has been playing music all her life. She paid her singer-songwriter dues in her late teens with several years of hitchhiking back and forth across the U.S., always writing and playing her music. Now with four CDs to her name, May works a variety of venues, focusing on the Midwest and her home state of Michigan. Her inspired lyrics and powerful voice have a sweetness that delights audiences. In 2006 Seth and May released their first duo album, recorded in the historic Calumet Theater. April of 2007, the duo placed third in A Prairie Home Companion People In (their) Twenties Talent Show, out of 740 entries.


Dale C. & Rory Miller
Florida-based Rory Miller plays an original high energy acoustic guitar style. Her voice is powerful and emotive, her lyrics surreal and evocative. Her songs are guaranteed to yank you from your daydreams and find out who is making that beautiful exciting sound. Ontonagon-based Dale C. Miller is a prolific songwriter who plays the guitar as if it were part of him. His songs range from the wacky to the personal, populated by quirky characters and images from daily life. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see this far-flung musical family united on stage.


Michael “Laughing Fox” Charette
Michael “Laughing Fox” Charette performance is very unique. It is very enjoyable and interesting. Michael plays flutes, 10 or 11 of them in fact, all in one performance. Along with the very beautiful sound of his flutes, Michael introduces each of the different flutes and provides a great deal of background for his instruments.

His name is Michael "Scooter" Charette and his spirit name is Bapa Waagash (Laughing Fox)Michael comes from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwa.

Read more: http://www.myspace.com/scooterlaughingfox#ixzz0xsY35OgM

When Michael “Laughing Fox” Charette wants to tell someone he loves them, he doesn't say a word. Instead, he picks up a Native American flute and fills the air with a reedy melody that evokes wind rushing across the marshes or the lilting cry of a bird in flight. In that sound, he says, is all the love and feeling he can find deep within.

Charette's dedication to the traditional flute recently paid off in a Native American Music Award nomination as the 2010 “Flutist of the Year” for his CD, “The Tales of Laughing Fox.” The Nammys, as they are known, were established in 1998 to offer Native American musicians a place to showcase their work and raise public awareness of native music.

For Charette, 32, seeing his name listed as a nominee alongside those of his own music hero, Carlos Nakai, is exciting and humbling. Nammy winners are determined by online voting from the general public through the awards website, with public voting set to begin Sept. 1.


Dave Boutette
Dave Boutette returned to the Porcupine Music Festival once again. Boutette a Michigan resident and he is crowd pleaser. Friday was Dave's only performance at the Porkiefest, so if you missed him Friday that's it until next year.

Boutette has that special intimacy that only comes from sharing firelight is where Dave Boutette shines. Songs of highway hijinks and wildcat oil drillers in the Michigan woods are as likely to be heard as old favorites that have been in your head and heart for years. For Boutette, it’s the sharing of songs that holds all the magic. Whether banging out a set of saloon songs at a Michigan watering hole, or settling back for an evening of singing at a fire ring afterward, Dave Boutette will hold his listeners as long as they keep the lights on or until the rain starts. Stories, advice, observations, or raffles are as apt to appear during a performance as are his songs. Blending many schools of American roots and popular music including folk, blues, swing, and old time country, his songs testify to the power of true love, rebirth, snow plows, and migrating fish. If you get the chance, stand next to Dave. Beside feeling taller than you actually are, you may start to see some things in an entirely new light.


Hymn For Her
For me, the "Hymn For Her" performance was one of my favorites Friday. This duo produces a lot of sound. Although a duo the twosome's music that fills the air as if there were four times as many talented musicians on the stage.

Lucky for me and the Sunday spectators, Hymn For Her will be performing again Sunday on the Singing Hill Stage at 11:15 AM. 

Hymn For Her - The Ramones of bluegrass meet John Wayne and travel across the U.S in a 16 foot 1961  Airstream Bambi playing shows, recording an album in their trailer and filming a movie about the adventure. Throw in a 2-year-old rugrat and a 10-year-old hound dog, a cigar box guitar, a banjo and kick drum and you got yerself some stompgrass.


The Everett Smithson Band
The Everett Smithson Band performance provided the spectators with a really good performance Friday afternoon on Singing Hills Stage. When the music stopped on the Peace Hill Stage, the great sound of the ESB was heard down at the Chalet and it sounded great that far away.

The Band plays an interesting variety of music as well as standards that have a unique spin on them and many delightful originals. Come to any Everett Smithson Band performance and you can count on the band to create a party atmosphere. New Orleans / French Quarter Music is what you will see and hear, Zydeco, Blues, Rockin' Roots, Hillbilly Hoedowns, gospel and more. With the music being very infectious and the playful stage presence, the audience gets connected fast.

Frontier Ruckus
Frontier Ruckus performed on the Peace Stage in the first of two Festival Performances. This very talented group of young Michigan musicians will appear again on Saturday when even more festival goers will be able to hear their exciting music. We will bring IronwoodInfo more video after that performance.

At a young age, the courses of Matthew Milia and David Jones somehow converged within the large and vaguely defined world of Metropolitan Detroit. And from that point on, with merely a banjo and a guitar, they moved forward towards one common creation -something that reflected the very world from which they came with a zeal and vividness afforded only to the young. The singular vision of Frontier Ruckus that modernly exists, growing fuller each day, is eternally rattling with a youthfulness impossible to shed. Unblinking and ferocious in its expression, it spits out with every gasp dusky images of a landscape to which it is inextricably bound. And now, infinitely bolstered by the horns and singing-saw of Zachary Nichols, the harmony vocals and bass of Anna Burch, and the percussion of Ryan Etzcorn, Frontier Ruckus is perched in waiting, prepared to bring to the greater world a new, hollering, unyielding poetry - the voice of memory, desperate and beautiful; the very face of a confused and dissolving locality that one can remember as home.


Jen Sygit
Jen Sygit is another wonderful entertainer from Michigan. Jen will perform again Saturday with Sam Corbin on the Peace Hill Stage. If you missed her great performance Friday you will certainly want to hear  her on Saturday afternoon.

As a child, Jen Sygit gravitated toward musical instruments and within minutes was able to play melodies on them. As early as Elementary school Jen could be found writing love songs on her parents beat-up organ in their basement and by middle school she was composing songs on her acoustic guitar (a gift bought on a whim by her parents - upon which she has never had a lesson). This affinity for music led her parents to encourage Jen to audition for the Interlochen Fine Arts Camp which she attended for several years studying voice, trombone, piano and visual art. Born in Port Huron, MI, Jen spent her childhood years in the nearby town of Marysville, where she lived until 1999 when she moved to Lansing to attend Michigan State University. Jen quickly infiltrated the capital city’s music scene via the area open mics and blues jams. It was at one of these jams that she picked up her first gig as front woman for a blues-rock band called Murdawg and the Lowdown, Dirty Strays. Jen now has three albums under her belt with her latest So Long Pollyanna released on Earthwork Music in May ‘09. Her last release, Leaving Marshall St., was nominated for a Detroit Music Award for Best Acoustic/Folk Album in 2007 and made it to no. 9 on the independent roots music charts that year. The album also landed on a number of ‘Best of’ lists as well. Now, besides regionally touring and playing shows, Jen can also be found hosting the popular weekly open mic at Dagwood Tavern in Lansing. She has been host of the thriving scene for almost five years. Jen is also one fourth of a band called Stella! with Jo Serrapere (former member of Uncle Earl and award-winning songwriter), Tahmineh Gueramy and Katie Grace.


Danny Barnes
Danny Barnes gave a terrific performance Friday. His style and sound of banjo playing iis without a doubt unique and really enjoyable. Regrettably, Friday was Danny's only Festival performance. So, if you missed that performance you will have to wait until...

Barnes is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and genre-bending artists of his craft, Barnes' musical interests are both varied and adventurous, and he incorporates that versatility into a progressive approach to an instrument that is musically polarizing and steeped in tradition. Although he demonstrates an appreciation for the history of the bluegrass, country, and folk music from which the banjo's reputation was born, his inventive take is what truly separates him from his contemporaries...using the banjo as his 'weapon of choice' to play non-traditional music like rock, fusion, and jazz with electronic percussion and loop elements. He has come to redefine the banjo's perceived image in an eclectic career for which genre definitions have merely been a polite suggestion. From his early days as the driving force behind the impressive Austin-based Bad Livers, a band of pioneering Americana missionaries, through a prolific solo career and the development of his trademark 'folkTronics' project, a startling approach that incorporates digital technology and various effect pedals to stretch the tonal range of the instrument, Barnes has always listened to his proudly offbeat inner voice.


Dangermuffin is a great group, they could certainly satisfy most if not all audiences as a single act concert. They are great and they are exciting. They were also a big, big crowd pleaser. Fortunately, they will perform once again on Sunday. They are scheduled to appear on the Peace Hill  Stage at 1:00 PM. You certainly don't want to miss this great group from Charleston.

Sometimes a band sticks in your mind like good batter sticks to your ribs. A memorable name helps, and Dangermuffin is no pushover of a moniker. But it's the round-the-fire looseness, yet still polished groove, that leaves the Charleston-based trio's catchy hooks lingering in our ears. Together just two years, they've toured their raspy Southern style as far as Colorado's Jazz Aspen festival and become Carolina public radio favorites. Dangermuffin is delicious from the first bite, but be certain to give a closer listen to the depth of songwriter Dan Lotti's lyrics.

Buckwheat Zydeco
2010 Grammy Winner Buckwheat Zydeco was of course the main event of the day. How do describe an act that followed a day long marathon of really great entertainment, and then sets itself on an even higher plane? Well, that's exactly what happened Friday at the Music Festival. From the time the gates opened until 7:30 PM, one wonderful act after another gave terrific performances on the two stages. Then, out comes Buckwheat Zydeco who set themselves apart from all other and let's you know from the first few bars of their music, why they won a Grammy.

They were great, they were fantastic they were simply amazing. After enjoying their performance, we can only hope that they will return to Great Porcupine Music Festival, in one of America's Greatest settings, right here in the Porkies.



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