Generally, traditional music gets little exposure nationally. It takes perseverance, hard work, long hours and great musicianship to get the acknowledgment that may come easier with other genres. The Iron Post is hosting Red Tail Ring, a traditional duo from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with those very qualities, on Saturday.
Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp are Red Tail Ring. They have been getting good airplay on Folk programming stations, like Folk Alley, and they possess the talent and passion that warrants it. Premo and Beauchamp have been playing together as Red Tail Ring since 2009, and count some of the greatest names in traditional roots music among their inspiration and influences — Doc Watson, Mike Seeger and John Hartford, to name a few.
As Premo puts it, “These gentlemen just had the art of creative expression and instrumental fearlessness completely mastered.” Also, C-U native “Alison Krauss‘s debut tape lives in our tour van (and) gets a lot of play,” she said. While Red Tail Ring are gifted interpreters of traditional tunes, their original compositions sound as if they were handed down from the hollers of Appalachia.
Premo came to traditional Americana music from a direction that seems odd at first, until you realize that the Upper Peninsula would likely have different musical influences than, say, Urbana. Premo began her love of music listening to and playing Finnish traditional music. Beauchamp came to the roots genre from his love of the blues, which is evident in their performances.
Bright harmonies and sparse instrumentation underscore their sets, and give the music a down-home, back porch feel. It’s rare that a performance can take an audience to that place, and Red Tail Ring takes you there.
With three LPs under their belt, they show no signs of resting on their laurels. Their airplay and accolades are well deserved, and having played at the C-U Folk and Roots Festival to rave reviews, Urbana just can’t get enough of Red Tail Ring.
Samuel Payne, the the talented multi-instrumentalist and co-host of the weekly Monday night Urbana Hootenanny at the Rose Bowl will be opening for Red Tail Ring on Sunday at the Iron Post.