Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 8 p.m.
“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.
ALASDAIR FRASER & NATALIE HAAS
Thursday, March 14, 2019, 8 p.m.
Fiddle and cello, renewing Scots traditions
Recognized as one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced, Alasdair Fraser combines terrific stage presence, a deep understanding of centuries of Scottish tradition, and a sweet tone that makes the heartstrings resonate in sympathetic vibration when he lays on the Celtic melancholy. He’s joined on stage by his newest collaborator, the young American cellist Natalie Haas, who first came to his attention when she was 11 and attended one of his Valley of the Moon Scottish fiddling camps. Haas’s cello has both melodic and rhythmic roles in the duo, and according to Fraser that’s nothing new in Scots music. “People may be familiar with the gorgeous, melodic cello sound,” he has said, “but they’re surprised to learn that the cello used to comprise the rhythm section in Scottish dance bands.” They come to Michigan with a new album, “Ports of Call.”