St. Paul and the Broken Bones
The Garden Theater | 9:00 P.M.
Paul Janeway understands this conundrum of heritage well. The singer of the Birmingham, Alabama–based rock and roll soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones was born and raised in America’s Deep South, a place where social consciousness can still take a backseat to unsavory traditions and where a family’s expectations sometimes supersede all else. Despite the fierce familial love, he enjoyed and constantly gave back while growing up—especially to his father and grandfather—from an early age Janeway realized that the way he thought about the world was a little different from those around him, and he began to seek an outlet from which to share what was in his heart and on his mind. Blessed with a powerful voice, a magnetism for connecting with people, and a gift for making music, he traded in a career in ministry to start his own band.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones formed in 2012, releasing their debut album Half the City in 2014 and its follow up, 2016’s Sea of Noise, too much acclaim. Those strong efforts helped place them on the national scene, and the band worked hard to prove they were no mere retro-soul band—from touring the world relentlessly, including being selected to open for The Rolling Stones and headlining two nights at the Ryman Auditorium, to TV appearances including The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan, Austin City Limits two appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, one being the very first episode. Janeway’s fearless showmanship, thoughtful lyrics, and dedication to his performance soon became the band’s calling card, and paired with the inventive and skillful direction of co-band leader Jesse Phillips as well as a full eight-man roster comprised of some of the best young instrumentalists in the South, they soon became a must-see event. (In addition to Janeway on lead vocals and Phillips on bass and guitar, the lineup is rounded out by Browan Lollar (guitars), Andrew Lee (drums), Al Gamble (keyboards), Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Chad Fisher (trombone) and Amari Ansari (saxophone), who replaced Jason Mingledorff following the album’s recording) Over time, Janeway has learned the art of balancing expectations and how to reconcile his past with his future, just as his band have learned how to overcome their perception by pushing against its ceiling. In embracing those things he cannot change, he has forged ahead as an artist and as a man. And with his band’s new album, Young Sick Camellia, Janeway has created a space for St. Paul & The Broken Bones to rival any forward-thinking band making music today, based on a concept all-too familiar to him: family, and how we love them despite our differences.
This Charleston, SC-based quintet performs timeless music born from the Gullah culture of the southeastern Sea Islands. Their debut album was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and the TODAY show. It also soared to the #1 position on the Billboard, Amazon, and iTunes Jazz Charts. Playful game songs, ecstatic shouts, and heartbreaking spirituals can all be found on their latest release Good Time, which also offers the groups first original songs inspired by Gullah tradition.
Ural Thomas and the Pain
Motor City Brewing Works Warehouse | 9:00 p.m.
If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR.
It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that “If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.”
In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records.
In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. Diving deep into lifetime of melodic creativity, Thomas and his band got to work. Recorded in Magee’s studio Arthur’s Attic, The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, Bruce Withycombe (The Decemberists) on baritone sax, Portland jazz scene fixture Brent Martens on guitars and vibraphone, Arcellus Sykes on bass, Steve Aman (Lady Rizo) on piano and organ, Dave Monnie on trumpet, Willie Matheis (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) on tenor sax, and Jasine Rimmel, Joy Pearson, Sarah King, Rebecca Marie Miller on backing vocals. The Arco Quartet performed the strings, and the record was engineered and mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by JJ Golden (Sharon Jones, Ty Segall).
One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be more than a touch bitter – yet the opposite is true. “We have to be positive if we want the world to get better” Thomas advises. “We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.”
A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. “If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand” says Thomas. “If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.”
FIRST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH - Sanctuary | 9:00 P.M.
Crowned “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues” in 2015, Thornetta Davis, a multi-talented international singer/songwriter from Detroit, ia the winner of over 30 Detroit music awards. She first gained attention in 1987 when she became back up singer for the Detroit soul band “Lamont Zodiac and The Love Signs.” Shortly after, the lead singer left the band and the name changed to “The Chisel Brothers featuring Thornetta Davis." In 1996, Thornetta recorded her first solo album “Sunday Morning Music” on the Seattle based label “Sub Pop” which received a rave revue in the national Entertainment Weekly magazine. Her song “Cry” from that album was featured on the HBO hit “The Sopranos”. Thornetta has opened for legendary blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Johnnie Johnson and many more…her history is extensive and her performances are memorable... and Noel Night would not be the same without her.
On the Sun
Detroit Shipping Company | 9:00 P.M.
On The Sun crafts sleek and modern groove music steeped in classic and contemporary soul, funk, Americana, jazz, and psychedelia. This simmering soul juggernaut recently completed the first of several national tours it has planned for 2018 in support of their new album "Gratuity Not Included". The recent trek found the band playing alongside artists such as Lisa Loeb, Robert Randolph, Michael Franti and many more onboard the 4-day floating music festival cruise Sail Across The Sun. They also played a string of intimate Sofar Sounds shows in the midwest and east coast and made some special appearances in Austin, Texas at SXSW and Red Gorilla Music Festival.
Gratuity Not Included is an artistic milestone for the band, as it represents the best capture yet of the span of On The Sun’s artistic continuum, showcasing its always-shifting expanded lineups with added horns, synthesizers, and lush female guest vocalists. It also represents a new era of assured artistry after a period of tireless touring and soul searching. The self-produced seven-track collection, favors full band live on-the-floor takes as the core foundation to construct songs, and then reimagines these recordings with soulful and tasteful experimental studio wizardry.
Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings
Detroit Institute of Arts - Rivera Court | 6:00 P.M.
Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings (DCWS) is a nationally recognized ensemble that engages Detroit area audiences and enriches our region through exceptional and innovative performances of chamber music with unique repertoire and venues. DCWS will perform excerpts from Handel’s Messiah with the choir from Kirk in the Hills for Noel Night.