Celebrating ten years, Acoustic Routes finished off a weekend of music at Stony Lake Brewing in Saline with Wilson Thicket.
Celebrating Ten Years of Acoustic Routes with Wilson Thicket
I love Wilson Thicket. After first catching them last summer at the Summer Beer Fest, it was a no-brainer to pick up a ticket to see them at Stony Lake Brewing in Saline. This little brewery tucked into a strip mall is a delight. The room is cozy and perfect for a night of acoustic music. With tasty beer, cider, seltzer, and wine, Stony Creek Brewing has you covered. They even have free popcorn! This weekend’s show with Wilson Thicket was part of a 10th anniversary celebration for the Acoustic Routes concert series.
Acoustic Routes began in Saline at Mangiamo Italian Grill in 2013. Since 2017, Stony Lake Brewing has been its home. Jim Cain created the series to facilitate performances from local acoustic artists. This has blossomed into over 100 shows featuring hometown musicians as well as traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and Iceland, to name a few. Acoustic Routes is a labor of love, as all the ticket sales from each event go to the artists. If that wasn’t enough, Jim also spearheads an annual benefit concert to support the Breakfast Program at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor. Take a deeper dive into this wonderful interview with Jim Cain by Lori Stratton at the Ann Arbor Library’s Pulp site.
It’s More Than Bluegrass
With a brief intro from Jim Cain, we were swept into the beautiful melodies and lush harmonies of Wilson Thicket. If you are new to Wilson Thicket, they are Jason Dennie (mandolin/guitar/vocals), Aaron Markovitz (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Keith Billik (banjo/vocals), and Scott Kendall (bass).
Their original music is flat-out inspiring and captivating. “In My Arms” recalls classic country music with a driving upbeat and ringing harmony. I nearly had to stop shooting photos for a bit when they started playing “3 Stones in the River.” I will always struggle to share with you what I feel when I hear this song. Is it the melody? Is it the heart-wrenching harmonies of Jason and Aaron’s voices? I don’t know my friends, but a surge of emotion threatens to overtake me. I watched and listened as this music bore into me.
Another dazzling song Wilson Thicket enthralled us with is “This December.” It evokes renewal even as the winter threatens to freeze our souls. Part of what makes Wilson Thicket so entertaining is the musical interplay on stage. Songs like “Bartimaeus” and “Honey Hangover” let everyone in the band spread their wings and fly. Even Scott, who keeps the band grounded with his strong and steady bass, gets a chance to let it rip.
In addition to a few Doc Watson covers Wilson Thicket has some fun with “Midnight Moonlight” by Peter Rowan. The riffs and licks tumbling water in a babbling brook. The band makes a hard left outside of the bluegrass domain with a fabulous cover of “And She Was” by the Talking Heads. Wilson Thicket takes the bouncing rhythm and quirky riffs in this song and makes it their own while keeping all the joy of the original happily splashing inside. Another stellar and very fun cover is “I Want A New Drug” by Huey Lewis and the News. I may have been belting out a few lines along with the band to this highly infectious tune.
Two hours of music felt more like two minutes. Wilson Thicket gave us two sets of amazing music. The power of their music to light you up cannot be denied. The warmth and community shared through music (and a few beers) thanks to Acoustic Routes and Stony Lake Brewing is a gift I am so thankful to receive.
We’ve got a few more pictures of Wilson Thicket at Stony Lake Brewing in our gallery.
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