Stella! is a three-piece, all-women, American roots band from southeast Michigan and has been referred to as a singer-songwriter super group with three-part vocal harmonies and three songwriter voices. Stella! was first conceived of by singer-songwriter Jo Serrapere after a conversation with American music critic, Bruce Springsteen biographer, and Creem Magazine co-founder Dave Marsh. Jo was inspired to put together a new group to showcase country-roots songwriting. With the release of their debut album, "Sorry, Stella," the girls were invited to join Michigan-based music collective Earthwork Music.
Eclectic writer Jo Serrapere credits songwriter Tom Waits, early blues, jazz, and old-time country as her strongest influences. She was the founding member of the old-time string band, Uncle Earl. Jo has had two appearances on National Public Radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" and three albums with her band, Jo Serrapere and the Willie Dunns, including her recent release, "Love Going South." "Love Going South" held the #1 position for two months on the Freeform American Roots Chart in fall of 2009 and was listed in their top 10 albums of 2009. Jo's new album, "Dollar Store Nation" will be released in early 2015.
Jo asked songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jen Sygit to join Stella! as another songwriting voice in the group. Jen's voice adds deep blues tones to Stella! She plays acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, Dobro and Ukelele. Jen has three solo albums to her credit, including her new release, "So Long Pollyanna." Her previous album, "Leaving Marshall Street" was nominated for a 2007 Detroit Music Award and charted at #9 on the Free Form American Roots Chart. Jen also performs solo and with the Americana band Lincoln County Process.
In the Fall of 2010 Stella! accquired singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laura Ann Bates. University trained in vocal performance, piano and flute, Laura has now taken up the upright bass. By pursuing opera in the classroom by day, bluegrass and folk in the bars at night, hymns and choral pieces on Sunday morning, she has developed a very diverse musical pallet. In 2007 Laura released a CD with songwriter Brandon Foote called "Jubilee." She and Jo also perform with the Lansing Vaudeville troupe "The Lil' Darlins."
In April 2009 Jo and Jen traveled to New York City under the sponsorship of Marsh, and recorded their album in two days. "Sorry, Stella" was produced by Detroiter Adam Druckman and by Larry Eagle, percussionist for the Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions recording and tour and the Andy Statman Trio. Fiddler Tahmineh Gueramy, bassist Katie Grace and pedal steel player and guitarist Skip Krevens joined the session. Skip has performed and recorded for Broadway productions and for songwriters such as Laura Cantrell. "Sorry, Stella," is scheduled for release in 2011.
Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (Hart, MI) • Flint Folk Festival (Flint, MI) • Earthwork Harvest Gathering (Lake City, MI) • Dunegrass Music Festival (Empire, MI) • Woodtick Music Festival (Hermansville, MI) • Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival (Kalamazoo, MI) • Spirit of the Woods (Brethren, MI) • Farmfest (Johannesburg, MI) • Ann Arbor Summer Festival (Ann Arborn, MI) • Cowpie Music Festival (Grand Rapids, MI •) Arts, Beats and Eats (Royal Oak, MI) • Great Bear Music Festival (Bloomingdale, MI) • Thumbfest (Lexington, MI) • WIMA fest (Traverse City, MI) • Ypsilanti Crossroads Festival (Ypsilanti, MI) • Nor-East'r (Mio, MI) • Porcupine Mountains Music Festival (Ontonogan, MI)
Ten Pound Fiddle (Lansing, MI) • Elgin Community College Arts Center (Elgin, IL) • Roots on the River (Manistee, MI) • Old Town Concerts in the Courtyard (Lansing, MI) • Summer Black Box Series (Tecumseh, MI) • South Lyon Concerts in the Park (South Lyon, MI) • Paint Creek Tin Whistle Concert (Rochester Hills, MI) • Black Cat Concert Series (Charlevoix, MI) • The Pump House Concerts (Lansing, MI) • East Lansing Summer Concert Series (East Lansing, MI) • Concerts @ Karen's Place (Leonard, MI) • Comfy Couch Concert Series (Wixom, MI)
Dave Marsh's "Kick Out the Jams" Sirius Radio Program (NYC) • WLNZ Radio Road Show (Charlotte, MI)
Club Passim (Cambridge, MA) • Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY) • The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI) • Hambone's Pub (Pittsburgh, PA) • Bell's Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI) • The Trinity House Theatre (Livonia, MI) • Salt of the Earth (Fennville, MI) • Gopherwood (Cadillac, MI) • Ore Dock Brewing Company (Marquette, MI) • Orpheum Theater (Hancock, MI) • InsideOut Gallery (Traverse City, MI) • The Avenue Cafe (Lansing, MI) • Howmet Playhouse (Whitehall, MI) • New Holland Brewery (Holland, MI) • Crazy Wisdom Tea Room (Ann Arbor, MI) • Short's Brewery (Bellaire, MI) • Woodruff's (Ypsilanti, MI) • Good Night Gracie's (Ann Arbor, MI) • Zingerman's Roadhouse (Ann Arbor, MI) • Johnny's Speakeasy (Ann Arbor, MI) • Moriarty's Pub (Lansing, MI) • Northern Natural Cider House (Traverse City, MI) • Holly Mills (Holly, MI)
"They are a near-religious experience. Hearing them perform in an intimate setting is like going to an Appalachian mountain church and hollering hallelujah with a Bible in one hand and a bottle of hooch in the other. They're that sinfully good."
~Karen Koski, syndicated music writer (Billboard), house concert host
"Over the last six months that I have been listening to Stella!'s debut album 'Sorry,Stella', it has gone from being a nice folk album to being the near perfect American Roots record. Great original songs (plus one Tom Waits cover), beautiful three-part harmonies, and a wide variety of interesting musical settings. 'Sorry,Stella' ended up as number four on my list of favorite albums of 2012, as reported to the '3rd Coast Music' FAR Chart."
~Tom Jackson, WLUW Chicago, Host of "New Orleans Music Hour" and "Somebody Else's Troubles"