A?high-energy acoustic show

HANCOCK – A Michigan progressive bluegrass band is making its Copper Country debut Jan. 18, as Fauxgrass will play the Orpheum Theater at 8 p.m.

Formed in 2011, Fauxgrass plays a more modern form of bluegrass that crosses multiple genres.

“We’re a lower Michigan-based acoustic quartet, and we focus on original compositions,” said Jason Wheeler, mandolin player and vocalist, in a phone interview. “We’re not a traditional bluegrass band that plays in a specific, disciplined way. We’re exploring tunes a little bit as younger guys in the bluegrass world.”

Comprised of Wheeler, Adam Balcer (guitar, vocals), Tim McKay (bass, vocals) and Joey Schultz (banjo, vocals), Fauxgrass has toured throughout the Midwest and made their mark on the Michigan music community with their energetic shows.

“It’s a very high-energy show, a pretty interactive show,” Wheeler said. “People will see us improvising and taking risks with our instruments that may be considered rare in the acoustic world. It’s a very unique acoustic performance.”

Although a younger band, Fauxgrass’ members have been in multiple bands and studied with some of the bluegrass masters, including jazz/swing mandolinist Don Stiernberg, “keith-banjo style” creator Bill Keith and composer/mandolinist Don Julin.

“We basically all have roots in traditional American music,” Wheeler said.

Fauxgrass currently has a self-titled album out and is in the studio working on its second album. With two members from Traverse City and two from Grand Rapids, they appreciate the sense of community found in Michigan.

“We’re active in our communities and still part of that traditional music world,” Wheeler said.

For more information about Fauxgrass, visit Fauxgrass is part of a bluegrass series the Orpheum Theater is in the midst of, and dates for more bluegrass artists will be released soon.