In 2016, a legendary group began to sprout from Albion’s soil. Blues music could be heard cascading out of the Bohm and Cascarelli’s. Everyone was swaying, clapping and jiving with the new movers and shakers of Albion that would soon become known as The War and Treaty.
Only three years later, Michael and Tanya Trotter of The War and Treaty signed with Rounder Records and released a full-length album titled “Healing Tide.” The two are currently planning their sophomore album, “Hearts Town,” which is set to be released around March 2020.
The Trotters began their musical journey right down the main strip of downtown Albion, singing blues and Americana music at Blues at the Bohm and Jazzarelli’s. Albion College chemistry professor, Dr. Cliff Harris, who runs Blues at the Bohm, first noticed Michael and his extraordinary talent at the Bohm. Soon after, Harris and Michael convinced Tanya to join Michael’s jazz band and began performing at various venues in Albion.
“When we finally got them both there, people started freaking out,” said Harris. “They do that thing that the truly great ones do: You feel things and experience emotions that you don’t experience with everyone else. They take you to a different place.”
After hearing Michael and Tanya sing at the Bohm, Ronnie Parker, otherwise known as “Coach” in the Albion music scene, introduced himself to the dynamic duo and subsequently brought them into his world, which Michael called, “strong, powerful and beautiful.”
Parker offered to go on the road with Michael and Tanya after witnessing their musical talents. Harris and Albion communication studies professor and chair, Dr. Karen Erlandson (and Harris’ wife), then became the manager for The War and Treaty. Harris and Erlandson took business calls, scheduled gigs and even gave a snowboarder permission to use The War and Treaty’s “Hi Ho” in a music video.
Just like that, the band launched and quickly became famous for their Americana jazz music. With the help of the Albion community, The War and Treaty began an Albion legacy.
“We have a lot of different people that saw the best in us, and we would be nothing without Albion, but in particular, without Coach Ronnie Parker and Dr. Cliff Harris and Karen [Erlandson],” said Michael.
In the latter half of 2017, the two began their musical journey on the road and signed with Rounder Records, Concord being its parent organization. Michael and Tanya have since been traveling around the country to bring the spirit of Albion and what Michael called, “homemade gumbo music,” to the ears and hearts of America.
“Albion is the history,” said Michael.
You can listen to The War and Treaty here and see their music video, “Down to the River,” written about the Kalamazoo River. The video features the city and various community members (including Harris and Erlandson) in it .