St. Michael's Church-Jeff Karoub-Putnam Smith

Putnam Smith, Jeff Karoub share their ‘roots’ on Michigan stages

Putnam Smith hails from Maine, where he lives off the land in a log cabin and counts among his instruments a banjo once owned by his grandfather. Jeff Karoub makes his home in Dearborn, a place where his grandfathers plied their respective trades and he has spent a lifetime learning and making music.

For nearly a decade, they have regularly joined forces to accompany each other while telling musical stories that aim to bridge past and present. They are excited to share stages once again in southeastern Michigan: An encore appearance at Livonia’s Trinity House Theatre on March 2 and March 18 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Grosse Pointe Woods, where Karoub has twice played as part of the Music in the Woods series.

“There’s nothing more gratifying as a singer-songwriter than playing original songs for receptive audiences, and Trinity House and St. Michael’s provide these amazing opportunities,” Karoub says. I’m excited to rejoin with Putnam as he tours the country.”

In between, Karoub returns to Ann Arbor’s Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room on March 8 for a solo show that starts at 8 p.m.

Karoub, also a journalist whose stories have appeared in publications globally, has taken his rhythm-and-roots sound to many stages across the Great Lakes and has been featured on WJBK-TV, WDET-FM and Michigan Radio. Two of his albums have been named “Folk Faves” by a Chicago folk radio show host and one reviewer describes his music as “a fine example of extraordinary grassroots Americana folk out of southern Michigan.” He will be featured in the National Endowment for the Arts-funded The Big Read Dearborn 2018, in which he will stage a music and multimedia performance April 28 about his family’s immigration story that builds upon the three-generation arc of his song, “Made by Motown.”

Smith, who has performed in 40 states and at prestigious folk festivals, came to national attention with this 2009 release, “Goldrush,” which went to No. 5 on the U.S. Folk & Bluegrass DJ Charts. Subsequent albums have charted even higher, and made it onto several “favorite” and “best-of” lists across the country. A writer described him as “that rare breed of musician that manages to sound like a throwback without ever coming off as dated.” He’s been dubbed “One to Watch” by Rob Reinhart, host of the Michigan-produced and nationally syndicated Acoustic Cafe program, which, incidentally is where Karoub first heard Smith’s music.

Here are their upcoming concerts at a glance:

March 2: 8 p.m. at Trinity House Theatre, 38840 W. Six Mile, Livonia. Tickets are $15, $12 for subscribers.

March 18: 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 20475 Sunningdale Park, Grosse Pointe Woods. $15 suggested donation/free-will offering.

more about Jeff Karoub

more about Putnam Smith