MARQUETTE, Mich.—Songwriter Erik Koskinen and folk duo Jim and Ray will be featured in the Upper Peninsula Folklife Festival’s February coffee house series concert at Northern Michigan University. The event begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, in the Peter White Lounge of the University Center. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. The concert is sponsored by the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at NMU, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Best known as a guitarist (Molly Maher, Randy Weeks) and a producer/engineer (Trampled by Turtles), Koskinen’s music varies from folk and bluegrass to Americana and country. “I always want to write about real stuff, real emotions, and I think it comes from living in a place like Northern Michigan,” he says. His Upper Peninsula roots shine through in many of his songs, which feature lyrics about working hard and getting by. Formerly from the Copper Country, Koskinen is a performer in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
Local folk legends Jim Pennell and Ray Dollar have been at the center of the Marquette music scene for more than 30 years. Whether it’s their perennial Thursday night show at Vangos or their countless other shows in the region, they’ve helped to define the casual, laid-back atmosphere of Marquette's cultural scene. Both are also very involved with live sound, record production and lighting for performances throughout the area. Jim and Ray can play music by a wide range of artists, but their specialties are Jimmy Buffet and Simon & Garfunkel.