Check out the performers line up at the Thunder Bay Folk Festival! Incredible, and more to come.
2018 Thunder Bay Music Festival - Alpena, Michigan
A love of fishing brought Chasin' Steel together. A love of music keeps the four friends united. The band, which is billed as bluegrass but plays country, rock and just about any other kind of genre in its own special style, has opened for national acts and put out original-music CDs that are being played on radio stations all around the country. Chasin' Steel -Adam Carpenter, Jacob Kuhlman, Jonah Kuhlman and Evan Simula -plays dates throughout the Midwest and its members are enjoying every bit of the fun.
Charlie Baran has lived a life of music. Before moving the the United States he was a founding member of the legendary Honduran musical group Banda Blanca, who’s song “Sopa de Caracol” became the #1 Billboard Top Latin Songs hit in 1992. Now a maintenance man at a Catholic grade school by day, Charlie has kept his musical flame glowing largely through acoustic solo performances around Chicago for the past ten years.
Charlie Baran is a true virtuoso. No one sees him perform without recognizing the presence of a true master – an heir to a rich tradition of Honduran music, as well as a guitar slinging showman and a gifted songwriter whose skill transcends all genres. But throughout most of his career he has existed in the shadows – until the formation of Radio Free Honduras.
Radio Free Honduras is a diverse collective of Chicago musicians, all united under one goal – supporting the artistry of Charlie Baran and bringing this tremendous talent into the spotlight where it belongs. Founded by Dan Abu-Absi, longtime guitarist for JT and the Clouds and Birds of Chicago, Radio Free Honduras plays mostly Baran originals, but their live shows often feature a wide variety of reimagined cover songs. This band provides Charlie with the wide musical pallet his talent (and songs) deserve. Abu-Absi has gathered a large, revolving collective of some of Chicago’s most talented musicians; lively percussion, eclectic instrumentation, and rich harmonies all provide the backdrop, allowing Charlie to do what he does best – stunning guitar work, tapping into what seems a limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm for music.
Charlie Baran has lived a long and storied musical life – but very few are familiar with his side of the story. Radio Free Honduras has made it their mission to change that.
Polka Riot is a group of musicians from the Frankenmuth and mid-Michigan area. We formed this generation of Polka Riot together in 2009 and have been playing festivals, wedding, parties, taverns, and even a garage or two ever since. We are a group of God-fearing, America loving, fun-seeking friends who love to bring our unique American Style polkas and waltzes to the stage.
We are proud to announce we released our first CD this past June. It's titled "In this Crazy Life", and can be purchased by calling 989-598-5434.
Our members include Trent Urbytes, accordion, trumpet, and vocals. Trent plays the accordion since 2010 at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth and leads the Polka Riot. Trent has written several Polka Riot songs, including four on the new CD, "In this crazy Life".
Mike "Chipper" Reinbold, trumpet and vocals. Mike is a part-time farmer and delivers mail in Frankenmuth and Vassar. Mike also has played Trumpet in the Frankentrost Band for over 15 years.
Jacob Hecht, trumpet. Jacob put in a ton of hours with the big farming company, Star of the West out of Richville, just north of Frankenmuth. Jacob plays trumpet often in his church band, and is a former member of the Frankentrost band also. Jacob's entire family are farmers.
Erich Reinbold, Bass Guitar and vocals. Erich loves stringed instruments and his pontoon boat. Erich is Chipper's brother, and also grew up in the Frankentrost band playing percussion. Erich works full time and also farm part-time with family.
Rick Kluka, Concertina player. Rich works 3rd shift as a nation-wide trucking dispatcher and enjoys his beautiful pool in the south end of Bay City. Rick played with Jimmy K, CJ & the Krew, and occasionally with Steve Drzewiki before joining Polka Riot in 2009.
Mike Sversko, Sax and vocals. Mike was bred into polkas, as his parents and grandparents are polka musicians and polka lovers. Mike's sax has added so much to the sound of the band since he joined in the spring of 2015. Along with a few Polish tunes Mike sings, he provides great harmony vocals (when he's not giving us great sounding Sax fills...)
Justin Krick, Drums. Justin is a full-time farmer who works for Star of the West and also for his own family farm 8 days a week. When he isn't in the fields or playing polkas, Justin is usually enjoying a few days of rustic camping.
Mark Grzegorczyk, Accordion. Mark started playing with the Polka Riot in the early spring of 2018, and has a few engagements under his belt with us, including the Frankenmuth Bavarian Fest in June. Mark has also grown up with (Polish) polkas and plays in his own three-piece band, Bay City Polka Panic.
Of her own volition, Grand Rapids-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Mainville dove headfirst into the world of music as early as the fifth grade, when she had begun playing viola and upright bass in orchestra. Following her first Wheatland Festival in 2012, Mainville fell in love with the idea of performing her own songs on stage, which eventually inspired her 2014 gypsy swing and baroque pop debut EP, Full Steam Ahead featuring members of The Accidentals.
Since the release of her first solo output, Olivia has forged a unique path, becoming known alongside her band, the Aquatic Troupe, for their energized, dynamic performances and their gargantuan musical talent. Olivia Mainville & the Aquatic Troupe’s debut album, Maybe the Saddest Thing, released on December 10th, 2015 with a special guest appearance by none other than David Bowie’s bandleader and lead guitarist, Gerry Leonard —their multifarious, enthusiastic delivery is sure to be a hit with listeners everywhere.
Batten down the hatches folks, a bluegrass storm is brewing. Bursts of picking to exceed 140 bpm at times with scattered banjo and frequent fiddling expected. This Michigan bluegrass band, features fine instrumentation and high lonesome harmonies from some of the foremost pickers in the state. With an emphasis on the traditional style, these fellas are sure to get your toes tappin' and your ears tinglin' with those classic numbers we all love!
The Bootstrap Boys are a four-piece country band who have developed a fresh take on the classic country sound. Based in Grand Rapids, MI, The Bootstrap Boys have worked out a unique sound that is less influenced by the contemporary “Nashville” country stylings, instead their original tunes take their cues from that particular mix of country and gospel found in the small churches of rural Michigan, spiced with the redneck flavor of the small town honky tonks of the Midwest. While tunes about whiskey shots and getting stoned have landed The Boys with the brand “outlaw”, there’s more to their music to be found. There’s no shortage of thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics, twangy guitar riffs, and steady rhythms to keep your boots tappin’ and heart happy.
The Bootstrap Boys are: Big Jake Bootstrap, Nicky Bootstrap, Clyde Bootstrap, and Jeff Bootstrap. Their manager, personal chef, and spiritual adviser is Li’l Mama Bootstrap. They ramble the countryside in their classic Chevy Rockwood RV, affectionately dubbed The Delta Dawn, making friends all along the way.
Since their formation in early 2013, Nina & the Buffalo Riders have performed continuously at venues such as PJ's Lager House in Detroit's historic Corktown neighborhood, the famous Blind Pig Ann Arbor, the New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck as well as headlining spots at both the Ferndale City Pride Fest and the Allen Park Street Fair.
Nina & The Buffalo Riders' sound has been fashioned by a decade of live performance experience, songwriting and commercial session work for companies like ALP Music, as well as a myriad of influences ranging from bluegrass to soul. The group is valued for their high intensity live performances and cross-genre instrumentation.
Full Cord started as a project between band members upright bass player Todd Kirchner & guitar/mando player Eric Langejans. Soon after, Danny Seabolt, fiddler extraordinaire and luthier joined the band. The newest members are Brian Oberlin on mandolin (formerly of Grasshoppah) and Alex Johnson on resophonic guitar (formerly of Fauxgrass). All seasoned bluegrass musicians they wanted to build a musically diverse band using traditional bluegrass instruments.
The band has an extraordinary song base, with songs ranging from traditional country and bluegrass to modern pop hits, big band era tunes and everything in between (and we do mean everything!). With hundreds of songs in their repertoire, they never run out of songs to choose from.
Based in West Michigan, Full Cord has had the privilege of performing all over the state, from private parties and events to breweries, barns and bluegrass festivals.
With the talent of over 100 years combined musical experience, Full Cord brings incredible style to traditional bluegrass. They are introducing bluegrass music to everyone in a way that keeps people coming back for more.
Conor Larkin is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Alpena who has been sharing his music throughout Michigan since he was 10 years old. He was cutting his teeth at long bar gigs, local music festivals, and open mic nights since before he was old enough to drive to them. Not one to turn down a chance to perform, Conor has played all over the state as a “hired gun” guitarist, bassist, drummer, and vocalist. His unique talent and genuine love of music makes him a standout member of every ensemble he has performed with. Seeking a more personal outlet for his musical side, Conor began writing songs and developing a voice of his own. Over the past few years he has been honing his craft as a songwriter and is ready to share his own music with the world. His debut EP is currently being recorded and he’s eager to perform his songs. Alongside Conor will be an all-star cast of local musicians backing him up and adding their own talents to the music.
Bo, Pete and John began playing in bands together in their early teen's and continued throughout their twenties and thirties. Now they've reunited as Bubba and the Roadmaster's. Fiery lead's, throbbing bass and lewd drum rhythms create a depraved mix that's sure to make polite society blush. Serious fun!
Chester's Habit does what you need. We have fun! Chester Fletcher, lead guitar, banjo, mandolin, and Doc Bungard, bass, guitar, vocals, have been making music together for over 20 years. Bruno Wojcik plays drums and helps produce our shows. Phil Gorny sings covers, originals and plays keyboard and guitar. Oh, and we named the band after Chester.
The Bandura Gypsies rocks a unique blend of style and sound. The lyrics and melodies are totally emotion-driven, and the foundation is totally power-driven. The Gypsies write about what’s goin’ down now, what’s bringing the joy, and what’s bringing the pain. From acoustic folk songs to rock-the-house-down, from ballads to punk jams, The Bandura Gypsies have a song for you, and are loved by music fans from 8 to 80. Music for Everybody.
Shawn Elizabeth- songwriter/acoustic Guitar/ Lead vocals; Tony Fox- Drums/Vocals; Bill Welsh- Lead Guitar; Scott Mills- Bass Guitar
Chris Crown and Lee Kitzman have been performing as a Blues duo for 5 years. They met at an Open Mic at Alpena’s own Black Sheep Pub. They soon began performing together at festivals, up scale restaurants, Art Gallery showings, and house concerts.
You can often find them on the street on Friday nights with the Alpena Street Performers which they founded 5 years ago.
Eric’s music is featured on a Rounder Records anthology titled “Rebel Voices”. Well known as an accomplished finger style guitarist, his performances are influenced by blues, jazz, Latin and roots music. As a teen, he encounted the music of Lightning Hopkins, and was totally hooked from that point on. Eric has been practicing the universal language of music for over 40 years, all over the South and Midwest, playing in clubs, at festivals, and has worked in pit bands for Broadway Shows.
Franzen is a simple acoustic storyteller. His love of folk music was nurtured in Chicago's folk clubs in the early 1970s and in an old country church in Southern Illinois in the mid-'70s. As part of his career in the news media, he researched and wrote about history. He won awards for some of those stories. It took him 30 years to combine his twin loves of folk music and Great Lakes history. Now, his stories are those of Great Lakes; lighthouses, lake boats and shipwrecks. He sings the stories of people long forgotten. He has published three books and recorded four cd's of his Great Lakes ballads.
Amy and Randy Mason of Wolf Creek Release are a roots centered husband and wife duo. Stripped down, and back to basics, they have been performing together since they first met in 1987. Formerly members of the bands Under The Influence and Liquid Cooled, they changed directions in 2013 when they formed Wolf Creek Release, and decided to delve into country, folk, acoustic rock and to perform original music.
Randy provides the steadfast rhythm guitar, with melodic arrangements in his own fingering style. Amy is a lyrical poet, and has won numerous vocal awards including the top female vocalist in the North East Michigan Music Awards in 2012. Amy rounds out the arrangements with acoustic guitar and keys.
The Blood Money Men are an eclectic trio hailing from their home town of Alpena Michigan. Singer/songwriter Ian McConnell plays guitar, bringing unusual tunings and sometimes unusual instruments to life for the group. Kris Cooper plays percussion and Jim Gunderson plays bass and sings backup. The blues, rock, and soulful folk oriented band plays original music almost exclusively, a rarity for most modern acts. With several years now under their belt, they have created art that will stand the test of time. Be sure to make The Blood Money Men a priority in your must see bands list of 2018.
Joel Choate is an accomplished performer with a sincere and riveting style all his own. He owns Joel’s Guitar Shop in Alpena where he hosts jam sessions and gives guitar lessons. He frequently helps us out as an emcee on the Barn Stage.
North Country Burnouts is a loose collective of seasoned Musicians inspired by North East Michigan’s sights, sounds, and attitudes flavored with traditional American music.
Helmed by Southern exile Charles Adlai Madison on vocals and guitar, Matt Brege on drums, David Rude(Everything Kills, The Legacy, Human Wreckage, Dr. West)on bass and Mark Tarsney on guitar and vocals.
The group features local artists such as Holden Brisson(Conor Larkin band) Ian McConnell(Blood Money Men, Local Ninja, Furmunda) and Conor Larkin(Bobbing for Piranhas) in various roles.
The Burnouts formed in spring of 2018, making their festival debut at The Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in Marquette, MI this July.
They are currently writing and recording their first album, due for an early 2019 release.
Country Folk with the Texas twang.
Traveler of the Midwest born to exiles of Detroit’s collapse, and alumnus of blues bands, jangly college rock groups, punk bands and freak-folk experiments. Tech support for the public library by day, and guitarist, singer and songwriter by night. Wide ranging tastes and influences from early jazz and swing through classic and alternative rock, indie folk and psychedelia. Lover of the lo-fi DIY aesthetic as well as the polished masterpieces of pop music legends; aiming for your heart with intimate and cathartic writing in one hand and soul-pleasing ear candy in the other.
Dan Ludwig: Guitar and bass player for over 40 years. He has written and recorded a number of instrumental pieces of music and songs over the years. He has returned to Alpena and has formed the band, Great Lake Effect.
Ann Griffin: She cannot imagine a life without music. She has played at nursing homes and hospitals and believes music has amazing healing powers. She has since moved back to Alpena and enjoys writing songs.
Jeremy Smith: Born in Saginaw, MI, Jeremy has lived in California, Missouri, Arizona, Minnesota and overseas for two short tours with the military. He is currently in the military and had traveled every 2-3 years before settling down in Alpena. He has over 25 years of experience as a lifelong musician on drums and percussion. He has also played with many local and international musicians in these various locations.
Dward Grant: He plays the electric bass with Great Lake Effect.
Originating from the Alpena area, local band Chippewa Thrills plays little something for everyone. Sydney Dodson, the vocalist of the group, sings smooth and soulful melodies. Josh Kozlowski adds surf rock and blues riffs in each song with his unique stylings on the guitar. His brother, John Kozlowski, the percussion and drummer, provides rock solid rhythm and a steady beat, keeping the band in sync with every measure. Performing wide variety of music, such as Classic Rock, Folk, Indie, and Acoustic Stylings, you will enjoy listening to their one of a kind sound.
Mostly original music written and performed by Ian McConnell (vocals, keyboard, mandolin, uke etc.). Brad Corpus joins in with deep tones on the bass. Mia Hauff supports with vocals, cabasa, and other percussive instruments. It's hard to pin down just what genre this group performs. Some is rock, jazz, blue grass, folk, blues etc. This band from Alpena, Michigan, has a truly unique sound
Joel and Cynthia started their musical journey just a few short years ago but it has been a literal labor of love. What started as a simple crush would turn into a bond that few people truly understand, these two are a couple both on and off the stage. These two blend schools of music just as easily as they blend genres. As last years performance proved, the loss of power during their set didn't slow them, they stepped of the stage to play acoustically in the crowd, you never know what to expect.
Michigan born artist, craftsman, and musician Rich Rider has been an integral part of the Alpena art/music scene since moving here in 2014. His melodic free flow pick and slap style of guitar playing is one of a kind. His set list consists primarily of original songs and a fresh musical reconfigurement of select main stream covers. Rich's instrumental stylings paired with lyrical story telling will surely delight your senses. To find out more about his Cajon Drums, Art, Music and more please visit Sound Idea - art -home - music on FB.
Eric Dunckel. A proud resident of Haynes Township, Eric enjoys playing the upright bass and performs with several groups in the Alpena and Alcona County areas.
Jim Miller. Jim lives in Mikado. He is an enthusiastic drummer who is a very familiar performer in the music scenes in Alpena, and throughout Alcona County.
Kim Casey. Kim Casey resides in Alcona County. She is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who has recently been named to the Michigan Touring Arts Directory.
Downside and Away is a local, up-and-coming, and talented teenage band influenced by Punk Rock, Indie music and the Blues. In mid 2017 Downside and Away gained a steady following after playing at many events in and around Alpena; Open mic's, The Lane Barn, The Fresh Palette, Downtown Alpena, The French Road Bash, Hootenanny, The Thunder Bay Folk Festival (past 3 years) and the Thunder Bay Folk Society fundraiser Spring Fling.
Ben Loewe (lead singer - songwriter) and Archie Cornelius (self-taught drummer) are the original members who after many years of practicing in their parents basements formed a band that now includes Gage Smith (bass player) and Ernie Livermore (rhythm guitarist). They have come a long way! #DownsideandAway.
Mostly original music written and performed by Ian McConnell (vocals, keyboard, mandolin, uke etc.). Brad Corpus joins in with deep tones on the bass. Mia Hauff supports with vocals, cabasa, and other percussive instruments. It's hard to pin down just what genre this group performs. Some is rock, jazz, blue grass, folk, blues etc. This band from Alpena, Michigan, has a truly unique sound.
Laura Frawley is a singer/songwriter who has played at a number of venues throughout Michigan. She is a regular at Harmony Weekend Art Fair as well as the Alcona County Fair. Laura also does children’s music in Alcona Schools, churches and pre schools. She likes clever lyrics and songs that tell stories about who we are and where we are going.
A radiologist for 26 years at Alpena Regional Medical center I am now retired. I have played with Dave Larkin in our group House Call since 1997 and am a member of the Alpena Street performers. We co host a campfire sing along in the summer at the Beach House on Grand Lake and I perform at Medilodge in Alpena. Recently I joined the Life Long Learners Ukelele class and perform as the Alpena Ukesters. I play folk music by Simon and Garfunkle, Jim Croce, James Gordon, Harry Chapin, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Paul and Mary among many others.
Donna Klein is a singer/songwriter currently living in Ocqueoc Township. She was a staple on the Florida folk circuit before moving to Michigan in 2005. In addition to performing in concert and at festivals, she produced and hosted a concert series featuring songwriters from around the USA.
A variety of styles go into creating Donna’s songs. After all, variety is the Spice of Life! Folk, Blues, Rock, Pop, Metal and Jazz are just a few of the flavors to savor. Her music is an adventure that explores philosophy, relationships, the human condition, humor, global and environmental issues... Satisfying and deliciously different, her style has been described as progressive, dynamic and alternatively acoustic.
In addition to writing and performing, Donna also teaches music from her in-home studio. Connect with Donna through Facebook (donnakleinmusic and donnakleinmusiclessons) and through donnaklein.com.
I've been writing and performing Rock and Roll professionally since before 1985 all over Michigan. From Detroit to Lansing, from Standish to the U.P.
I've mostly played the front man in several bands and have been keeping J.E. and The Legacy alive since 1989, "keeping the Classics alive!"