with video: A homecoming for northern Michigan's May Erlewine, Seth Bernard Friday night at The Ark
“We both lived in Ann Arbor at different times in our life,” said Erlewine. “We really love that town. It’s a second hometown for me of sorts. I grew up with my parents going there very often and they had a of of good friends and relatives.”
The couple will return to The Ark Friday night. They met in 2003, when he was a performer at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival and she was attending. That same year, Erlewine (as Daisy May, a nickname she’s had since childhood) cut her first album for Earthwork Music, the independent label affiliated with the Bernard family's collective farm near Lake City. In early 2006, they released their first duo LP, “Seth Bernard and Daisy May.”
The Erlewine name is well known in Ann Arbor. May’s father, Michael Erlewine, a talented musician in his own right, founded the “All Music Guide” here, and launched the mid-1960s band The Prime Movers, which for a time had a drummer who later became famous as Iggy Pop. Both of May’s sisters also attended the University of Michigan, as did Bernard.May Erlewine said she and Bernard recently moved to the Kalkaska area, still near the Lake City farm, but to new, bigger digs than they had on the farm.
“The house was too small we were living in a one-room shack. It was pretty rustic,” she said, adding that one plus of the new place is there’s room do some home recording.
Bernard and Erlewine are also part of the musical and environmental activist community in the Midwest, and have taken their message across the country and beyond. Their music reflects that commitment.
“We went to Ethiopia (in 2011) with an organization called On the Ground in efforts to raise money to build schools there,” Erlewine said. “We wrote a whole album inspired by that three-week journey called ‘New Flower.’ That’s our more recent duo album. Then I just released an album called ‘The Long Way Home,’ and that was a project I did mostly on my own, right after we got our new recording equipment and I was experimenting with that.
“We’ve been in the studio a lot with friends, and Seth’s working on some new tunes right now and he’s hoping to having an album to record pretty, soon so we’re looking at that,” she added.
Fans can expect some of that new material at The Ark show, which will consist of just the two of them, sans guest musicians,
“We both are steadily writing,” Erlewine said. “We’re actually going to do just the two of us for the first time in a really long time at The Ark. We brought a band there for many, many years (but) I don’t think we’ve played there as a duo since we were first getting together.”