This weekend at The Ark: Mipso; David Mayfield Parade Show; Kneebody

Mipso w/sg Bridget Kearney & Benjamin Lazar Davis
Friday, January 24, 2020, 8 pm
Tickets: $20
Renegade traditional music from North Carolina
Chapel Hill’s indie Americana quartet Mipso—Jacob Sharp (mandolin, vocals), Wood Robinson (bass, vocals), Joseph Terrell (guitar, vocals), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle, vocals)—just keeps growing in reach and was recently signed to the longtime New England folk label Rounder. Influenced by the contradiction of its progressive home and the surrounding rural southern landscapes, Mipso has been hailed as “hewing surprisingly close to gospel and folk while still sounding modern and secular” (Acoustic Guitar) and was recently recognized by Rolling Stone as an “Artist You Need to Know.” The band brings a unique sound, full of wistful beauty, hopeful undercurrents, and panoramic soundscapes. Venturing ever further from its string-band pedigree to discover a broader Americana where classic folk-rock and modern alt-country sounds mingle easily with Appalachian tradition, Mipso’s music is lush and forward moving, with lyrics that sear and salve in turn. Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive) and Benjamin Lazar Davis open.

Saturday, January 25, 2020, 8 pm
Tickets: $20
Daring eclecticism in a comic, entertaining show
If you’ve seen David Mayfield perform with The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, or Jessica Lea Mayfield, or at Bonnaroo (or at The Ark)—or as MC at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival—you’ve caught the charisma, the heart, and the comedy, and you’re likely ready for more. With eclectic, cinematic songs that stir up images of the old West and urban cityscapes, the singer-songwriter-bandleader takes chances musically and delves into adventurous production while still tapping into bluegrass roots. David’s live shows are lively and sometimes comical. He grew up playing bass and touring with his family’s bluegrass band. As a teenager he established himself as a hot picker, collecting national awards for his dexterity on guitar and mandolin. Conscious of being not just a musician, but an entertainer—something his father instilled in him in the family band—he certainly makes an impression live. But it’s the strength of his songwriting and musicianship, combined with that charm and personality, that keep audiences coming back again and again. The David Mayfield Parade’s current lineup gets back to bluegrass roots with fiddler Christine King, banjoist Steven Moore, and bassist Andrew Bonnis.

Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, 7:30 pm
Tickets: $25

A totally new improvisatory mix
In their almost two-decade history, the Grammy-nominated band Kneebody has created a genre and style all its own. Their sound is explosive rock energy and high-level nuanced chamber ensemble playing set within the frames of highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvising. Kneebody is keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer/bassist Nate Wood. The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; they’ve developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant. Says The New York Times: “There isn’t a handy term or genre for the music that Kneebody creates. It’s a band thoroughly acquainted with 1960s free-bop, 1970s jazz rock, 1990s hip-hop and postmillennial indie rock; along with classical postminimalism. (I’m leaving something out, I’m sure.) Whatever the terminology, this group has an audience.”