Growing up in suburban Detroit and influenced by the dynamic music scene of the city and the ’60s/’70s in general, Bob Downes and Jim Moore of Acoustic Dynamite, started playing in their teens and developed a playful, soulful style that embraces everything from Latin to reggae to Sinatra. They’ve done acoustic versions of the MC5 and the Rolling Stones, mixed in with the pure Americana of Bob Dylan and Hank Williams and then mixing it up with teen angst ballads, cowboy tunes and “whatever” from the ’50s. Together, they’ve enjoyed the dozen or so tribute to Dylan shows they’ve performed as Dylan is their go-to songwriter and they’ve done as many as 25 of his songs at these tribute shows. About a year ago they performed the entire “Blood on the Tracks” album live.
To keep the music fresh and alive, they say they often challenge themselves with new songs, with the more difficult ones being the most fun to play. And of course, they write original songs too. When asked how their audience helps them get–and stay– in the groove, they agreed that it’s always great when people get up and dance and they’ll also often call members of the audience up onstage to sing a few, such as the chorus in Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
[Occasionally, percussionist Mike Cantrell, manager of Radiology at Munson Medical Center, joins them on stage, upping the ante on the energy of their sometimes standing-room-only audiences]
Bob, who is the former co-publisher and editor of Northern Express, considers himself more of a songwriter/singer because he loves words. Since retiring in 2013, he has written 3 books and hopes to have a novel about the Ojibwe Indians picked up by a mainstream publisher this year. As a performer he shares that there is no greater rush than nailing a song and feeling the love from the audience.
Jim on the other hand, says he enjoys making music –because it’s a form of communication that feels natural for him as he is not a man of many words, but hand him a guitar and he can play for hours. As a musical performer, he loves the sense that anything can happen–every audience is different– “Because music is a shared experience, when the audience joins in with the music it gets bigger in a sense.”. He likes that they never over-rehearse a song so it is always open to be added to as they are playing, “When you play together with someone for a number of years you become very tuned in to where the other person is going with the song, so you may wind up in a different place that what you practiced anyway”.
It is this improvisational and creative freedom that makes for a show that truly echoes their band name– acoustic dynamite, ignited by a shared openness for the adventure of a performance, with the carefully cultivated craftsmanship of artists who’ve clearly honed their skills.
We’re thrilled to bring Acoustic Dynamite into our tasting room as part of our Friday Night Music Series. They’ll be here on April 8 from 6-9pm. With our cozy and intimate performance space, you’re likely in for an opportunity to sing along, or at least be up close and personal with these incredibly fun and talented musical collaborators.