What is SeMi Bluegrass? It's a meeting place where live music fans in Southeast Michigan gather to exchange information about the live music scene: show reviews, cool venues, band profiles, product reviews and more.
Articles, news, reviews and band profiles welcome.
Email to: SeMiBluegrass@gmail.com

If you're looking for the South East Michigan Bluegrass Music Association (A fine group of Bluegrass fans in South East Michigan) you can find them at http://smbluegrass.org/

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What is SeMiBluegrass?

Wow, it's been almost 7 busy months since I updated this blog.  I got wrapped up and run over by the election season, and then caught up in some exciting, new projects at work.  However, I still found time to attend--if not blog about--a variety of live music events: Arlo Guthrie at the Ark, some good old Woody Guthrie tunes at a Capitol Rally in Lansing, the Wagon Wreck festival in Ann Arbor, my friend Biscuit Miller at Callahan's to mention a few.  My SeMiBluegrass Jam has really taken off, with over two dozen "regulars" who drop by to pick some SeMiBluegrass tunes once a month.  It's even grown to include some non-bluegrassers, like songsmith George Heritier with his amazing 12-string and blues harp playing.  So much fodder for future blogs!

So, exactly what is SeMiBluegrass?  It started out as a simple acronym for South East Michigan Bluegrass.  First, I must confess that I definitely have blossoming addiction to bluegrass and acoustic music.  My wife says it's a much better mid-life crisis than a red Corvette and a girlfriend with a boob-job (even though, in the middle of a 14 person jam at my house, she claims she's starting to thick she's got it backwards).  From my efforts to find others who shared my passion, I quickly found that, while there is definitely a lively, vibrant acoustic music scene in the area, there really isn't a good way to find it.  More often than not, I discovered a new band, or a new venue, quite by accident.  Sometimes I'd meet someone, who knew someone, who knew someone else who thought, maybe, there'd be some bluegrass at a local show.  Or, I'd look online and find lots of information about a scene that existed 10 years ago, but had evolved, faded or moved on.  So I decided to publish this blog, where I would share information about the scene I was desperately chasing.

So, is SeMiBluegrass really just about bluegrass music?  Well, yes.  And no.  I do love bluegrass music.  Unlike many people, I was not raised on it however.  I grew up on a steady diet of British Invasion and Classic Rock music in 1970s Ann Arbor and then some College Rock in the 1980s (think the Outfield and R.E.M.).  I was (and still am) an official "Parrothead" and still catch a few Buffett shows now and then (though I like some of his tribute bands even more.  Check out Jim-Morris.com or listen to some "Sunny" Jim White).  I found bluegrass music through my friends' bands (Chasin' Steel and Lonesome County) and fell in love with the driving beat, the vivid storytelling of the lyrics, and the vocal harmonies. I attended all kinds of bluegrass shows, and LOVED them.  I did, however, start to notice a disturbing fact.

The average age at most of the shows I attended seemed to be in the mid- to late- sixties.  There were some younger families at them, but not many.  And most of them seemed to be transplants from the south.  So I started looking for something more.  I found the Irish-rock sounds of Dragon Wagon (who also introduced me to Bluegrass Night at the Circus--a mob of college-aged bluegrass fans grooving on every note).  I found the Flutter and Wow and their Alt-Country sound.  I met George Heritier and his heavy blues and folk influenced songwriting.

So...SeMiBluegrass is a place where all are welcome.  Where we share our love of great music, regardless of genre.  A place where friends share information and turn each other onto new music, new places and new songs.  A place where we ALL can contribute posts.  It is the "scene" that so many of us have looked for and never found.  Enjoy it!