News Column

Detroit Free Press Rachel May column

May 21, 2014

By Rachel May, Detroit Free Press

May 21--You'll find all kinds of greasy blues and soul swagger on the new disc from Laura Rain & the Caesars. Shimmying and shaking, Rain is a commanding live performer, but it's her sexy, soulful vocals that put her in a league above. Her range is effortless, blending just the right amount of grit to the subtle side of her powerful voice.

The band will celebrate its new release, "Closer," which has that modern-meets-retro soul thing going on, with a performance Sunday at Cliff Bell's in Detroit.

The album was recorded at guitarist George Friend's home studio with a host of guest performers including Rick Beamon (drums), Leon Powell (bass), Jim Simonson (bass) and Todd Glass (drums). Rounding out her core band are drummer Ron Pangborn and Phil Hale on keys.

Each player adds his own unique style to the songs.

"That was the main idea behind it -- to get all these different players and to get their own sound on the particular songs," says Friend. "We had all these grooves and ideas for tunes, and I kind of just put bands together to get the song the way I wanted. Every player has their thing."

Sunday's release party will be the first time the band will perform at Cliff Bell's. "We have a real music-listening crowd," says Friend. "It kind of fits the band and our crowd. It's the perfect room for us."

Friend says they'll have some special guests sit in with them, too.

8 p.m. Sunday, Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park, Detroit. 313-961-2543. $10.

For more:

New Fortune Fest: Detroit-based New Fortune Records is holding a 12-hour showcase on Sunday featuring bands that have recorded works on the label.

The New Dodge in Hamtramck will offer 11 performances by 11 acts, including the

Ruiners, Ricky Rat Pack, Dutch Pink, After Dark Amusement Park, Detroit Cydi, James Linck, Ryan Dillaha & the Miracle Men, the Webbs,


High Strung, Jeremy Porter & the Tucos and Mur.

It's also a great chance to pick up some recorded works by the bands. Plus there will be free swag and cheap eats and drinks.

2 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, New Dodge Lounge, 8850 Jos. Campau, Hamtramck. 313-874-5963. $8 for 21 and older, $10 for 18 and older.

For more:

Conserving Sounds, Telling Stories: Michigan music writer, academic and activist Carleton S. Gholz founded the Detroit Sound Conservancy in 2012. His group of musicians, preservationists, librarians, journalists, publicists, DJs, fans and more are dedicated to preserving and archiving our city's rich musical history.

On Friday, Gholz will lead the DSC's first conference, "Conserving Sounds, Telling Stories," at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library. The event will feature local, national and international journalists, sound activists, scholars and more covering the history of Detroit music, its historic ballrooms, Detroit radio and more.

10 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday at the Music, Arts, and Literature Department and the E. Azalia Hackley Reading Room at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward, Detroit. 313-481-1300. Free.

For more:

Rachel May, nightlife editor, is a member of local bands Broadzilla and Maxine Petrucci and cohost of Hard Edge Radio. Send local music news to her at Follow her on Facebook and Twitter: @rachelmay222


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Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)

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