The Year in Music 2018

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , National Music,   From Issue 872   By: Robert Martin and Matt deHeus

20th December, 2018     0

Greta Van Fleet. Without doubt, the biggest story on the local music scene was also the biggest sensation on the national and international stage, with the unprecedented success of Frankenmuth’s one and only Greta Van Fleet, who started the year performing at Elton John’s Oscar Party and ended it with sold out tours, a number one debut full-album release, and 4 Grammy nominations.

Despite critics and naysayers panning our hometown heroes first full length album for being second-hand Zeppelin in a manner reminiscent of the way Zeppelin ripped off the great Blues artists, GVF's new release topped the charts in its opening week.   In a now-infamous pan of Led Zep's debut back in 1969, Rolling Stone magazine  slammed guitarist Jimmy Page as a “very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs.” Decades later, RS named Led Zeppelin the 29th-greatest album of all time. When Zep III was released, RS accused them of ripping off Crosby Stills Nash & Young because of all the acoustic songs.  Sound familiar?

2018 Winner for Female Jazz Vocalist of the Year, Monique Ella Rose, continued her winning streak with the release of her first solo album., “Such Is Life.”  Rose launched the album at a highly successful show that the Temple Theater and followed that with live appearances across the Midwest, as she introduced her style of smooth soul music to a broader audience. With a vacuum created this year by the passing of such homegrown talents as Aretha Franklin, Monique is treasured talent and a fitting candidate to fill that role in the world of R&B as her career progresses in the new year.

Ron “Rosco” Selley continued to add to his catalog of recorded work with the F.O.R. Collective Project.  Consisting of a host of original tunes penned by Selley for an All Star cast of vocalists, the album is a strong reflection of the breadth of talent currently active in the area.

• 2018’s Country Kings, Kin Faux, released the eponymous EP.  The six-song set has been well received by their growing fan base.  The band has followed up the release with a busy touring schedule, taking them to bar rooms from Pennsylvania to Texas and back again.

• Long time front man, Brian Carson, released his first solo album, Big Dog Days.  The album is filled with uplifting original rockers that feature Carson’s powerful vocal style.  You can catch some of these songs with his new band Peacemaker, which is now being booked in the around the area.

• Metal outfit Here After Six has been on a roll for the last couple years, placing in the Next 2 Rock contest both in 2017 and 2018.  With the release of their initial EP and plans to follow up with more recordings, the band has staked out a formidable presence in the region’s hard rock scene.

• Veteran singer-songwriter Michael Robertson released his second solo album, Moon Over Michigan.  The EP picks up where All My Stories left off, with more classic Robertson penned tunes being performed by some of the classiest musicians currently performing in the area.

Play To The Gallery, featured at the 2018 Awards show, released its first studio project.  Recorded at Fire Hyena studios, the band takes art rock and visual performance to a new level.

• Local producer / studio whiz Andy Reed delivered a set of new tunes with his brother Jason.   The pair delved into a variety to modern and synth-based styles.  Make Your Move has ended up on several “Best Of: lists for 2018.

The Lucky Nows, which feature singer / songwriter Jen Cass and backed by some of the area’s best musicians, released Rise.  The crew backed this up with performances across the region, including shows at the State Theater, The Ark and The Nor’easter Festival.

JD Dominowski continued to burnish his reputation as a songsmith and purveyor of rootsy rock and roll.  With Songs From An American Nobody, Dominowski further establishes himself as one of the unique voices to emerge from this area in the last decade.

\• With his second CD release Silk Purses, musician & Review contributor Matt deHeus created a divergent tapestry of material consisting of seven original tracks and five highly inventive cover songs that collectively possess both a purposeful musical vision and highly engaging musical arrangements that draw the listener into a semi-autobiographical mosaic of retrospective lyrical insight and red-hot musicianship. Recorded over a two-year timespan with an A-List of regional musicians including J Blum, Rick Gellise, Andy Reed, Scott Van Dell, Donny Brown, John Cashman, Jacob Wisenbach, Mike Roberton, Bingo Moon, Allison & Andy Scott, Michael George, Todd Miller and Peter Manuel, each of their instrumental contributions all serve to lushly layer a fitting backdrop to Matt’s topical material, which covers the gamut from resolution to retrospection, realization to acceptance, and despondency to salvation; which needless to say, is a lot of ground to cover.

Tommy K, who has scored legions of fans fronting The Rock Show, released his first solo album, Someday, Someway.  The single garnered airplay on conventional and satellite radio, as well as recognition from Billboard. 

• Art Garfunkel.  Kudos to The Temple Theatre for bringing the legendary Art Garfunkel to Saginaw for a rare evening performance in September. In an exclusive interview with The Review, when asked what the most important lessons learned professionally and personally in terms of how to best confront the most serious challenges fate places upon our doorstep, he responded: “It’s what you don’t say that matters. That’s one. Apart from this, plain old courage is critical. Those are two things that come to mind.”


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