Red Tail Ring is the musical brainchild of two old-time-minded Michiganders – Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo. The collaboration blends the loving attention of revivalist fervor with the playful creativity of starting from scratch. Whether rendering a traditional tune or one of their many original compositions, the duo infuses each song with musical imagination, haunting harmonies and instrumental artistry. “We love pushing the boundaries of what a traditional song can be,” says Beauchamp. “It informs how we write our original songs. There’s a real energy exchange between the old and the new.”
This two-way connection takes center stage with Red Tail Ring’s latest studio recordings, Middlewest Chant and Mountain Shout, released in April 2011 on Earthwork Music. Ostensibly two separate albums, the pair form a complete picture of Red Tail Ring’s blending of old with new. Middlewest Chant is comprised of all original songs, while Mountain Shout features Red Tail Ring’s interpretations of Appalachian ballads and melodies. As Premo explains, “We wanted to showcase the traditional forms that inspire our songwriting.” Both albums spotlight the duo’s forceful work on a bevy of acoustic instruments, including guitar, fiddle, banjo, octave mandolin, mandolin and jaw harp.
Four years and nearly 400 shows into their partnership, Beauchamp and Premo have traveled increasingly farther and wider in their musical ramblings, playing shows throughout the United States, traveling to both coasts, with extensive touring in the Midwest. In the summer of 2011, the duo added Denmark to their list when they performed and taught overseas as cultural ambassadors through the American Embassy. For Premo and Beauchamp, Red Tail Ring encircles their present and future – a place where expansion and creativity meet tradition, and thrive.