We've been a little lax here regarding recent news about our old friend Stewart Francke, who's not only one of this region's better-known and dedicated musicians but used to be a regular columnist right here at Metro Times back in the day. But it's been quite an eventful year for the blue-eyed soul singer-songwriter thus far.
He released a live album, Alive and Unplugged (recorded at the Ark in Ann Arbor), this past January that's received a great deal of national attention thus far. (The album can be purchased and downloaded at stewartfrancke.com, to download on the new site's homepage, where all his catalog is on sale for a special summer rate of $5). He was the Grand Marshall if the Assembly Line Concert, a marthon 240-hour benefit concert that took place at AJ's Cafe in Ferndale this past winter to raise money for and awareness of the plight of Detroit's auto workers; his composition, "That's The Way We Do It In Detroit," was the event's official theme song. And he also published a book, Between The Ground & God: Lyrics Essays & Interviews: 1990-2005, earlier this year via Roseville's Ridgeway Press, which includes interviews he conducted with subjects ranging from John Mellencamp to Laurie Anderson and Yoko Ono. There's some general celebration of Detroit within its pages, and many of the features were first published in this newspaper. The book is also available at his Website and via Amazon.com.
He and his band are also slated to perform at at New Jersey's famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park this September as part of the Second Bruce Springsteen Symposium, where he'll join such other Springsteen faves as Joe Grushecky, Jesse Malin and Gaslight Anthem, among others. And last month, he received a 20th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Arts Award from his hometown of Saginaw, where the Saginaw Arts & Enrichment Commission honored him for his "passion for music and the joy his songs bring to so many in his home state and beyond."
But more timely is the concert he and his band have planned tonight at the aforementioned Ark (such a great venue -- the Alejandro Escovedo show there earlier this week simply killed) in Ann Arbor. A leukemia and bone marrow transplant survivor, Stewart is donating all proceeds from tonight's show to the family (including two children, aged 5 and 1) of Ann Arbor policeman Jason Zobabib, who tragically lost his own battle with leukemia earlier this year. On his site, he writes: "As a leukemia/transplant survivor of 10 years, I've lost many friends over the years, but no loss shocked or saddened me more than Jason...We hope you'll come out and honor a true hero and his family while enjoying a night of music."
It's a great cause, so if you're anywhere in the A2 area tonight, definitely check it out.