Blues duos at the Robin Theatre
7 to 9 p.m.
The Robin Theatre
1105 S. Washington Ave., Lansing
THURSDAY, Oct. 18 — Two twangy blues duos take over the Robin Theatre for a classic night of Americana music with the theme “Meet Me at the Crossroads.”
Blues duo Shari Kane and Dave Steele describes their sound as “street swing and stomp blues.”
Fingerstyle acoustic blues is a different sound than what most people imagine when they think of the blues, Kane said.
“With an electric format, you have someone covering the rhythm. With fingerstyle, the thumb does the bassline and the fingers can do the leads, so it gives you a chance to do the whole thing by yourself.”
This type of blues harkens back to the days of travelling musicians, she said. “They would separate to make their own money busking, and had to get the whole package in one place.”
The addition of playing with resonator steel guitars also gives the show a more authentic touch, Kane said.
“Back in the old days when the guys were down south, they had these parties on Friday and Saturday nights. They called them ‘Jukes’ and didn't have any amplification, so those guitars changed everything.”
They were originally made to project so people could hear from far away, but then became the prototype for guitar amplification, she said.
“The round part under the strings are the prototype for a speaker. That little part was miniaturized and electrified to put in amplification.”
Martin Grosswendt and Susanne Salem-Schatz will perform pre-war blues and honky-tonk along with other music of the pre-war era.
This type of music wasn’t classified neatly by genre back then, Salem-Schatz said.
“Blues is a marketing term before anything else,” Grosswendt said. “It became a generic term for black secular music in the 1920s.”
This label drove a lot of attention from whites to the sound, Salem-chatz said. “It really became the crossroads of the whites and blacks in its time. There was a lot less separation of styles and musicians than is generally thought. Cultures were always trading back and forth.”
Other events in Lansing:
8 to 10 p.m., $17, Peppermint Creek Theatre Company, 6025 Curry Lane, Lansing
7:30 to 10:30 p.m., $20, The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
6 to 8 p.m., Everybody Reads, Books and Stuff, 2019 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing