May Erlewine has split her heart wide open and hasn’t hidden any of the contents from view.
One of the Midwest’s most prolific and passionate songwriters, Erlewine has a gift for writing songs of substance that feel both fresh and soulfully familiar. Her ability to emotionally engage with an audience has earned her a dedicated following far beyond her Michigan roots. She shows us her heartbreak, but she also shows us her empowered and emboldened spirit. In her quest to find her most authentic self, Erlewine gifts each listener with a powerful, emotional experience that immediately connects us.
Raised in a home full of art and music, Erlewine began writing songs at a very young age. As a teenager she hitchhiked across the country, honing her skills as a performer and absorbing the kind of stories and landscapes that would inform her music. Her songs show a very real connection and concern with everyday folk. In the following years, Erlewine would perform in every kind of venue imaginable, from street corners to festival stages to the live airwaves of A Prairie Home Companion.
Erlewine draws from a wide variety of influences to create her sound. Lyrically, her songs are rooted in hard-wrought wisdom, joy and sorrow, simplicity, and stories from her own everyday experiences. Musically, these messages are wrapped up in traditional folk roots, Americana, old-time country swing, soul, and even rock and pop sensibilities. As a live performer, she is just as magnetic playing solo acoustic songs at a living room house concert as she is when supported by her carefully chosen backing bands.
With a long list of full-length albums, two EPs, and numerous collaborations, Erlewine’s catalog is proof of her creative power. Her work has been spotlighted by Rolling Stone and NBC’s The Voice. National acts who have covered her songs include Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Sawyer Fredericks (Season 8 winner of The Voice), Joshua Davis (Season 8 finalist of The Voice), Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, and others.
Erlewine uses her music as a platform for positive change. She considers her job a service-oriented one and carries the torch of the folk-singer activist. Her voice on stage encourages connectedness and stresses the importance of environmental advocacy, social justice, creative empowerment and community building as necessary work for all of us.
Erlewine’s music has touched people all over the world. Her words have held solace for weary hearts, offered a light in the darkness, and held space for the pain and joy of being alive in these times. She is a true artist, an anthem, and another example of why we need to listen to women. We need to hear these stories. When she starts to sing, there’s no way around it: The time is now.
THE SWEET WATER WARBLERS
Formed at the Hoxeyville Music Festival in 2014, The Sweet Water Warblers have gone on to attract serious admiration wherever they appear.
Michigan songbirds, Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou and May Erlewine had each carved out successful careers on the American Roots Music circuit and in the process grew to respect each others’ work. When they finally gelled into the potent force they have become, it was the most natural coming together – three singing sirens and multi-instrumentalists whose repertoire swings from gospel and bluegrass to soul and even joyful interpretations of pop. With three-part vocal harmonies that are sublime, they trade instruments including mountain fiddle and banjo, uke, guitar and double bass.
May Erlewine has the sort of soul-baring voice that move the Alan Lomaxes of the world to abandon the ivory tower for the back road of rural America. One of the most prolific and passionate songwriters of her generation, May’s music has touched the hearts of people all over the world. Her songs have been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, on Prairie Home Companion, sung in churches, played by musicians nationally and regionally and in living rooms across the land. Her words have held solace for weary hearts and her writing is for the times.
Lindsay Lou is well known as lead vocalist with her band Lindsay Lou who have toured extensively and appeared at festivals ranging from MerleFest in the USA to Shetland Festival in the UK. One of the main visiting attractions at Celtic Connections in 2017, she was nominated in 2016 Best Vocalist category by the prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association.
Rachael Davis has a broad and faithful fanbase, admired by her peers, with a reputation as one of the classiest gals on the scene. At age 21, Rachael moved to Boston to start her career as a singer-songwriter and 7 short months after joining the music community she was awarded the Boston Music Award for best new singer-songwriter. Her influences range from jazz stylings of Ella Fitzgerald to the soulful contemporary vocals of Patty Griffin – and much more in between.
MAY ERLEWINE AND THE MOTIVATIONS
On a few special dates each year, singer-songwriter May Erlewine breaks from her Americana and folk roots to front The Motivations: a seven-piece dance-party funk band that dishes up boogie jams and classic soul cuts.
The project was born in the winter of 2016, when Erlewine set out to make music and create a positive space for the weary and grieving. That idea eventually took shape in the form of retro-groove dance parties meant to get people moving, make them feel connected, and help them celebrate the moment -- and each other. The result? Shows that deliver feel-good fun and small revolutions to shake things up, just enough.
The Motivations feature Phil Barry on guitar and vocals, Joe Hettinga on synth, keys and vocals, Eric Kuhn on guitar and vocals, Max Lockwood on bass and vocals, Mike Lynch on organ and keys, Terrence Massey on trumpet and vocals, Brandon Proch on saxophone and Michael Shimmin on drums, percussion and vocals.