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M897 Artist Spotlight


From the M897 Spotlight to Grammy Nominations

Story by LCC Radio Reporter Sarah Spohn

Imagine finding a new reason to be smitten with the mitten, each and every day. That’s how we feel here at LCC Radio each time we find an up and coming artist that calls our Great Lakes State home. With every record label signing, management deal, song placement, sold-out show, and worldwide recognition of new albums, we feel like proud parents. Just because the interview is over, or the upcoming show has passed, doesn’t mean we’re done supporting Michigan musicians. In fact, we love to keep in touch. Here’s an update on what’s been happening with some of our past M897 artist spotlight musicians and bands, since the last time we spoke to them.

Tell Yo Mama's album Enjoy Yo SelfTell Yo Mama - December 2016 M897 Artist

The seven-piece rhythm and blues, Lansing funk rock group self-released their second album, Enjoy Yourself in November 2018. They even invited fans to be part of an interactive, live music video shoot for one of their new songs, which is yet to be released. The group also shared stages with March 2015 M897 Spotlight Artist, Larry McCray as part of the Salute to Vets event. Tell Yo Mama played countless festivals over the summer, including Petoskey Festival on the Bay, Taste of Downtown Lansing, Moloney’s Michigan Beerfest in Sault Ste. Marie, and more!

Jake Kershaw in concertJake Kershaw - March 2018 M897 Artist

Albion resident Jake Kershaw is an old soul, who has shared stages with legendary blues musicians who are decades older than the 17-year-old guitarist. Despite still being a teenager, this kid’s resume continues to impress, he’s sponsored by Heritage Guitars and Apex strings, and the list will likely grow. The band played the WYCE Blue Bridge Music Fest during Grand Rapids' Art Prize, Ann Arbor Blues Festival, Kalamazoo State Theatre, and a slew of other summer music fests. As for the books, the Jake Kershaw Band has secured spots, playing with Thornetta Davis in April, and Larry McCray in June (both m897 artist spotlight alumni) at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. We’re guessing that’s just two of many more amazing lineups the up-and-coming group will be on in the upcoming seasons.

Handsome Pete in concertHandsome Pete - June 2018 M897 Artist

2018 proved to boost Handsome Pete’s rock reputation quite, well, uh, handsomely? The Lansing band opened up for Wilson, Wayland, and Pop Evil at Grand Rapids’ 20 Monroe Live venue. Lineup changes ensued, with the addition of new member Wil Pruitt as lead guitarist. The band penned a deal with Curtain Call Records, a full-service record label and management company. Last month, the band held a fundraiser to help with their upcoming trip to Las Vegas in February – where they’ve got a chance to play at #happens -- a special active rock/alternative radio, label & music community curated event, and we’re stoked for the guys.


The War & Treaty album "Healing Tide"The War & Treaty - October 2017 M897 Artist

This husband-wife-duo’s sounds are certainly vintage inspired, but the Albion couple’s future continues to look brighter by the day. The War & Treaty performed with Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff, Kacey Musgraves and more at Punta Canta's All The Best Festival. The band also embarked on their first U.S. headline tour and their debut record, Healing Tide, was named in the top 40 best Country and Americana Albums of 2018 by Rolling Stone. Even with big names and a growing fame, family is still everything for the group, as they released a children’s book, inspired by their son. “On Tour with Legend” chronicles what it’s like having their son grow up with the band, while on the road. The band also opened up for a sold-out Bob Seger show and played at the Country Music Hall of Fame 2018 Medallion Ceremony..

Greta Van Fleet's album "Anthem of the Peaceful Army"Greta Van Fleet - August 2017 M897 Artist

You know that line questioning what came first – the chicken or the egg? Well this little infamous German town of Frankenmuth, known for its chicken, has hatched quite the egg. The egg has grown up to be the family rock band Greta Van Fleet; twin brothers, a younger brother, and a family friend. They’re proving to leave quite the memorable taste, being compared to iconic ‘70s rock bands like Led Zeppelin. They’ve been nominated for four 2019 Grammys – Best New Artist, Best Rock Song (“Black Smoke Rising”), Best Rock Album (From The Fires EP), and Best Rock Performance (“Highway Tune”). They released their debut record, Anthem of the Peaceful Army October 2018, debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales and Top Rock Albums charts, and #3 on the Billboard 200 chart. Greta Van Fleet is scheduled to make their debut performance on “Saturday Night Live” on Jan. 19.

Nick Piunti in recording studioNick Piunti - January 2015 M897 Artist

Nick Piunti’s practically stayed in the charts the entire 2018. WXNA in Nashville chose “No Return” as their favorite pop song in 2018. The tune also features other M897 artist alumni Donny Brown on the track. “Keep Me Guessing” also spun on Little Steven's (of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band’s) Underground Garage. We’ve also noticed a slight name change, Nick Piunti & The Complicated Men, but with all the recognition Temporary High is getting, we’re guessing they’ve kind of figured out the whole making music thing by now. The record was also included in Powerpopaholic’s Top 40 LP’s of 2018, WDET’s best of Detroit and Michigan-based artists of 2018, best of 2018 on the Faster & Louder list, and probably more lists we don’t have room for. There doesn’t appear to be anything temporary about the long-lasting reach of Nick Piunti’s powerful pop rock songs if you ask us.

Mike Mains & the BranchesMike Mains & the Branches - July 2013 M897 Artist

Things were kinda quiet on the Mike Mains & the Branches front for the past few years since their last album release four years ago. They worked hard at writing and recording a record in 2016 and 2017, but weren’t proud of the final product. In 2018, the group announced they’re raising funds via Kickstarter for their new record, When We Were in Love. Mike Mains & the Branches released a single, “Breathing Underwater,” and dropped a dreamy Michigan beach-inspired music video for their new song, “Endless Summer.” We can’t wait to hear what this Tooth & Nail Records release sounds like – we’re gonna call it now – music to our ears. Our ears, and the other 241 backers who pledged $8,100 to bring their third full-length studio album to life on the Kickstarter.


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