If you like rock music you’re in luck. If folk is your bag, come on up. Blues? Jazz? Music with an edge? They’re all part of the annual Wine, Women, Chocolate and Song concert at Freshwater Gallery in Boyne City. This year’s installment features Blake Elliot, DarleneYa, Ruby Williams, and Robin Lee Berry, with special guests. The festivities take place Saturday, Feb. 15, beginning at 8 p.m.
The performers are veterans of the regional circuit and beyond. Elliot performs frequently around the area, from Crystal Mountain to Inside Out Gallery. The Yypsilanti native moved to the Leelanau Peninsula seven years ago, but it wasn’t until 2011 she devoted herself exclusively to music. Her debut CD includes contributions from several local musicians, including Miriam Pico, Don Julin and Seth Bernard and May Erlewine. Her music combines elements of rock, blues, and other styles.
Berry, who owns the gallery with her husband Tony Williams, is also comfortable genre-hopping: A folk artist at heart, she often performs with jazz groups across the region. Both Elliot and Berry will utilize other musicians, including Glenn Wolff on dobro, slide guitar and bass, and Norm Wheeler, trumpet and spoken word.
Joining the proceedings is Ruby Williams, Berry and Williams’s daughter. She has often opened the show, but is this year a full-fledged co-headliner. Williams has been performing since the tender age of four. She picked up a ukulele at six, progressed to guitar as a pre-teen, and has been writing her own songs ever since.
DarleneYa may be the secret weapon. The veteran musical traveler has lived in and performed in such exotic locales as Morocco, Spain, Ireland, and Hollywood. Her personal musical oeuvre encompasses many styles, from opera to mariachi, folk to blues and all areas in between. That kind of genre-hopping shouldn’t be a surprise, however, as she says that what is important to her is finding the commonalities that tie everyone together.
That may well be in evidence during the show. Berry says each performer will perform mini-sets of three or four songs, but the various musicians will likely come and go as they accompany one another. She’s looking forward to hearing the other artists as well as collaborating. “DarleneYa has a beautiful voice, and is great at directing others: you play this on guitar, you sing that. She adds an element of unpredictability.
“Blake is really diverse,” Berry continued. “She’s worked with (former Kid Rock sideman) Kenny Olson, does blues, rock, she’s a little jazzy, indie-folk. Ruby writes these wonderful songs and does some choice covers.” Berry herself has a new recording out featuring Wolff and Wheeler, which continues in the folk/jazz vein she’s carved out for herself.
Tickets for the event are $25. The gallery is located at 217 South Lake Street in Boyne City. To reserve tickets, call the gallery at 231.582.2588.