Listeners can check out Marquette-based Jim & Ray Monday, June 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ludington Park bandshell, the first free concert of this summer’s Bonifas Arts Center’s exuberant annual “Music Mondays” program.
Jim and Ray—Jim Pennell and Ray Dollar—have been performing together for more than 35 years, so their repertoire—primarily folk-rock songs, but also some rock and classical country—has grown continuously as different artists influenced and inspired them, said Pennell. Listeners can expect plenty of familiar tunes—maybe by the Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Simon and Garfunkel, Jim Croce, Tom Petty, Doc Watson, Neil Young, and Johnny Cash, he said.
However, Jim & Ray—with Dollar on acoustic guitar, Pennell on electric bass guitar, and both adept on the harmonica—also love introducing listeners to lesser-known “more eclectic” songs, perhaps by independent musicians, said Pennell.
“Believe it or not, you never get tired of seeing the way music reaches people,” even when things go wrong or performing at times feels pointless, if the music moves even one listener or enriches even one person’s night, this makes it worthwhile, Pennell said.
He encouraged anyone who can get out to Ludington Park to step away from “electronics”—from Smartphones and computers—to relax and listen to live music for an evening, helping support the arts and keep them alive, while also realizing or remembering that a constant bombardment of information truly isn’t necessary.
Along the lakeshore, in the park’s gorgeous lushness, listeners can use available bench seating or bring lawnchairs or blankets, and maybe something to drink, savoring the sun, having fun, and hanging out or dancing. The family-friendly concerts aim to feature only children-appropriate songs.
The concerts are sponsored in part by the City of Escanaba, Delta County Credit Union, OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group, First Bank, Riverside Auto Group, U.P. State Credit Union, and Northern Insurance Agency. The Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Central U.P. Planning & Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD) also support this program.