Local indie legend to perform on St. Pat’s Day

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published March 16, 2012

 Carolyn Striho with her guitarist, Scott Dailey, perform during the 2011 Mackinac Music Festival. Striho and her band will be playing March 17 at Dylan’s Raw Bar and Grille in Grosse Pointe Park.

Carolyn Striho with her guitarist, Scott Dailey, perform during the 2011 Mackinac Music Festival. Striho and her band will be playing March 17 at Dylan’s Raw Bar and Grille in Grosse Pointe Park.

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Striho

Musician, vocalist and songwriter Carolyn Striho’s work has included elements of rock, pop, punk, jazz and even cabaret, but for a St. Patrick’s Day show March 17 at Dylan’s Raw Bar and Grille, she’ll also be adding Irish music to the mix.

In addition to her own material and songs by her guitarist, Scott Dailey, Striho said she and her band plan to perform a few Irish songs, as well as a Celtic tune or two, and some “neat surprise covers,” she said.

“People should expect a very alive show,” Striho said in an email interview. “And every show is different — we work off energy and passion. … You have to hear it, and see it, to believe it. It will be an adventure.”

Striho, a lifelong Detroiter who now lives in Farmington Hills, is something of a local legend, having worked and written with Patti Smith and fronted the late 1980s/1990s band Detroit Energy Asylum, whose members included Luis Resto and David McMurray — musicians who went on to work with Eminem and Kid Rock, respectively — along with Sponge/Crud/Orbitsuns frontman Vinnie Dombrowski. A classically trained pianist and self-taught guitarist, Striho got her start at 16, playing in punk bands.

Since those early days, she has toured internationally and earned awards and critical raves for her music, which transcends genre definitions. Striho was invited to perform during the 2009 Detroit Jazz Festival, won an honorable mention for “Enchante” from Billboard Magazine’s Songs of the Year in 2009, and took home a 2010 Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Pop/Rock Album of the Year for “Honesty.”

Striho plays guitar and keyboards alongside bandmates Dailey, percussionist Ron Wolf, violinist Bonnie Kaye and bassist Dave Dion. For her Dylan’s gig, she said new backup singer Maurya Kaye from Grosse Pointe Park will be performing, along with trumpeter James O’Donnell and several surprise guests.

“They will bring down the house with some Celtic music,” Striho promised.

John Montgomery, owner of Dylan’s and a music industry veteran himself, said Striho has been a real crowd-pleaser when she’s performed at his venue.

“She puts on a great show,” he said. “Carolyn’s got an amazing stage presence. The band fuses pop and rock and some punk.”

In addition to their regular menu, Dylan’s will be serving several Irish dishes for St. Patrick’s Day, including corned beef, Irish stew and Irish salmon, along with green beer for anyone who wants it, Montgomery said.

For Striho, playing Dylan’s is a trip down memory lane. She and Smith used to go there occasionally to write songs when it was Tom’s Oyster Bar; she said Smith formerly lived in St. Clair Shores. Montgomery, who worked at Tom’s Oyster Bar, remembers seeing Smith and a female friend come in sometimes at lunch; he said he only later learned that Smith’s friend was none other than Striho.

Striho has been working on a new CD that should be out in November. In the coming months, she and her band will continue to work on the CD and perform, with shows at press time in northern Michigan and Toronto already scheduled, and plans to return to Rome for more gigs this summer.

“And I’m also working on another project — a sort of gypsy classical, expansive filmic-type sound on piano, with heavy acoustic guitar, and Scott has some great new songs, too,” Striho said.

When she’s not rocking the stage, Striho is rocking the classroom: She’s a special education teacher at Warren’s Cousino High School, where she teaches creative writing and literature.

“I wanted to teach poetry, lyrics, music, literature and writing,” the Wayne State University graduate said. “It’s really rewarding. The students are pretty amazing.”

Striho’s show begins at 9:30 p.m. March 17. Dylan’s is located at 15402 Mack in Grosse Pointe Park. For more information about the March 17 show, call (313) 884-6030 or visit http://dylansrawbar.com. For more about Striho, visit www.carolynstriho.com or www.reverbnation.com/carolynstriho .