Jim Hamlin, Misti Dawn, and Jason Jennings

Jim Hamlin, Misti Dawn, and Jason Jennings

Landward Rogues Rock the Bald
By Greg Hartman

St. Baldrick’s annual hair shaving event, Rock the Bald, has been growing steadily in the Grand Valley for years.  The national organization encourages donations towards childhood cancer research in return for individuals and groups shaving their head.  Each year some members of the music community have participated to help promote the event and raise money with a clean shaven head.

At last year’s event, Misti Dawn and Jason Jennings, almost joined in the event to raise a few dollars at the last minute.  Instead, they decided to make a bigger deal and focus on this year’s event on June 22nd. In that time, their band Landward Rogues has risen in prominence.  Appearing at many festivals, events, and bars across the state, Landward Rogues mix Celtic, jazz, and Americana sounds for a unique, folk-rich presentation. They are often joined by multi-instrumentalist Bruce Buxton to extend their sound.  They currently have 40 original songs, five of which can be found on Spotify. They also have a variety of covers depending on their audience, ranging from traditional Celtic to Divinyls.

One of their new songs is “The Good Fight”, written specifically for the St. Baldrick’s head shaving event. They first played it for a kick off event on May 18th at Charlie Dwellington’s. Local event organizer Jim Hamlin helped organize the group to both shave their heads and perform, along with Union of None.  Misti sees the fund raising as a chance for her to give back through her art for those in need. The fight is personal for Jason, who lost a friend at 10 to leukemia.

The full trio will be on hand for the big event on June 22nd at the Avalon, joined also by Misti’s oldest daughter, Inira.  Misti and Inira will be shaving their hair fully off, as will Jason. Bruce will be donating his beard to the cause. To help contribute to their efforts, donate to Stbaldricks.org and search for Landward Rogues, or Team 125864.  

The group will also be donating half of their tips for their show at Sang Gardens on June 16th.  That venue allows them to have plenty of crowd interaction and it turns into a version of dinner theater where the group digs deep into their song book, including a version of Happy Birthday that Jason draws inspiration from Marilyn Monroe.

Expect to hear more from the Landward rogues this year as they prepare their first full studio album.  You can catch their post-shave faces on June 27th at the Avalon’s Sunset Terrace during the downtown farmers market.