Cinematic Folk Music from Ypsilanti
Rock music sounds good when it’s real loud; hip-hop sounds better at night; and Chris DuPont’s new, self-released album, Floodplains (out Jan. 22), is a damn near perfect soundtrack for a Midwest winter. “Floodplains is the most personal and difficult record I’ve ever made, but also the most rewarding, and the truest representation of who I am as an artist,” DuPont says. There’s no doubt DuPont is most comfortable writing vaguely spiritual, anthemic tunes that don’t shy away from the cinematic (think “the music designed to make you cry at the end of a movie” and you’re halfway there). The range of his tenor vocals and intricate (mostly) acoustic guitar work is on full display here, and the Michigan music scene is better for it. Lead single “Retrieve,” featuring vocals from Olivia Dear, is a knockout with an earworm chorus.
New Year, New Art at the David Klein Gallery
The David Klein Gallery will ring in the New Year at its downtown location with some old artistic friends via a new group show called New Work/New Year. Klein’s stable of artists all make cameos, including work from installation artist Scott Hocking, multimedia minimalist Matthew Hawtin, photographer Lauren Semivan, and photorealist painter Robert Schefman. New Work/New Year opens with an appointment-only artist reception on Jan. 15 and is on display through Feb. 27. 1520 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-818-3416; dkgallery.com
Last Chance Superheroes at The Henry Ford
Across town in Dearborn, The Henry Ford is closing a very different kind of show Jan. 31 — the absurdly fun Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes exhibition. Even if comic books and grown-ups in costumes aren’t your thing, the immersive design of the exhibition itself and the mix of history, cultural context, and original artwork will likely win you over (for the superfans, be prepared to squeal with glee through the entire experience). Timed tickets and reduced capacity necessitated by the pandemic make you feel like you’re on a private tour of this popular exhibit. 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; thehenryford.org
This Month in Detroit Music History
“Superstition” landed 22-year-old Stevie Wonder back at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Jan. 27, 1973, after a decade of being away. Think about this: The last time Wonder had had a No. 1 hit, he was a 13-year-old child prodigy. By the time he hit No. 1 again, he’d married, rewritten the terms of his record deal with Motown’s Berry Gordy, and had started the incredible run through his genius period of the 1970s. Wonder wrote the famous opening riff of “Superstition” on a Hohner clavinet, which became a staple of his studio arsenal and is immortalized alongside Wonder in a massive mural painted by London artist Richard Wilson on the south wall of downtown Detroit’s Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
Conrad Egyir at MOCAD
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit will say farewell this month to a trio of major exhibitions — including the debut solo museum show from one of the most promising painters now working in Detroit. Conrad Egyir’s Terra Nullius (Latin for “nobody’s land”) is on view through Jan. 10. Egyir uses some of his largest paintings yet to explore the roles of colonialism and fashion in his native Ghana, his experiences studying in New York, and his time living and working in Detroit. Egyir’s standout exhibition isn’t the only one leaving the walls at the MOCAD. Painter Peter Williams’ Black Universe and the Indigenous artist collective New Red Order’s Crimes Against Reality will also come down on Jan. 10.
4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; mocadetroit.org
Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET Detroit’s NPR station (weekdays from noon to 2 p.m.).