ANN ARBOR — The timing of the announcement couldn’t have been more perfect.
With hundreds of regional folk artists gathered in west Michigan late last month for the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference in Grand Rapids, the Ann Arbor Folk Festival announced its lineup for its 42nd annual event taking place in January 2019.
Brandi Carlile, Rufus Wainwright, Gregory Alan Isakov, I’m With Her and Pokey LaFarge were part of the initial announcement of renowned national acts playing the Jan. 25-26 festival at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, raising funds for The Ark, a historic concert venue.
A week later, organizers announced a big-name addition to its Saturday night lineup: Joan Osborne’s Dylanology featuring Jackie Greene — a touring band paying tribute to the music of the legendary Bob Dylan.
As always, a couple of regional artists are part of the bill, too, with the Petoskey-bred Americana/folk-rock band Michigan Rattlers — who’ve garnered growing national attention over the past year — performing on Friday night, and Ann Arbor bluegrass legends The RFD Boys playing Saturday. Wisconsin singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey will serve as emcee.
The Michigan Rattlers, featuring Petoskey natives Graham Young on guitar, Adam Reed on upright bass and Christian Wilder on piano, recently released their full-length debut album, “Evergreen,” after earning national media attention from the likes of No Depression, Paste, Billboard and Rolling Stone, which named the band one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.” The band is now based in Los Angeles.
"We are so excited to be part of the Ann Arbor Festival,” Young said. “Every year, they put together an incredible lineup and to be included in this year’s festival is a dream come true.
“Hill Auditorium is a historic venue and I’m sure the feeling we’ll get when taking the stage will be one we won’t soon forget."
Canadian musician AHI, Massachusetts’ alt-folk act Parsonsfield, Portland songwriter Haley Heynderickx and Nashville singer-songwriter Sam Lewis fill out the bill for the Ann Arbor Folk Festival.
Washington’s Brandi Carlile, who first played The Ark back in 2007, has earned widespread accolades for her music and recently released her sixth studio album, “By The Way, I Forgive You.” Carlile will headline Friday night’s lineup.
Rufus Wainwright, meanwhile, is a multi-faceted and charismatic indie-pop artist whose latest album, 2016’s “Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets,” commemorated the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Wainwright will headline the festival on Saturday night.
Tickets go on sale to the general public starting Nov. 30, by phone at 734-763-TKTS, in person or online at theark.org. Tickets are $42.50-$60 for one night; $75-$110 for both nights.
Presented by The Ark and Ford Motor Company Fund with support from the University of Michigan Center for Campus Involvement, the long-running folk festival is described as offering “the full spectrum of ‘Ark music,’ presenting a taste of what’s happening on the leading edge of acoustic music while delving into the very heart of folk and roots traditions.”