There are several things that characterize a band. Aside from the haircuts, the outfits, and the genre of music they play, it is what the band does behind the scenes, off the stage, and into the communities through their travels. A folk-music based band from Philadelphia, The Great Unknown, is having a free of charge show on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. in the Community Room located inside the Peter White Library.
“I think it could be really cool to have an event at the Peter White Public Library where we could play our own music as well as share some of our experiences from the previous 4 weeks. We really like spending time and meeting people in new communities,” guitarist Brad Jacobson told event organizer Mary Schneeberger when he first inquired about playing in Marquette.
The Great Unknown, made up of band members Todd Henkin (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Jordan Berger (drums, vocals), Matt Goldsburough (bass, guitar, vocals, mandolin), and Jacobson (lap steel, guitar, vocals, banjo), are currently traveling the United States to not only promote their upcoming EP titled “The New Skin,” but to teach songwriting and individuality.
The Great Unknown has traveled to such cities as Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee and now Marquette.
Besides just playing their new songs to promote their new album, The Great Unknown also gets involved with communities, by teaching week-long songwriting workshops to elementary students in five of the cities they visit along the tour. To The Great Unknown, it’s more than just showing up to play in front of a crowd; they become involved and learn about each city they play in.
The opening acts will include two local bands, NMU student Kerry Yost and The Goldmine Girls. The Goldmine Girls is a local sister-duo from Marquette, made up of Gentian and RiLee Waller.
“I’m very excited to open for the Great Unknown. When I heard the reason they were coming to NMU, it sounded like they were a really cool group bunch of individuals,” Yost said.
Yost has been playing guitar seriously for four years, but has sang her whole life, recently taking part in a few open-mic nights.
“I feel this will be a very unique concert. Folk is a very big genre here in Marquette, and the fact they come to a town and do more than just play music really means a lot. Literacy, writing, and music are real cornerstones to help the youth develop.”
Yost has faced challenges in her personal songwriting experience, even for someone who has been on stage several times and has sung back-up for bands prior to the event on Nov. 13.
“When it comes down to actually sitting down and writing a song, it is very difficult. I have a lot of one-liners, or just things that sound catchy, but putting them together is tough, yet very enjoyable when the final project is done,” Yost said.
Schneeberger explained why, out of the cities between Philadelphia and Milwaukee, The Great Unknown chose Marquette.
“Another band from Philadelphia told them about how much of a blast they had while playing here in Marquette, and at the Peter White Library,” Schneeberger said. “They also wanted to come to meet new people and to share some of the work they have done at the elementary song writing workshops.”
From being involved in America Scores tour to helping inner-city schools with songwriting, The Great Unknown teaches students that anyone is capable of writing a song. They are touring not only to share music, but to teach the process through which music is made.