We miss our “Ark Family” – the artists who share their music on our stage and our community of music lovers. Until we can be physically together again, we have launched the Ark Family Room Series. Ark Family Room shows are free and streamed to The Ark’s Facebook page. Some shows are also available on our YouTube channel as well. Donations to the “virtual tip jar” during shows support both The Ark and the participating artists.
Joshua Davis – Friday, September 11, 8pm
“The Voice” of Michigan Music
Speaking or singing, the voice of Joshua Davis is a disarming instrument: weathered and warm, as capable of conjuring confessional intimacy on a global stage as it is of making a small room, well off the beaten path, resonate with startling urgency and power. Couple it with an earnest poetic sensibility, a boundless work ethic, and an uncanny gift for connecting with audiences spanning generations, and it’s no wonder that Davis is now poised at the brink of the sort of widespread recognition that typically passes right over such a humble troubadour.
Over the past twenty years, Michigan-based Davis has honed an impressive range of skills – songwriter, bandleader, guitarist, and vocalist among them – in the most honest possible fashion: night after night, song after song, show after show Davis simply delivered every performance as though his life depended on it. Investing himself in the American musical diaspora, he has explored the common thread connecting folk, blues, jazz, ragtime, and country forms – discovering his personal perspective as a composer in the process.
Nadim Azzam – Wednesday, September 16, 8pm
A new hip-hop, alt-rock jazz fusion from Michigan
Nadim Azzam brings his passion as a lyricist, MC, guitarist, and soul singer to the Ark. At 25, this young Ann Arborite built a name with his heartfelt, rap-laced solo acoustic set, and has been amassing a national following in love with his rapid-fire hip-hop delivery fused with the sincerity of a 1950s love song balladeer. His original music is a hip-hop, alt-rock, jazz fusion that uplifts and inspires, bringing that feel-good, smile worthy element found in Ed Sheeran, Michael Franti, and G Love & The Special Sauce. His powerful debut EP, Here’s to Changes Vol. 1, already landed him a nationwide campus tour with Matisyahu. Nadim comes to the Family Room with music from his soon-to-be-released full-length debut album.
Justin Roberts – Saturday, September 19, 11am
“The Judy Blume of kiddie rock”
Three-time GRAMMY Nominated Justin Roberts is truly one of the all-stars of the indie family music scene. For nearly 20 years, Justin has been crafting songs for kids and parents that navigate the joys and sorrows of growing up. Along with his band, The Not Ready for Naptime Players, he has traveled the globe, from Hong Kong to New York, and Miami to Seattle. He comes to Michigan with a new album, “Wild Life,” that he calls “an introspective exploration of the joys and fears of bringing a new one into this ‘wild life.'” Justin has performed in front of millions of people on the Today show; he’s been featured on Nick Jr.; and his song “Get Me Some Glasses” was featured on a World Series broadcast.
Dani Darling – Tuesday, September 22, 8pm
Alternative soul from Ann Arbor
Dani Darling made her media debut in 1984—as one of a set of triplets born in Ann Arbor. She sang with her sisters as a girl, and later did stints in a reggae band and in the hip-hop collective The Black Opera. But, she told the Metro Times, she wasn’t sure hip-hop was the right direction for her: “I was like, who am I? So I was trying to figure it out. I’m more of an acoustic artist, you know. I write with my guitar, I have a big background in, like, old movie musicals and jazz. My favorite vocalist is Ella Fitzgerald, and Thom Yorke is one of my biggest inspirations.” A new sound came together, featuring classic influences like R&B and jazz as well as new sounds like lo-fi and chillwave, all fused in her own original songs that often have a cosmic tinge. Dani released her debut album, “Nocturne,” last year. She’s a rising star on the Michigan scene, named an artist to watch by Current last year, and we’re excited to welcome her for her Ark debut in the Family Room.
John Gorka – Sunday, September 27, 7:30pm
“The preeminent male singer-songwriter of the New Folk Movement” –Rolling Stone
The modern renaissance of folk music began when John Gorka won the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk award in 1984, and it grew to maturity when he released his debut album, “I Know,” three years later. Here was a singer-songwriter with a striking baritone voice that made you feel like you’d been hearing it all your life, with the songwriting chops to take on and see into nearly every type of song—from personal pieces about love and sadness, to bemused observations about daily life, political thinking-aloud, and sheer unmitigated whimsy. Three and a half decades later, John still calls himself an aspiring folksinger, and his music has just kept getting deeper and better over his 15 critically acclaimed albums. John isn’t on the road as much as he used to be, so don’t miss this chance to catch a folk classic.
David Berkeley – Wednesday, September 30, 8pm
“A lustrous melancholy voice with shades of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake”
– New York Times
Singer-songwriter David Berkeley has been compared to both Cat and Sufjian Stevens as well as a host of other literate songwriters and he comes to the Ark Family Room with his most intimate and poignant release yet, Oh Quiet World, written during the lockdown after his family escaped Spain due to Corona. “I wrote a song a day that first week back,” Berkeley explains. “Songwriting gave me a way to process my fears and frustrations. It gave me a purpose, something small I could contribute.” David Berkeley’s gift as a songwriter and storyteller is that he sees both the tragedy and comedy in life, managing to both reveal the sorrow and the blazing beauty at the heart of the human condition. It’s a duality that audiences experience at all of Berkeley’s shows as well, as he tells uproarious stories between cathartic songs.