Bluegrass/folk music on tap this week at ‘Roots on the River’

Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys will present this week’s Roots on the River Concert on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Jaycees Bandshell in Manistee. (Courtesy photo)

The Manistee Jaycees will present Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys at the next Roots on the River concert — Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Jaycees Bandshell on the Manistee River Channel just below the Memorial Drive parking lot.

Lindsay Lou was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by a family of musicians and started performing for anyone who asked just after she had learned to walk and talk.

From a young age she was recognized for her soaring vocals, which won her a scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy and the “best vocal soloist” award at the North American Music Festival in New York. But her aptitude as a musician burns brighter than ever in the context of her new band, partnering with the Lansing based bluegrass band The Flatbellys. New life was breathed into Lindsay’s original songs with the tasteful and well-versed instrumentation of Josh Rilko on the mandolin and harmony vocals, Spencer Cain on the Upright Bass and Keith Billik on the 5-string banjo.

Lindsay’s influences, outside the family, have been singers like Nat King Cole and songwriters like the Indigo Girls. But lately Michigan’s thriving folk music scene has been her biggest influence.

In September 2010 Lindsay released her debut album entitled “A Different Tune,” which is a compilation of 11 original songs written with the spirit and soul of old time tradition, and encompassing classic lyrical themes. Featuring The Flatbellys, Jen Sygit, Rachael Davis, Sam Corbin, Peter Knupfer (Detour Bluegrass), Missy Keech-Armstrong (Detour Bluegrass), Jay Sobel, Mike Lynch, and Drew “Captain Midnight” Howard, each song has been given its own message and tone, which allow listeners to step directly into the music.

With songs from the album and covers of traditional classics, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys will take listeners on a transcendental journey through the Blue Ridge Mountains with songs like “The Farm,” or into the mind of a bank robber with “Mercy,” to the dream like realms of “Noah’s Lullaby,” back to the 30’s with the siren vocals of “A Different Tune,” and evoking the nostalgia of first falling in love with songs like “Heard A Little Story.”

Roots on the River concerts are held every Thursday at 7 p.m. in July and August. The Nephews will play on July 21; The Joshua Davis Trio on July 28; Seth Bernard & May Erlewine on Aug. 4; The Luke Winslow-King Trio on Aug. 11; Sister Wilene on Aug. 18; and Red Tail Ring on Aug. 25. The concerts will be moved to the Fifth Avenue Beach House in the event of inclement weather. The concerts are free, but donations are accepted.

The Manistee Jaycees are a non-profit community service organization dedicated to fostering personal development and leadership skills through the planning and implementation of events and projects in a variety of areas.

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