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Interview:
Detroit's Billy Brandt puts it all together with his Sugarees
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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After four-plus decades of making music, Billy Brandt doesn't call something "my favorite album I've ever done" unless he means it.

And the Farmington Hills-based troubadour and operator of Drum Dancer Records is certainly effusive about "The Time is Now," his latest release with the all-star collective he's dubbed the Sugarees (formerly the Basement Band).

"The Sugarees is everything I've been into rolled into one, moreso than any album I've made," says Brandt, who previously played in the groups Spank and Ash Can Van Gogh, as a solo artist and in partnership with Sugarees violinist Sarana Verlin. "It's everything I've listened to, and all the bands that inspired me.

"There's a lot of vocals on this record, a lot of harmony things that I've always had on records but we really got into a lot this time. There's a straight country song and some really out-there jamming and some strummy, real singable songs with big, fat pop hooks or folk-rock hooks."

Brandt says some of the songs were new creations by the Sugarees (named after the Grateful Dead song), while some date as far back as 1975. "It's just a really good band," Brandt notes. "The players are all off the charts; they've all got their own bands, too, and they've all gotten so good over the years. It's jsut a really good folk-rock, classic rock, Americana, hippie...whatever you want to call it."

"The Time is Now" came out on May 13 but Brandt and the Sugarees will celebrate its release with a 4 p.m. Springtime Jamboree show on Sunday, May 18 at Callahan's Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Sugarees Chris Degnore and John Holk will also perform with their own bands, the Blackdrops and the Sequins, respectively. Tickets are $12. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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