The way Jeff Daniels sees it, people — including himself — need a way to work off the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. So what better way to do it than by playing or listening to music, and why not at his fourth annual Jeff Daniels & Friends concert this weekend at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater?
“I just wanted to have a good time on a holiday weekend, and it’s turned out OK,” says Daniels, 54, who’s released two albums of his own songs in addition to his commitments to acting — most recently in the lauded “God of Carnage” on Broadway — and operating his Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea.
Daniels has modeled his show after singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie’s traditional Thanksgiving weekend concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, applying a more local flavor to the event. “I just thought, ‘Why not tap some Michigan musicians I come across or have been made aware of and bring them on stage on a night when people are looking for something to do?’ ” Daniels explains.
“So this is all Michigan-based. My son (Ben) has a band, so I bring him out just like Arlo brings his kids out. So it’s just fun, but at the same time I’m trying to build a show that climaxes or builds to something so people feel they’ve had a full evening.”
Daniels plans to have some brand new music of his own to offer this weekend’s crowd. He recorded a third album in August at the Purple Rose; it’s due out this December, but he plans to give the Michigan Theater audience a taste of it with songs such as “Why Don’t We Take Our Pants Off and Relax?” “Allen Parkway Inn,” “Daddy’s Little Daughter” and “Waltz With Me.”
Daniels also is planning to tour Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in December, as well as perform later in the month at the Purple Rose.
The Fourth Annual Jeff Daniels & Friends concert takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 28) at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Performers include Shout Sister Shout, Red Sea Pedestrian, Paul Princen, the Ben Daniels Band and the Scottville Clown Band. Tickets are $22.50, $37.50 and $75. Call (734) 668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.
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