Just found out that I'll be playing the Angry Orchard Hard Cider Rock the Roots Festival in July here in Detroit. Sublime with Rome is the headliner. Totally psyched. All original performance on Belle Isle Park. Will be posting more details as I get them. CAN"T WAIT, GUYS!!!
So this crazy Fall Michigan weather continues unabated. Enjoyed a warm and windy evening of music at the Farm last night. 2017 has been one of the few seasons over the years that I actually got two visits in. Usually rain or cold gets the better of one of my performances, but near 80 degree evening temps made for a hot load in and easy time behind the mic. Thinking we confirmed the truth about warm air and sound travel...Julie said she could hear me deep in the back of the corn maze. Or maybe I just had it cranked up too loud. Hmmm....
Thanks again to my wonderful hosts Charley and Marge Helwig and then entire team out at Kackleberry Farm. Made me feel at home yet again. Love all of you.
So I would think that most of us born and raised in the Midwest could probably trace their roots far back enough to be linked in one way or another to farming. We don't call it the America's bread basket by accident. In my case, I have a very real and current connection in that my wife's uncle is very much a working farmer in Monroe, Michigan. Charley and his wife Marge have dove tailed this living into an incredibly successful corn maze on the northern edge of Monroe (you can see their Farmer Charley's Kackleberry Farm property in all its glory on the west side of I-75 just south of the I-275 split).
For the past several years now I have performed a couple of select weekends in September and October to help add a little ambiance (and fun for me) to the normal fare offered there. Great food, games, animals and of course the maze. I played there on this past Saturday night...a wonderful weather night (believe me I've had some cold and damp ones too) and met lots of new friends that hadn't heard me perform before. Always cool when that happens.
Two standout memories for me: first, there was a large youth group from the Monroe area that arrived at the farm about the same time I was loading in. It appeared that they were Juniors in high school (from what I could later deduce). They spent time in and out of the performance area both listening (even dancing?) and enjoying the farm...I got to meet many of them and I now have a renewed hope in our youth. Fantastically polite kids all of them...so well behaved and genuine. Spoke with several about their own musical endeavors, interests and they were all refreshingly approachable and respectful. They stayed until I finished performing (well after 9 o'clock) and some actually helped me tear down and pack up. So cool to see and interact with such great kids.
Second cool happening was the surprise visit of an old friend that I met several years ago through work. Carson is a Canadian (Windsor) that works at Ford. He and I spent quite a bit of time together in Louisville on a program launch. It's always been a side laugh that Carson is my "patpredd.com Ambassador". He has spread the word at Ford about my musical side (completely unsolicited BTW) and will always answer the phone "patpredd.com" when I call him. The crazy part is that until Saturday night he had never actually seen me perform live. It was a COMPLETE surprise to see him walk up to the stage and give me a big "patpredd.com" just like at work. Totally blown away. Thanks to Carson and his fiance for trekking across the border and making my night. Totally cool surprise!!!
So let's be honest for a second...playing live is really a blast. Love it. It's a pure and organic form of communication and expression for an artist. Particularly in the kind of live shows I normally do...my mic, my guitar and the clothes I'm wearing. Out there on a limb for my audience to critique, explore, ride along...whatever adjective works that night. It's a two (or three) hour ride with group of strangers that by the end I've (hopefully) connected with on some level and shared something deeply personal and something I love more than a lot of things in life.
That being said, there are a few shows during the year that "rise above" in which I have the privilege sharing with two of my true brothers in (musical) arms Matt Kennedy and Bill Cover (Matt is the other half of our duo "The Predd Kennedy Experience", Bill is percussionist extraordinaire). This year we played together for a second year in a row for the U of M Law School faculty annual Labor Day welcome back party. This is a special one because they really push us musically with special theme requests and we get to step out of the box and stretch our legs as artists. The Dean is a Yacht Rock fan (http://www.reallysmoothmusic.com/about-yacht-rock/ if you aren't familiar), so the set-list for this show gets amped up a few notches in complexity from our normally complex sets. The keys get a good run at this show and it's a blast to play at beautiful Frutig Farms just west of Ann Arbor.
The photo gallery on the home page is a visual sampling of the performance and gives a taste of the beautiful backdrop before which we have the privilege of performing. So fun and glad to have connected with a great team in the U of M Law School. A humble shout out to event organizer Jenny Rickard and Dean Mark West for having us out again this year. We got interrupted for 30 minutes by a RIDICULOUS thunderstorm during the party...we got to witness a lightning strike on the property while we waited the storm out. CRAZY!!!