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House & garden > Motor City Cribs and Rides

Motor City Cribs

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Published 1/13/2010

It's fitting that multi-instrumentalists Ryan Gimpert and Scott Michalski live in a 1920s American craftsman-style house. Both are genre-straddling musicians who are responsible for crafting an inordinate amount of worthy, ear-bending Detroit music.

Both play in the country-rock Volebeats (Gimpert on pedal steel, Michalski on drums), who have a new double album in the can in search of a label. Michalski also plays as a solo act, with the freak-folk Infinity People, the indie folk Sisters Lucas, and used to man the drums in the unsung '90s electro-pop group Godzuki. Gimpert plays pedal steel guitar with the indie folk Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful, guitar with funk stars Will Sessions, and is a reggae DJ for the Dance Pon the Roof night at Detroit's Exodus Lounge.

The pair's Royal Oak house is an oversized bungalow (from Sears Roebuck!) that has enough room down in the basement for each to have his own music studio.

In keeping with the craftsman theme, the house is practically a museum of outsider and folk art. Michalski has a degree in folk art studies (from Vermont's Goddard College) and is a veritable folk-art crate digger (appropriately enough Gimpert majored in art history at Wayne State University). The house is full of strange and beautiful paintings, sculpture, masks and handmade treasures strewn between their respective record collections.

Credit for locating the home goes to Michalski's mom, who noticed that the house adjacent to her was available. Quips Michalski, "It's true, I live next door to my mother. It's just like Everybody Loves Raymond."

See the Volebeats at myspace.com/volebeats, Will Sessions at myspace.com/willsessionsdetroit, Infinity People at myspace.com/infinitypeople and Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful at myspace.com/mistylynmusic. And you really should go check out those old Godzuki songs at myspace.com/godzuki1999.

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