All Star Bios
Scott Morgan & The Sights (Rock ‘n’ Soul)
Scott Morgan is up and at ’em again in a rock & soul rendezvous with the blues-rock meets heavy pop of the Sights. Morgan, an Ann Arbor native, fronted the Rationals starting in 1964 and they charted on the Billboard Hot 100 (at #92) with a cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect.” He went on to front Detroit super group Sonic’s Rendezvous with MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith and Stooge’s drummer Scott Asheton. Later he led the Scott Morgan Band, played with Dodge Main, the Hellacopters, the Hydromatics and the Solution. The Sights, formed in 1998, and has toured the nation with accompanying Robert Plant, The Donnas and The Zombies. The Sights’ mainstay Eddie Baranek is music director at the School of Rock in Rochester.
Spyder Turner (Soul)
Any day now we’re all going to really appreciate Spyder Turner’s vocal skills. On his 1966 cover of “Stand By Me” he channeled killer imitations of Ben E. King, Smokey Robinson, Chuck Jackson and Billy Stewart – all hit-makers of the day – and made it to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. “I Can’t Make it Anymore” also charted on the Hot 100. Turner grew up in Detroit and sang in doo wop groups until winning a contest at the Apollo in New York. His career has included songwriting, and notably he penned the Top Ten hit “Do Your Dance” for Rose Royce.
Detroit Cobras (Garage Rock)
Crawling out from the weed-choked lots of the city the Detroit Cobras whip out bottom-shaking anthems to good times, wild nights, and the high and lows of L-U-V. Known for tasty covers and a stripped-down, retro sound, they’ve been under contract with the UK’s Rough Trade Records and, stateside, they’ve recorded for Bloodshot Records. Singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez are the bad girls by the exit doors at the school dance, all leather and heels, sneaking smokes and passing the flask. Surrounding themselves with a rotating cast of some of Motown’s finest rockers, the Cobras specialize in unearthing and reinvigorating the hits, near hits and sometimes total misses from the deep and groovy history of soul, and making them their own.
Liz Larin (Rock, Electronic)
Musical triple threat – rock, blues, electronica — Liz Larin is a musical chance-taker and chameleon who has won more Detroit Music Awards than Kid Rock, Bob Seger, The White Stripes, and Eminem combined. In 2008 she released a triple CD under three different monikers: Stella 13’s When the Soul Becomes a Symphony; Luster Kraft’s Transmitter; and Liz Larin’s Blue Circus Life. Declared Detroit’s goddess of rock by Jam Rag, Larin is known for her soul-searching lyrics and eclectic tracks. Although signed by Atlantic Records she turned her back on the “can you give us more sexy” L.A. music scene and returned to the Motor City to “write and play for the sheer joy of it.”
Nadir with Steffanie Christi’an (Funk Rock)
Nadir Omowale wields his guitar in the true tradition of the axe-man cutting through the completion with blues-drenched chops that rip across the sky like musical lightening. Songs such as “Slave” and “Guantanamo” show his commitment to progressive values expressed through music. If you’re looking for a warrior with the insight of a Jedi, then seek no further. Do black women rock? Steffanie Christi’an answers with an emphatic hell yea. Christi’an hits the stage with ballistic passion and power. Her pipes mows through the crowd and takes no prisoners. She formerly worked with the late rapper Big Proof of D12. This is a collaboration made in funk heaven.
Doop & the Inside Outlaws (Roots Rock)
Doop & the Inside Outlaws can deliver a working class ballad reminiscent of a Bob Seeger or Bruce Springsteen of the 1980s – with a country edge delivered by Pete Ballard’s pedal steel work. Don “Doop” Duprie’s heartfelt and straightforward songwriting caught the attention of americanaroots.com for his 2011 album What Am I Supposed to Do?, and his earlier Everett Belcher garnered a 2010 Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Country Recording and a Country Music Pride’s podcast designation of Album of the Day. Doop, a laid-off firefighter, comes by his working man’s passion and direct, no frills delivery from his native River Rouge.
Mayssa Karaa (Arabic Classical/ Jazz)
The haunting voice crooning an Arabic version of the song “White Rabbit” on the soundtrack of the movie American Hustle is that of Mayssa Karaa. After singing in a choir as a child and relocating from her native Lebanon to Boston with her family while a teenager in 2006, Karaa studied at Berklee College of Music where she came under the influence of Arabic music composer, educator, and oud and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen. At Berklee Karaa delved into a variety of world music including jazz, which meshed well with the Arabic music of her youth. Now, enriched and matured, Mayssa Karaa’s voice is ready to feed your head.
The Infatuations (R&B, Rock)
The genre-bending funky rock of this six-piece outfit has been igniting parties and scorching dance floors all over the Motor City. Known for their electrifying live shows, the group crosses genres with their divers, fun, soulful and gritty songs. The infatuations collected five 2014 Detroit Music Awards garnered from 14 total nominations. Their songwriting also provides that rich storytelling in the tradition of a Curtis Mayfield or Marvin Gaye. It gets you on your feet like Rare Earth, hits you like The MC5 and grooves you like P-Funk. That definitely sounds like something to get your juices flowing, and it’s much more than an infatuation.
Blaire Alise & the Bombshells
Blair Alise definitely “got something” going with her power pop throwback to the 50s and 60s vi
be that made this band and NPR World Café One to Watch. At just 17-years-old she’s got what it takes to rock Detroit. As the Metro Times wrote, she “isn’t “good for a 17-year-old, she’s just really … good.” There’s a certain wide-eyed-innocence to her two-minutes-and-out tunes, but they get straight to the point. Alise has a guitar and something to say honed by incessant practice with the Bombshells who lay down a happy, chord chopping groove that sticks to you like cotton candy and gumdrops.
Corktown Popes (Celtic Rock)
There’s only one gear on this cruise so get ready to feel good fast with these rockin’ Corktown Popes blessing us all with Celtic hints and tints. They just took home a 2014 Detroit Music Award for Outstanding World Music Artist with their music driven with mandolin, accordion and even the pipes. Founded in 2010, the Popes focus on energetic live performances and a strong Caledonian soul. They’ve been accused of being a Celtic band but they’ve found a unique sound that transcends such classification, having distilled their spirited music with the same craft and dedication given to a single malt whiskey.
Jess Domain (Pop, Soul)
Since backing up Aretha Franklin on the road for 3 years Jess has put her fingerprint on her own domain of bright, uplifting pop rock for numerous TV shows such as “Law & Order,” “Damages” and “Melrose Place.” Known for creating cinematic music with an edge, her voice captures our inner souls with themes of enlightenment and change. Jess writes, arranges, produces & sings every note herself. Her songwriting skills are sought after by all genres of musicians & producers because she has the ability to find a song for every situation. She was given the ASCAPLUS Songwriter Award for 2008 in recognition for her skills.
Luder (Progressive Rock)
The illumination of this quartet’s music is progressive, psychedelic and stylistically intricate as it moves smoothly through layered textures of heavy rock that has as much in common with Portishead as it does with Black Sabbath. Luder’s sound is mesmerizing and illuminating like an all night drive through the desert straight into the morning sunrise. Arising from the ashes of the band Slot, Luder thrives on a deep melodicism and an indifference attitude about delivering quick hooks – leaving plenty of space for its emotional, revealing delivery. There’s no pretension her, just a commitment to a heavy, atmospheric rock that goes straight to the back of your head.
Lamont Zodiac (Soul)
This Detroit music veteran has ripped through Detroit music with the Buzztones, Lamont Zodiac and the Love Signs (with Thornetta Davis) and even lent vocals to Was (Not Was). What’s your love sign? If it’s not in Lamont’s night sky then you don’t know Detroit rock.