The Mickeys know how to get an audience in Detroit.
Just put 'em on a festival or the Detroit Boat Show.
The Kalamazoo quartet, fronted by twin sisters Amy Sherman and Julie Peebles -- Mickey is their maiden name -- built their area following with appearances at Pontiac's Arts, Beats & Eats and the boat show, and they're coming back this month for a pair of dates starting with this weekend's Detroit Winter Blast.
"Events like that draw their own crowds, which is good for us," says Sherman, 33, the "older" sister by nine minutes. "The event pulls out the people, and the people seem to enjoy the music.
"Any time you play something like that you know you're playing in front of somebody that's never heard of you, so that's somebody else to win over. You tend to gain a few new fans, which is what you hope for."
The Mickeys, who started out singing a capella hymns in church as children, have some new music to play, for fans both new and old. The group put out its second album, "Walk Along," on Jan. 27, another showcase for the sisters' sibling harmonies and crafted folk-pop arrangements.
But while a new release is something to celebrate, its theme is considerably more sober. The songs -- from the nine originals to the cover of Tom Petty's "Alright For Now" -- were inspired by the 2006 death of their brother Brian from an aortic aneurysm, resulting in what Sherman acknowledges is "a pretty personal CD."
"It was really painful," she says. "We just shut down...for probably a good year and didn't play in front of anybody and were not really interested in that. We were more interested in trying to keep our family OK.
"A lot of the CD is about trying to deal with something that huge happening to us. You can only be where you are, so a lot of the songs are about dealing with grief and loss, but also about hope even in loss. We like to think it's uplifting; there's a lot of talk about death and what we did to deal with it. We still think it's positive."
The Mickeys perform at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the Flagstar Music Stage at the Detroit Winter Blast. Call (313) 963-8418 or visit www.winterblast.com. The group will also perform at 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. at the Detroit Boat Show at Cobo Hall. Visit www.themickeys.net for information.
Send your thoughts and comments to