We made a quick trip to Cadillac, Michigan on Saturday, May 8, and combined a Mother’s Day visit with a trip out to the Gopherwood Concert Series. On Stage: Detour Bluegrass. Gopherwood concerts are held at the Elks Club in downtown Cadillac. Jeff Rose said it was is funky to play bluegrass under the Elk heads. Our friend Jimmy, who is the Detour sound man, said it is hard to control the sound in the oddly shaped old room and high ceilings. I think most of the bands we have seen lately would love to play to a crowd on 200+ in a third floor room of an old downtown building.
(L-R Peter Knupfer, Kevin Gaugier, Jeff Rose, Missy Armstrong, Zak Bunce, Scott Zylstra)
Detour’s Jeff Rose traces his family roots to Kentucky, like so many Michigan pickers. I remember him singing and playing at the Wheatland Music Festival, more years ago that I will admit. The folk music movement in northern Michigan grew in, around, and out of Wheatland, which continues to present diverse acoustic and roots music to a large audience. Rose’s solid song writing is the foundation of the Detour sound.
Zak Bunce and his sister Rachel Davis performed with their family band, Lake Effect, at Wheatland and all across the area for many years. They began at a young age and just grew up singing and playing. Jeff Rose said Zak, “Grew up under our feet”. It was great to see his Mom, Tiyi Schippers introduce Detour, and watch her “proud Mom” smile on Mother’s Day weekend.
There is no weak link in this band, Peter, Kevin and Scott combine with Jeff and Zak to provide strong instrumentals which are on par with any national touring band. Missy Armstrong just joined the band; that addition pumped up the harmony vocals and added another great lead vocal. Detour is riding high, the Jeff Rose penned “My Life Just Ain’t a Bluegrass Song”, from their latest release is #30 on the WAMU Bluegrass Unlimited top 30 count down. That is quite an accomplishment for a band playing for broad, acoustic audiences, mostly in Michigan. I love the band’s sound that never leaves tradition far behind. Make no mistake, this is a very good band.