Michigan actor and singer-songwriter Jeff Daniels will host and perform at a special concert in November celebrating Michigan music and homegrown musicians. The third annual “Jeff Daniels & Friends” event is set for November 29, at Ann Arbor’s historic Michigan Theater at 8 p.m.
This year’s lineup of Michigan-bred artists includes a bevy of folk, blues and jazz musicians, including Mr. B, Ann Arbor’s king of Boogie Woogie-styled music; The Ragbirds, featuring a world music flavor; the youthful, gospel sounds of B.A.S.I.C. (Brothers and Sisters in Christ); the up and coming Ben Daniels Band; and Lansing-based Steppin In It, the renowned American swing band which returns for its third performance at the event. Ticket face values range from $22.50 and $37.50 up to $75.
According to Daniels, the concert, which is being produced by Big Pickle Productions, was originally modeled after an event hosted by folk legend Arlo Guthrie.
“Arlo and friends get together every year around Thanksgiving and take over Carnegie Hall in a huge celebration of folk music,” said the actor-musician in a statement. “I wanted to do something similar to celebrate some of the great artists we have in Michigan.”
With the event selling out quickly the first two years, Daniels explained that it was an easy decision to bring it back for a third. “We had nearly 2,000 people up on their feet singing and dancing in the aisles last year and the year before,” he said. “I’d say we’ve started something big and now have our own festive, holiday tradition.”
The genesis of Daniels’ November event took root after a successful six-year run of the Purple Rose Theatre’s “Jeff Daniels Live & Unplugged” shows that led him to believe that what works over Christmas and New Year’s could also work over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“People are always looking for something fun to do when friends and relatives are in town over the holidays,” Daniels added in the statement. “We’re looking for fun-loving, foot-stomping, music-appreciating folks to come celebrate with us. We’re anticipating another great turnout, and a fun evening, and know that people will leave feeling good about Michigan music.”
Daniels, who has written more than 400 songs, explained, “For me, songwriting began as a way of passing time on movie sets. Over the years, I’ve turned the musical side of my life into a show for no other reason than I enjoy doing it.”