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Interview:
Singer-Songwriter Enjoying Her Jazzy Side Trip
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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Rachael Davis’ troubadouring days may be behind her — or at least on hold for the time being.

The Lansing-born singersongwriter, who’s been performing live since she was 2 years old thanks to parents who were music teachers and musicians themselves, has released two solo albums and developed a solid reputation on the folk scene. But these days, jazz is her calling, thanks to Shout Sister Shout, a performing and recording collaboration between Davis and the Lansing group Steppin’ In It.

“Jazz is something that I found on my own when I was a teenager,” says Davis, 26, who moved back to Michigan — specifically Park Lake, near Lansing — in August after several years in Boston. “My parents are folkies, so I wasn’t exposed to jazz as much, and when I found it I just totally fell in love with it.”

Davis, who shared bills and made guest performances with Steppin’ In It, found the quartet shared her passions, particularly for old-timey, ’30s and ’40s vintage jazz by Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday and others.

“We discovered we all have a love for this kind of stuff,” Davis says.

The two acts put together a full repertoire that it debuted in December 2005, and they’ve since recorded an album that should be out later this month.

Davis isn’t abandoning her other music, but she says Shout Sister Shout is definitely taking priority right now.

“My solo career is kind of slowing down a little to make room for this,” she says. “At least for a little while this is going to be my main thing. We’re having a great time with it.”



Steppin’ In It with Rachael Davis perform as Shout Sister Shout at 8 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 6) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www. theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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