Northern Michigan is increasingly on the radar for national music touring acts, but the local music scene also has something to offer. Stalwarts like pianist-composer Jeff Haas and folk-jazz singer-songwriter Claudia Schmidt have been entertaining us for years, but there’s also a new crop of talented musicians springing up, encouraged by a supportive community and downtowns rife with bars and restaurants looking for live music. Here’s a few of our favorite artists, guaranteed to deliver a great time:
The Next Big Thing: Breathe Owl Breathe
Their main instruments are guitar, cello and drums, but this Elk Rapids–based trio is equally at home using bird calls and percussive infant toys to weave its dreamy songs. The band’s albums, including the brand-new Magic Central, are beautiful, complex creations—but it’s onstage where Breathe Owl Breathe truly becomes an electric experience. BREATHEOWLBREATHE.COM.
The New Voice: Andrew Sturtz
Yes, this 20-year-old Traverse City native is another dude with a guitar, but he’s also innately talented—great chops, smart songwriting and a nimble voice—which is why he’s worth watching in a world otherwise saturated with so-so John Mayer wannabes. Catch this Martin Sexton–inspired songsmith this fall on weekends at various bars in downtown TC. ANDREWSTURTZ.COM.
The Local Legend: Ron Getz
Arguably one of the hardest-working musicians in the North, this guitarist-composer often gigs seven nights a week in addition to teaching the next generation of guitar players at his TC studio. Getz, who has performed with musical greats like Branford Marsalis and John Scofield, usually shares the stage with other regional talent, bringing his sure-footed style to sets of jazz, blues, pop and rock. RONGETZ.COM.