Holler Fest and Other Upcoming Gigs

One of the highlights of my summer last year was going to Holler Fest, a music festival in Brooklyn, Michigan, 45 minutes southwest of Ann Arbor. The event takes place at Frog Holler, a wonderful organic vegetable farm that has been owned and operated by the King family for more than 40 years. The scene is laid back, lots o’ fun, and some of the best folk-Americana musicians and groups in Michigan perform; last August’s lineup included Annie and Rod Capps, Breathe Owl Breathe, Appleseed Collective, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys and Dick Siegel. The food is great, as much of it is made with vegetables grown on the farm, with the rest provided by select local vendors.

Although I had to leave the festival after a day and a half because of a business commitment, I enjoyed every minute of the time I spent there. Two of the most memorable moments for this listener were hearing Red Tail Ring live for the first times, once, on Friday night in “The Cabin,” a very cool, funky old stone cabin on the grounds, and then the next afternoon on the Holler (main) Stage. Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp play, sing and write music in an old time Appalachian style, and of all the excellent musicians in Michigan, nobody else does it for me like they do these days. I also very much enjoyed hearing and renewing acquaintances with Andru Bemis. I had the pleasure of meeting Andru and sharing the stage with him at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit in March of last year. Accompanying himself on banjo and guitar, Bemis is what you might call a “folkie’s folkie,” and I love his music. There’s nobody else quite like him.

Photo courtesy of Kenneth King

I left last year thinking about just how much I’d like to play Holler Fest. As soon as I released my CD in January, I sent off a press kit to Billy King, who schedules the performers, and damned if I didn’t land the 12:30 PM slot at the Second Holler Stage on Sunday. To say that this was exciting news would be an understatement, because this is another big step forward for me, and I know that my music is a great fit for Holler Fest. Things just couldn’t have worked out much better, as I’m also playing the Harsen’s Island Bluegrass Festival that Saturday. Two festivals in one weekend, not bad for a guy who wasn’t gigging at all a few short years ago! (Many thanks to Kenneth King for the use of the photo above.)

I also have two great gigs booked at the Grand Traverse Resort, near Traverse City, on SaturdayAugust 17th and Saturday, October 19th. The August date is a Beach Club / Bonfire performance, from 8-10 PM. The October date is for GTR’s Micro Brew Fest; I’ll play two opening sets, starting at around 6 PM, followed the excellent progressive bluegrass quartet, Fauxgrass. Both dates are open to the public.

Finally, looking a bit down the road, I’m very pleased to be scheduled at Sandhill Crane Vineyards, in Jackson, Michigan, on December 5th, for their Thirsty Thursday series. I love the idea of performing at wineries, brew pubs and such venues; it just seems so right, given my involvement in the wine industry and blogging for our Gang of Pour site for the last 16 and a half years. (Has it really been that long?!) Times are from 6-9 PM, music goes from 6:30-8:30.

Fun times for this ol’ boy. So glad I’m playing music again.



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"In the best traditions of folk music, George’s songs evoke personal experiences and historical events, and George certainly has had some experiences, let me tell you. But the experiences of which he sings so truthfully here, while almost mundane when taken literally, are made to seem so much more meaningful, so much more heartfelt in his hands and within his voice. These arrangements are as near to the folk tradition as one could hope, are exactly all that’s necessary for each song, and when accompaniment and backing vocals are used, they feature David Mosher on several traditional instruments, as well as Bill Arnold on dobro, providing simple support to George’s already ample foundations." —Michael O'Brien, Open Mike


And George Heritier from Oak Park shared his clever songwriting, cool and entertaining lyrics and hot guitar/harmonica riffs. He got the best round of applause for the whole festival! I am a huge fan of acoustic blues and folk music and George is one of the best I have heard. I would make it a point to go see him ANY time he plays, it will be well worth the effort! —John P. Bayerl, PhD - SeMi Bluegrass.com