DENISON WITMER // 4. ADVENT // All the way from Michigan not Mars” featuring Rosie Thomas, Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer

M:Soundtrack + .Hbc + Ctm concerts presents on Sunday, 19.12. 2010 @ 20 Uhr in Hbc. // A SCREENING of the tour documentary “All the way from Michigan not Mars” featuring Rosie Thomas, Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer + followed by a CONCERT with : DENISON WITMER (PHILADELPHIA/US)

*Screening begins promptly @ 8 p.m. followed by Concert. Don’t be late !!

Denison Witmer (US) // Denison’s last album Carry the Weight nods towar…d the ‘70s singer-songwriters (such as Jackson Browne, Carol King, and Leonard Cohen) that have served as Witmer‘s inspiration since his earliest recordings. Witmer captures the lyrical honesty and serene, poignant tone crafted by these earlier songwriters, transforming it into something entirely personal and entirely his own. His new album will be coming out in spring 2011.

“(Witmer) sounds ready: cannily fleshing out his sound with help from friends (Sufjan Stevens, James McAlister, Don and Karen Peris of The Innocence Mission), but never losing sight of the style he’s honed for years” –

“We are smitten with these sweet drowsy ditties… (Witmer’s) modest reach and pensive melodies could easily get lost in the white noise of contemporary culture, it would be a shame, though, to miss tiny gems like these…”– Entertainment Weekly

“All ten song are grounding, modest, instinctive, flowing, and undoubtedly human. Witmer’s smooth, soft voice combined with his observant, fleeting lyrics provide scenes of love and life in a softly patient and optimistic light…. Picking songs to praise for this review is a bit difficult since they’re all worthwhile, that’s right, there’s nary a dud out of these ten songs, not one.” –

Read more:

Film // All the way from Michigan not Mars

Using intimate live performances with fellow songwriters Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer as a pathway, All the Way from Michigan Not Mars is a meditative exploration of Rosie Thomas’ work as it connects to her as a human being. Often raising more questions than answers, the film is a lyrical examination of Thomas’ quest for an expression of truth and her unique brand of performance; combining songs of plaintive melancholy with sharpwitted banter and Sheila, her bizarre stand-up comedian alter ego.

Featuring: Rosie Thomas, Sufjan Stevens, Denison Witmer, Damien Jurado and Sheila Saputo

review TINY MIX TAPES by Paul Bower

All The Way From Michigan Not Mars // is fundamentally a classic tour doc, interweaving concert and public radio interview footage with spare moments in which Rosie recounts pivotal events that informed her unique artistic temperament. Growing up in Livonia, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), Thomas’ musical family instilled in her a savage curiosity that has propelled her toward a variety of different forms of musical expression, most within the boundaries of an acoustic aesthetic. I’ll admit that the neo-folk movement has never been my bag, but what is most striking about Thomas’ monologues about her life is their almost universal appeal. The singer/songwriter delves into what makes her keep going, what she thinks about art, and why she remains so incredibly optimistic about everything.

What is best in All The Way From Michigan Not Mars is its way of capturing candid moments of levity onstage, as Witmer, Stevens and Thomas all take turns being adorably self-deprecating (but never too cute). In one interlude, Thomas tells the story of Sheila Saputo. Somewhere along the road to indie stardom, Thomas created Sheila as an alter-ego comedienne to entertain concertgoers before her performances. Sheila is, in many ways, a feminine embodiment of the awkward humor of Neil Hamburger, dressed in frumpy clothes, with a neck-brace and arm sling, and a pair of ridiculous coke-bottle glasses to compliment her surrealistically absurd act. The character illuminates the great emphasis Thomas puts upon play in both music and life.

Thomas’ fans will most definitely love this documentary, with its perfectly captured audio and extensive live footage, but that sort of goes without saying when talking about music docs. To those completely unfamiliar with Thomas (like my wife), however, the documentary should still prove both illuminating and highly entertaining. For a film about an independent artist with fairly obscure sensibilities to turn out so engrossing is a rare feat indeed.

Location// .Hbc is located at Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 9
10178 Berlin across from Alexanderplatz / Rote Rathaus

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