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Mixtape: A reflective post-cancer album; melancholy instrumentals; an up-and-coming country star

A record on a turntable.
Local Spins editor and publisher John Sinkevics joined us with an update on several West Michigan artists he recommends keeping an eye out for this month.

Local Spinseditor and publisher John Sinkevics joined Stateside to share some of the most exciting new music coming out of West Michigan this month. What unites his artist picks this time around, Sinkevics said, are the “compelling stories” they each bring to their music. 

“Defective” by John Sanger


Holland native and Grand Rapids-based singer-songwriter John Sanger has been performing and recording across West Michigan for more than 20 years. But after receiving a diagnosis of throat cancer earlier this year, and going through treatment for it, he was forced to put his music on hold. Sanger said that experience gave him “an amazing sense of perspective” that he’s used as inspiration for his newest release, The Sanger Family Album.

Sanger will be playing at the Bostwick Lake Inn just north of Grand Rapids on Nov. 15, and again at the Iron Well in Grand Rapids on Nov. 24.

“Fox & Hounds” by Laurel Premo


Traverse City violinist Laurel Premo is half of the award-winning indie folk duo Red Tail Ring, along with guitarist Michael Beauchamp. On her solo project, Sinkevics said Premo takes an “old-timey sound” and blends it with a more contemporary feel to create “harmonic drones, minimalist repetition, and rich polyrhythms.” Her album, titled The Iron Trios, also features guitarists Owen Marshall and Joshua Davis, as well as fiddler Aaron Jonah Lewis.

The Laurel Premo Trio will be playing at the Sandbox Listening Room in Kalamazoo on Dec. 6, the Yurt at the Little Fleet restaurant in Traverse City on Dec. 7, and the Second Sunday Folk Dance in Crystal Falls on Dec. 8. Red Tail Ring will be playing at the Michigan Academy of Folk Music in Holland on Nov. 14.

“Wear It Out” by Sadie Bass


Sadie Bass is a country singer from Bath, Michigan, who’s made a splash with her band over the past couple of years. She's opened for several national country stars and played big country music festivals like Summer Jam, Country Boots and Bands, and the B-93 Birthday Bash.

Bass gave up a college softball scholarship in order to focus on her career, a decision that Sinkevics said recently paid off when she and her band won an online fan-based contest to play on country star Brantley Gilbert’s “Kick It in the Ship Cruise,” which set sail from Miami on Monday.

Bass plans to release an EP in the spring and is working with Smokin’ Sleddog Records to book national shows next year.

Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

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