As I wrote back in February, Detroit has some of the coolest bikes. They can be found throughout the city, but some of the hottest, tricked-out one-of-a-kind custom bikes are in the neighborhoods; in particular Southwest Detroit. Similar to the lowrider car culture, many of the bikes I’ve spotted in that part of the city are stretched, low slung street hugging machines, trimmed in tons of chrome or gold, with paint jobs worthy of display in art galleries.
In this, the second in an occasional entry on the coolest bikes I’ve spotted while riding in Detroit, I’ve featured some of the personalized beauties from Southwest Detroit. What struck me about these spotless, two-wheeled rides is the attention to detail. The well designed bikes pictured below feature steering wheels crafted out of chrome chains. Highly polished, glimmering spokes are a major highlight of the wheels. There are elaborate spring-loaded front fork setups and gleaming spare tires mounted on the rear of some, reminiscent of the early days of the automobile industry. Velvet seats follow the sleek, flowing contour of the bike’s top tube (bar) that stretch from the handle bar stem back to the rear wheel.
Many of these elaborate bikes belong to members of the Good Times Detroit Lowrider Club. From what I understand in talking with one of their members, this group is basically a lowrider car club whose members own custom, vintage autos that can be raised or lowered by the flip of a switch. The young bike owners are members, and once they reach legal driving age, the car guys take them under their wings and help them build out a classic lowrider car. So basically, they are immersed into the lowrider car culture and ownership through bike customization beginning at an early age.
Take a look at some of the tastefully designed bikes that can be found on the streets in Southwest Detroit.
Click here to view “Detroit Bikes are the Coolest” Part 1
Musical Fathers & Sons
I’ve been listening to a lot of young, talented singer/songwriters lately. These are guys that write and sing like they’ve been through it all: broken dreams, life on the road, family conflict, relationships gone bad and issues many don’t experience in a lifetime. What I find intriguing is their history. They are sons of a few of modern music’s most influential singer/songwriters. What’s fascinating to me is the similarity to their fathers in vocal styling and rich songwriting abilities. Four in particular are stand-outs and worthy of checking out.
-> Click on the song title below each of the artist overviews and take a listen.
Father – Tim Buckley – Began his career as a folk singer in the early 1960’s. Having a strong interest in jazz, his songwriting moved in that direction during the early1970’s. His album, “Greetings from L.A.” is considered by many to be his best and I agree. Not only does the album showcase his extraordinary, powerful vocal range, the music reflects his keen interest in jazz and funky soul music. Tim Buckley died at age 28 from a drug overdose.
Son – Jeff Buckley – He too was blessed with a similar grand, far-reaching vocal range as his father. Jeff began his career as a folk singer and evolved into a well-regarded, talented songwriter. His fine album “Grace” was his only one. It received critical acclaim throughout the music industry upon its release. Unfortunately, he drowned in the Mississippi River while swimming with friends. Jeff was 30-years old when he died.
Father – Richard Thompson – A founding member of the influential 1960’s British folk-rock band Fairport Convention. He’s well known for his masterful guitar playing skills and extraordinary song writing ability. He left that band in the early 70’s and has since built a solo career writing and performing witty and political slanted songs. Richard has over 60 albums to his credit that include folk, rock, acoustic and alternative genres.
Son – Teddy Thompson – One of my favorites. Clever wording coupled with brutal with best describes his lyrical song writing skills. A talented guitarist, his musical influences include country and 1950’s rock and roll. He writes and plays many types of music including folk, alternative country and rock.
Father – Loudon Wainwright III – Know as a folk singer, Loudon Wainwright III is probably best known for his humorous song “Dead Skunk”. Some say the song’s underlying message is a direct attack on then President Richard Nixon. His quirky songs feature humorous lyrics, many of which are autobiographical in nature.
Son – Rufus Wainwright – A multi-talented singer/songwriter with a lush, distinct, tenor voice. He performs a wide range of musical styles including opera, cabaret and alternative just to name a few. Many of his songs feature strings, horns, and early jazz rhythms which blend perfectly with his vocal style, which I really like.
Father – Steve Earle – A Texas roots-rocker, Steve is know for his leftist views and stinging political commentary found throughout his work. A talented singer, composer, and guitar player, he has recorded over 15 albums from country, rock, and bluegrass to folk.
Son – Justin Townes Earle – Gifted songwriter and guitar player with a distinct, clear understated singing voice. Leans heavily to folk, country and roots rock. I can best describe his story telling style as a blend of Waylon Jennings and Woody Guthrie with a bit of blues thrown in. He too, is one of my favorites.