This weekend at The Ark: RFD Boys, Fruit Bats and Rodney Crowell


Friday,  April 13, 2018, 8:00pm
Door: $11, $10 mem, sr, st
The house band of Michigan bluegrass
The RFD Boys have been delighting southeastern Michigan audiences since 1969 with their fabulous musicianship and sly, exquisitely timed between-song humor. With an appearance on the cover of Bluegrass Unlimited, with songs recorded by the likes of the Country Gentlemen, and with performances alongside bluegrass greats like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, the RFD Boys are a part of America’s bluegrass tradition. One of southeastern Michigan’s most durable musical ensembles, they’re very much a local tradition, too. If you’re new to the area, come and check ’em out–you’ll find a real slice of musical Ann Arbor, and probably make some new friends!

FRUIT BATS (solo) & VETIVER (solo)

Saturday, April 14, 8pm

Tickets: $20

Solo incarnations of two adventurous bands

Fruit Bats is Eric D. Johnson is Fruit Bats, and Andy Cabic is Vetiver. Both play with bands, but sometimes they play solo—and join forces. “I’m finding my identity again,” Eric says, “which is somehow, weirdly this dumb fake punk rock name that I put on a four-track tape.” Fruit Bats’ sixth album, “Absolute Loser,” represents a triumphant return to name, form, and self. Despite implications, its title refers to the furthest depths of loss itself, rather than the state of those who have lost something. It’s the most honest, most confessional album of Fruit Bats’ career. “Vetiver is what I’ve been calling my songs and recordings since about 2003 or so,” says Andy. “I live in San Francisco, have since 1998.” Vetiver too comes to The Ark with new music. “The songs on ‘Complete Strangers’ bear some resemblance to the album’s title,” They share things in common but come from different places, different times. …I’m still figuring the album out. It feels like someone I’ve just met yet known for a long time.”


Sunday, April 15, 1pm

Tickets: $20, Youth/Senior $15, 4-pack $60

A benefit for Wild Swan Theater

Information and tickets at



Sunday, April 15, 2018, 7:30pm

Tickets: $40

“One of the great singer-songwriters in country, in America”—New York Observer

Rodney Crowell is one of country music’s most successful songwriters, but the deadly seriousness in his music was always there for those with ears to hear. “Dad drove a stock car to an early death/All I remember was a drunk man’s breath,” sang Waylon Jennings as he took Crowell’s “Ain’t Living Long Like This” to the top of the charts. Since the turn of the millennium, Crowell has been on a roll, releasing personal, ambitious albums to wide critical acclaim. With his autobiographical masterpiece “The Houston Kid,” he took an unflinching look at his own down-and-out upbringing, and he comes to The Ark with a new album, “Close Ties,” that flows from the same sources and has been nominated for an Americana Music Association Album of the Year award.


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