Monthly Archives: December 2013

Frk returns to Griffins

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Right wing Martin Frk, 20, was reassigned from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the Grand Rapids Griffins by the Detroit Red Wings Thursday.

Photo/Grand Rapids Griffins

Photo/Grand Rapids Griffins

After skating 15 games with the Walleye since Nov. 4, Frk has earned 13 points and 10 IPM in addition to emerging in six contests with Grand Rapids this season that earned him six penalty minutes.

The 6-foot, 203-pound forward registered 163 (73-90—163) points for the Halifax Mooseheads the last three seasons, and was originally brought in by Detroit in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2012-2013 season, Frk had 84 points in 56 Moosehead regular season games.

Frk will be available for the Griffins tomorrow at Van Andel Arena at 7 p.m., as they host the Rockford IceHogs.

Indie pick of the week: Derek Atkinson

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

With strong vocals and instrumentation, Derek Atkinson’s music is a grungy blend of reggae and alternative rock, a sound he describes as “Sublime meets Johnny Cash.”

“It’s usually pretty hard to describe my sound, and I hear the same from a lot of people, because it blends so many different musical elements and ideas at once,” Derek said. “I’ve always listened to and experimented with lots of different sounds and styles, and I feel my writing reflects that. I try to keep things upbeat, positive, and constantly moving.”

Derek Atkinson’s sound is a reggae-rock infused “Sublime meets Johnny Cash.” Photo/Derek Atkinson

Derek Atkinson’s sound is a reggae-rock infused “Sublime meets Johnny Cash.” Photo/Derek Atkinson

Born in Chelsea, Mich., music was a big part of Derek’s life growing up. His father played guitar, mother played organ and he and his siblings were exposed to various percussion instruments. He has moved many times throughout the state, to places including Romulus and his current home in Warren.

“Growing up I thought everyone had a music room in their house,” Derek said. “My brother would teach me easy little melodies and riffs on guitar and by the time I was 7 or 8, I had my own.”

Throughout high school, Derek took guitar, piano, drum and vocal lessons, but credits much of his learning to studying the works of other musicians and 8-hour practice sessions after school. During that time, he learned different guitars, bass, drums, banjo, ukulele, percussion and keyboard instruments, eventually taking his performance to the streets.

Today, music remains a big part of Derek’s life. While he works during the day making websites, graphics and doing marketing, Derek puts a lot of time into his music career. He said he shares his music with others to make them feel good.

One of his songs, “Overtime,” was written about a past job, where he worked 50 hours a week, struggling to get by. He knew this was something others could relate to, and shared his sorrow with lyrics “when lunch time comes I punch the clock and hit the door, for an hour off the floor, making it 15 minutes more.”

Another track, “Carried Away,” looks at Derek’s love and passion for music and getting lost in a song. The video features him playing and him singing in the car, one of his “favorite places to get ‘Carried Away’ in music.”

“I’m always inspired by what’s going on around me and I’ve found that the more open and honest I am when I write, the better the songs turn out,” Derek said. “My lyrics are usually about what I’m actually doing or thinking about at the time, usually about music, love, nature, or peaceful existence. I also like using double entendre, plays on words, and saying many things with the least amount of words possible.”

Creative Commons has helped Derek get his music out there to an audience he said may have not otherwise heard it. Recently, Derek has put together his new live band,The Ohmbres. He currently performs in the Detroit area, but will be expanding his tour to Toledo and Chicago in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdFgvKMrHYM

For more of Derek, visit his website http://derekbatkinson.com/

Follow him on Twitter: @DerekBAtkinson

Tazo Organic Spicy Ginger: a rooibos tea with a bite

Life's a cup of tea

There’s something about the taste of ginger and citrus– it’s a tasty blend. Tazo’s Organic Spicy Ginger meshes those flavors with lemon verbena, chamomile, fennel and licorice, to blend with a smooth green rooibos tea. The combination is tasty, a full flavor that stays with you after each sip.

To prepare this tea, boil water, and bring to 212 degrees (these are the directions on the box, I usually just let the boiling water sit for about 8 minutes). Steep for about 5 minutes for a smooth ginger taste, or add a little more time for a stronger spice. Add sweetener if desired; it tastes good either way.

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When I sweetened it, I used a teaspoon of pure honey, which has health benefits in addition to tasting great. Ginger itself is a great addition to any diet. According to WebMd, the herb has many benefits, including intestinal and stomach…

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Indie pick of the week: Robb Murphy

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Robb Murphy is a singer-songwriter from Belfast, Ireland. His sound has been compared to Damien Rice, Tom Baxter and Belle & Sebastian. Photo/Robb Murphy

Robb Murphy is a singer-songwriter from Belfast, Ireland. His sound has been compared to Damien Rice, Tom Baxter and Belle & Sebastian. Photo/Robb Murphy

Singer-songwriter Robb Murphy’s music is deep and inspiring, reflecting on life through stories of falling in love, and finding yourself.

With acoustic riffs and synthesizer pop instrumentals, Robb’s songs take listeners on a journey to another place. His sound is reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie and Guster, with the lyrical depth of City and Colour.

Growing up in a musically-inclined family in Comber, Ireland, Robb was exposed to a variety of genres, including country, ’60s  and indie sounds. These genres were part of the inspiration for his sound.

“Many things influence my music – I listen to many different genres: dance, country, folk, indie, pop, soul, ambient,” Robb said. “I can usually find something in a genre that I can appreciate.”

Robb started making music was when he received a keyboard for Christmas. He went on to also teach himself guitar and harmonica, learning on trumpet and trombone at school.

Later, Robb moved to Belfast to study music technology at Queens

Photo/Robb Murphy

Photo/Robb Murphy

University. Though songwriting and music are his passions, he works also as a music engineer.

Robb’s songs are relatable, covering universal themes. He said his process for writing is different each time – sometimes tracks are planned based on his thoughts, while other times he just hits record and performs whatever comes to mind.

“Lyrical inspiration comes from life itself, the things that I see, places that I have been or hope to be, experiences I have had,” Robb said. “I try to put an element of positivity in a song somewhere.  I have been describing my music as acoustic electronic pop, and comparisons have been made with Damien Rice, Tom Baxter and Belle & Sebastian.”

According to Robb, his song “What do I say” is ambient acoustic and electric pop. The video shows two sides of a person – comparing the fast and stressful side of life to times of relaxation and escape from the everyday.

“I have varied songs because life can be so varied, and I was also experimenting in the studio quite a lot,” Robb said.

A music video for “When Silence Comes” will be released soon, as the last single from Robb’s new album “Take a Stand,” in addition to extra songs. He is also in the process of recording his second album and touring.

“The music I write helps me get though things, it’s my release,” Robb said. “When I listen to artists I like, they can let me escape, or be a comfort.”