Turn it Down: Rose of the West and Mile Twelve


Rose of the West

Friday, Sept. 13 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All ages, $12, $10 adv., 7 p.m.

Rose of the West released its self-titled dreamy debut album last year, via Communicating Vessels Records, and quickly garnered praise for the moody-yet-wistful original tunes penned by Gina Barrington (vocals/guitar).

Blurred Culture praised the LP, saying it’s “about as dreamy as it gets” while also comparing the album’s enigmatic lyrics and lush melodies to icons like Siouxsie & the Banshees and Kate Bush. The publication also applauded the Milwaukee-based singer, saying “she exudes an organic mysteriousness as she croons."

This month, Rose of the West is touring across the Midwest, East Coast and Canada. Friday, the group headlines an all-ages gig at Mac’s Bar. Openers will include Fade and Krissy Booth.

Barrington spun her artistic wheels for six years in Los Angeles before returning home to Wisconsin. Soon after, she issued a solo EP and formed the short-lived band, Nightgown.

Ultimately, she solidified a band and properly launched Rose of the West, delving deeper into trip-hop, shoegaze and psych-infused indie-pop. Earlier this year, the contemplative outfit —which also comprises Thomas Gilbert (guitar, synthesizer), Erin Wolf (keys, vocals, harmonium), Cedric LeMoyne (bass) and Dave Power (drums) — released a video for the brooding single, “Roads.”

“‘Roads’ is really about duality; feeling torn, lost, overwhelmed and scared about, yet enthralled with, the possibilities in life,” Barrington said. “It’s one of the songs that’s been with me longest, and the first one that came together during the making of the album which pointed it, and the band, in its ultimate direction.”

That song, like many others on the new album, comes from a dark, yet genuine place. “About 50 percent of them were written some years back when I was going through personal things,” Barrington told the Shepard Express back in April. “I don’t write the happiest songs. I write for people who are looking to feel some kind of happiness or be fulfilled in their sadness.”

Emerging Boston-based bluegrass group Mile Twelve plays Old Town

Wed., Sept. 18 @ Elderly Instruments, 1100 N. Washington, Lansing. All ages, $15, 7 p.m.

For the last year, Elderly Instruments has not only been selling the finest of stringed instruments, they’ve also become an up-and-coming music venue, hosting a series of first-rate acoustic concerts.

On Sept. 18, Elderly hosts Mile Twelve, its biggest-named Americana act yet. The Boston and Nashville-based group is firmly rooted in the traditional world of bluegrass and folk, dishing up plenty of precise pickin’ and soaring vocal harmonies. Over the years, the group has toured across North America, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The five-piece ensemble comprises Evan Murphy (guitar), David Benedict (mandolin), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), Nate Sabat (bass) and BB Bowness (banjo).

“They truly are an exciting, award-winning group,” said AJ Glaub, the promoter and show coordinator for Elderly Instruments. “This will be an intimate performance that no bluegrass fan in Mid-Michigan should miss.”

While the group, which formed in 2014, does have an undeniable old-timey soul, Mile Twelve’s latest record, “City on a Hill,” shows all five band members bringing a variety of contemporary influences to the table. Aside from critical praise, the disc also won three IBMA Momentum Awards.

Along with virtuoso-playing skills, the members of Mile Twelve also take pride in their pensive lyric sheets. The album explores various perspectives, such as a war veteran with PTSD (“Jericho”), a Jewish immigrant evading war (“Liberty”) and a man who cannot escape the stigma of the penal system (“Innocent Again”). From there, “Barefoot in Jail” offers up a light-hearted power waltz and “Journey’s End” delivers an ethereal, old-time dream sequence.

To buy tickets, visit elderly.com/events or call the store at (517) 372-7880.


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