M-89: The Small Town of Fennville’s Biggest Rock Band
This family band is as local as it gets in Southwest Michigan. They are "just having fun" and making rock and roll" and you can hear it in the music of M-89.
We get a lot of questions, submissions, queries, pleas, suggestions, and threats about new music and local music here at the radio station. Most of it comes via email, Facebook messenger or an app chat. Occasionally, we still get a good old fashioned envelope from the U.S.P.S. with real compact discs inside.
The band M-89 sent a couple of their CDs The Story of Rock n Roll (2019) and Revolution (2020) with a note that said: "Hello, we are a band from Fennville, MI. just having fun and making rock and roll." The rhythm section is Andrew Hoffman on bass guitar and his nephew Caleb Hoffman on drums. Caleb's dad (Andrew's brother) Mark plays guitar, piano, harmonica, conga and shakers and sings on the record. It is truly a family affair. In fact, Andrew and Mark's little sister Mary (Caleb's aunt) does the photography.
Fennville is a small town of about 1,500 people in rural Allegan County. For now, they are most famous for the Goose Festival, but M-89 could be the next big thing. The band's sound is almost exactly what you would expect: blue-collar, meat & potatoes rock and roll. It was recorded and mixed at Mark's house in Fennville, and that is sometimes evident- it could use some polishing and a more professional treatment, but that's not really what the Hoffman's and M-89 are all about. The song "Playing in a Rock Band" pretty much says it all.
They've got some songs on their YouTube channel, and you can check out some brand new songs on M-89's Facebook page. A couple of tracks that stood out for me on the Revolution record were "Walking in Fennville," "Jessica" and "Summer Rain." I've always loved Johnny Rivers' song "Summer Rain" and the line about the jukebox that kept on playin' "St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In this ballad, Mark sings about hearing "Summer Rain" on the radio. That's the only ballad on the record and "Jessica" is the sole instrumental; it's got a great groove. I love the idea of "Walking in Fennville" and the way he sings "don't go to jail' makes you believe this is the voice of experience.
These guys all have day jobs and no big dreams of being rock stars but they are sure having a lot of fun making music and keeping it in the family. If that idea appeals to you, check out more of M-89. If you've got a local band like this you think we should know about, let us know about it.
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