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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Concert preview: Folk artists Jake Blount, Laurel Premo and Nic Gareiss weave new stories & music together

Jake Blount, Laurel Premo and Nic Gareiss side-by-side
Jake Blount
Jake Blount, Laurel Premo and Nic Gareiss

Innovative folk artists Jake Blount, Laurel Premo and Nic Gareiss will appear at 5 pm on Saturday, April 1 at Dale B. Lake Auditorium, presented by the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival. They’re on a U.S. tour that takes them to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Savannah Music Festival and Boston’s Club Passim, among other venues. During a break from rehearsing, they spoke with Cara Lieurance about how they first crossed paths at Gareiss’ music and dance camp in Mecosta, MI in 2015.

Narrowing down ideas for the set list has been the hard part, they say. One song, “Jack Haggerty,” collected in Michigan by Ivan Walton and Alan Lomax in the 1930s, has come together with contributions from all three. They describe the process of making a finished version of the unrequited love song.

Blount, Premo and Gareiss all have an interest in studying the traditions they bring together to perform, not just by practicing, memorizing songs and collecting stories from older practitioners, but with formal study at the graduate level as well. They also seek to widen acceptance in their fields by representing and embracing the queer community.

Cara Lieurance covers local music with live morning interviews, and produces WMUK's Let's Hear It weekday mornings at 10 am Mon-Fri, showcasing local interviews and performances. She also produces The Pure Drop, an hour of Celtic music, with musician Dave Marlatt.