2016 Sonic Lunch lineup announced

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Ann Arbor’s Laith Al-Saadi, who’s been killing it on this season of “The Voice,” will play a Sonic Lunch show. (Photo courtesy of NBC)

If you’re as ready for summer as I am, you’ll be excited to learn what’s in store at Sonic Lunch, the free live music series that happens each Thursday at noon, starting June 2nd at Liberty Plaza, at the intersection of Liberty and Division in Ann Arbor.

Here’s this year’s schedule:

6/2 Wild Belle

6/9 Laith Al-Saadi

6/16 Frontier Ruckus

6/23 JR w/ Joe Hawley of Tally Hall

6/30 Ben Daniels Band

7/7 The Outer Vibe

7/14 The Suffers

7/28 Brett Dennen w/ The Accidentals

8/4 Joshua Davis

8/11 The Ragbirds

8/18 Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

8/25 Serena Ryder

39th Annual Ann Arbor Folk Fest’s second night thrills sold-out crowd

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STORY BY ROGER LELIEVRE

On night two of the annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, it was all about the genre’s elders.

The annual musical buffet, held in Hill Auditorium and sold out Friday and Saturday, is the main fundraiser for The Ark, Ann Arbor’s nonprofit home for acoustic music and more.

Sure, the kids impressed during the first part of Saturday’s show, with deserved standing ovations for Michigan’s own The Accidentals, who opened the evening (the audience loved “Michigan and Again and Again”), and Joshua Davis of “The Voice” and Steppin In It fame. He did a fine job with his easygoing band, despite a muddy sound mix, especially on the Detroit/Flint ode “The Workingman’s Hymn.” The vocal quartet Darlingside (four guys gathered around a single mic) offered sweet, spot-on harmonies that pulled from folk, pop and barbershop traditions and earned another standing O.

Alan Doyle, best known as lead singer for Newfoundland’s beloved export Great Big Sea and touring with his more recent band, got the crowd fired up with Celtic-influenced songs like the bluesy “Testify (Take Me To The River)” and the rowdy GBS-style drinking tune “1,2,3,4” which might as well be subtitled “Whiskey Whiskey.” Much to the delight of this Great Big Sea fan, he also included the GBS song “Ordinary Day” as the capstone of his set. The only problem here was over-amplification – the vocals were on the unintelligible side, though part of the problem was probably Doyle’s charming but thick accent.

But after intermission was when the night really began to sound like a good old-fashioned folk music revival. Continue reading