Featured Artist: Wake Up Autumn
Michigan’s music scene is as grounded and diverse as the state’s natural environment. Each season brings a different mood, offering Michiganders the chance to find their comfort in the changing landscape. Some take comfort in the blues, soothing an aching soul from love lost or a hard day’s work. Others find inspiration in the symphonic realm, delighting in rich heritage of many of music’s greatest composers. Outside of the flavor palette of pumpkin spiced drinks and the donning of knitted sweaters, this transitional time from summer to fall is a magical part of Michigan life. One beautiful way that this mood is captured is through the acoustic sounds of Wake Up Autumn, a duo who is grounded in the experiences they share with many others in this state. The Grand Rapids folk duo, consisting of Josh Eid-Ries and Rachel Varley, have both been very active members of their city. Volunteering at the Well House, working towards educating the city on environmentally friendly lifestyle and business choices, and performing with other music and theater groups have led these two to create this project. The music is seeping with authenticity, it doesn’t sugar coat the music and it leaves the performers bearing their hearts for the world to hear.
The group’s genuine enthusiasm for performing the music they love and connecting with audience members is present in their constant smiles, gazing from each other towards listeners with such infectious joy. Often when they start to move to their own music, you see even the most uptight, prim-and-proper individuals begin to tap their feet, bob their heads, and let their visage down to take in the experience. Their music is grounding, reminding us all to enjoy life and recognize the great variety nature presents us Michiganders. Each track on their latest, self-titled release emphasizes a great part about this time of year: seasons changing, the great moments by one of the many lakes in summer, robin’s serenading the mornings and campfires closing out the evenings. My personal favorite track is “Robin Song,” a song that puts me into a reflective mood of more innocent times, seeing the colors of the trees and wildlife that inhabit them. Right from the beginning of that song you feel like you’ve come home to family and friends, sitting comfortably in good company. Tracks like these that keep the album spirited, expressing the group’s desire to keep engaging with the listener.
Sure, I could dissect the songs in minute detail with my music degree, I could point out every cadence and delivery while justifying the artist’s decision in a way that pulls even the most stubborn music snob out of their opinionated bubble. However, I would rather let the music speak for itself, because that is what Wake Up Autumn does best: communicate their passions and struggles through an engaging, genuine sound that delights in the variety life presents.
Go pick up their album! You can contact them through their Facebook page regarding CDs and you can find the music online through their Bandcamp site! Who knows, maybe they’ll be playing in your neighborhood soon?