BY BTL STAFF
Friday, Jan. 29
City and Colour
Yo La Tengo
The Oh Hellos
Penny and Sparrow
Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line
Ben Daniels Band
David Mayfield, MC
Saturday, Jan. 30
Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies
John McCutcheon, MC
The annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark and presented by Ford Motor Company, returns to Hill Auditorium for two dynamic and different nights of folk and roots music beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night on Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30. The Folk Festival will celebrate its 39th year with a selection of the world's finest traditional and contemporary performers. Each night includes a blend of well-known and up-and-coming artists, providing you with an opportunity to hear artists you know and love while discovering great new talent.
Topping the lineup for the festival this year are City and Colour, Richard Thompson and Yo La Tengo on Friday night and Joan Baez and Cooder-White-Skaggs on Saturday night.
City and Colour
Friday headliner City and Colour features Dallas Green. "There's a line that I'm trying to find, between the water and the open sky," sings Dallas Green on "Friends," the penultimate track off of his recently released fifth album as City and Colour, "If I Should Go Before You" (No. 16 on the Billboard 100). For someone like Green, it's hard to imagine that there's much left to search for – he's traversed the globe on tour, released numerous albums (one most recently as You+Me with Alecia Moore, aka P!nk) and collected scores of accolades. Though Green is a musician, he doesn't make a show of things: that's the job of his songs. Green had always been an introspective, solitary writer, demoing songs in his basement, working up every instrumental part by himself. But he considers "If I Should Go Before You" to be a band record, where the input of these trusted comrades was of the upmost importance. Even more pivotal was trying to capture the essence of their live show symbiosis in the studio; which comes through with an undeniable force. After performing countless sold-out shows worldwide, City and Colour embarks on an extensive full band tour this fall and winter which includes headlining Friday night of the 39th Ann Arbor Folk Festival.
Main headliner for Saturday night, Joan Baez hasn't slowed down a bit in her eighth decade. In the words of Anthony DeCurtis, the clarion songs of Baez "are nothing less than invitations to a life of social meaning, to view ourselves as part of a larger community whose fate is inextricable from our own, to make that fate better for all." Today, as she did in the 1960s and 1970s, Baez draws on the best music of the most vital songwriters of the times. Her characteristic vibrato is undimmed, and on her superb recent albums she has recorded songs by the likes of Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Tom Waits and Eliza Gilkyson. "All of us are survivors," she once wrote. "But how many of us transcend survival?" Baez has done just that. Active in political areas ranging from LGBT rights to the environment to the global struggle for human rights, Baez not only rivets us with the beauty of her music but also challenges us to become more than we were.
Also featurned on the bill on Saturday will be Michigan favorite Joshua Davis.
All funds raised through the Festival benefit The Ark, Ann Arbor's nonprofit home for folk, roots and ethnic music. Gold, Platinum and Benefactor Circles tickets are available to anyone by mail or phone until they're sold out. Gold circle starts at $100 for one night, $180 for both nights; platinum circle starts at $200 for one night, $360 for both nights; and benefactor circle includes additional premium benefits. Call The Ark business office for more information.
Hill Auditorium is located at 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor. Find more info at http://www.theark.org, http://www.findyourfolk.org and 734-761-1800.