Who We Are

“Contemplative, carefully crafted folk tunes take birth from the melodic union of husband and wife.”

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2013 Shows

  • January 18: Root Notes in Laurium, MI w/Shadow Arcade
  • January 19: Beaumier Coffee House Series in Marquette, MI w/Jeff Krebs Trio
  • February 1: Cafe Rosetta in Calumet, MI
  • February 22: The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Pioneer Parade and Electric Park
  • February 23: Bremen Cafe in Milwaukee, WI w/Scott David
  • March 1: The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Michael Waite
  • March 2: Engineers Without Borders Benefit at The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI
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  • March 8: Java and Jive in Powers, MI
  • March 9: Box Factory for the Arts in Saint Joseph, MI w/Nathan K.
  • March 10: Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo, MI w/Nathan K.
  • March 11: Checkers and Trophies in Kent, OH w/Ian Penter and Cinder Bones
  • March 12: The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV
  • March 13: Pretty Penny Cafe in Hillsboro, WV
  • March 14: The Hilton Tavern in Newport News, VA w/Scott Slay and Mike Glass
  • March 15: Cafe Stella in Norfolk, VA w/Scott Slay and Longfellow St.
  • March 16: Webster's Bookstore Cafe in State College, PA
  • March 17: Muggswiggz Coffee and Tea Co. in Canton, OH
  • March 18: Trust Fall Records in Grayling, MI
  • March 22: The Irish Times in Laurium, MI
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  • April 4: Peter White Public Library in Marquette, MI w/Troy Graham
  • April 5: The Blue Lounge in Marquette, MI w/Troy Graham
  • April 6: The Joy Center in Ishpeming, MI w/Troy Graham
  • June 15: The Thirsty Fish in Houghton, MI w/Sparrow Tree
  • June 28: The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Charlie Parr
  • July 4: The Fitz in Eagle River, MI
  • July 13: Lazy Days of Laurium in Laurium, MI
  • July 19-20: Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, MI
  • August 2: Keweenaw Coffee Works Grand Opening in Calumet, MI
  • August 9-11: Farm Block Fest in Ahmeek, MI
  • September 6: The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/The MQT Generals
  • September 21: Benefit at Quincy House in Hancock, MI
  • October 12: Root Noes in Laurium, MI w/Austin Miller and Dan Lawrence
  • October 19: EWB Benefit at The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI
  • November 1: All Saints Day Party at The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/The Board
  • November 6: The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Breathe Owl Breathe
  • November 9: Edmund Fitzgerald Commemoration at Shute's in Calumet, MI w/Dark Matter
  • December 7: Hillside Place at MTU in Houghton, MI w/Dan Lawrence

2012 Shows

  • March 16: Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Go Long Mule
  • April 2: Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Nathan K. and Bradley Hathaway
  • April 13: KeweenawesomeFest in Houghton, MI (Stamp Sand Shores Release)
  • June 9: Houghton Spring Arts and Music Fest in Houghton, MI
  • June 9: The Fitz in Eagle River, MI w/Go Long Mule
  • July 17: The Hilton Tavern in Newport News, VA
  • August 1: The Hilton Tavern in Newport News, VA
  • August 10: The Garage in Charlottesville, VA w/Andrew Leahey
  • August 18: House Show in Taylor, MI w/Nathan K., Rival Summers
  • September 6: Peter White Library in Marquette, MI w/Shadow Arcade
  • September 7: Ramada Inn in Marquette, MI w/Sparrow Tree
  • September 8: Falling Rock Cafe in Munising, MI w/Troy Graham
  • October 4: Orpheum Theater in Hancock, MI w/Goldenboy
  • October 13: Algomah Acres Harvest Fest in Greenland, MI w/Peg Carrothers
  • October 27: Ore Dock Brewing Co. in Marquette, MI w/Nathan K.
  • November 3: Trust Fall Records and Coffee in Grayling, MI
  • November 5: Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo, MI
  • November 5: Video Session with ditsessions.com
  • November 7: Quincy's in South Bend, IN
  • November 8: (scene) Metrospace in Lansing, MI w/Nathan Alan, Kyle Pentecost
  • November 9: Starkweather Arts Center in Romeo, MI
  • November 11: Bremen Cafe in Milwaukee, WI
  • December 7: Cafe Rosetta in Calumet, MI



Our Story

Here in the living room - with maple floors worn by business, tall windows to the nighttime and snow, and the lampshade glowing - contemplative, carefully crafted folk tunes take birth from the melodic union of husband and wife, Ben and Emaleigh Jensen.

This is the music of Gratiot Lake Road, for the days you put on your warmest socks.

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Calumet, Michigan is a brick-built town of former glory and the home of Gratiot Lake Road. Once it was the cradle of the largest copper mining company, Calumet & Hecla, which produced over half of the United States' copper from 1871 to 1880.

Ever-expanding during Michigan's copper boom, Calumet nearly earned the honor of becoming the state's capital. But due to a plummet in the value of copper, mine collapses, and union strikes, the copper mining industry altogether vanished, leaving nothing but ornate buildings and a struggling remnant tucked away in the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northern-most point of Michigan.

Now Calumet is preserved by the area's persisting economic doldrums; the quest for commercial advancement has yet to touch the ancient mining relics scattered about this eerie hinterland, conjuring the sense that the 1800s have yet to end. Woodie Guthrie's "1913 Massacre" immortalized Calumet in song by recounting a Christmas Eve disaster that occurred when someone deceptively yelled "fire" into a holiday party, leading to a stampede and the deaths of 73 men, women, and children in the stairway.

The Keweenaw is the setting for Gratiot Lake Road's music. Freda, Dollar Bay, Baraga, Eagle River, and other locations make up the backdrop for songs that examine such themes as: careening recklessly away from a world of problems, tall tales of escape, suffering the inevitable winter, the tragic beauty of nature, musings of age-old lovers, knowledge of your own mortality, and the weight of regret.

These stories are coupled with the elements of the Keweenaw, such as stamp sand: the unwanted rock byproduct of the mining process that was crushed into tiny bits and dumped into Lake Superior, creating a strange black shore full of coarse "sand."

Gratiot Lake Road was founded in 2009 and has been active in recording and performing. Ben and Emaleigh are often accompanied by Tony Laux on bass guitar and Matthew Radue on a stripped-down drum set. Sometimes additional friends lend their talents on violin, cello, mandolin, harmonica, electric guitar, and dobro.

Recorded in a hotel room in Virginia, "Seasons" (EP, 2010) was Gratiot Lake Road's first release. This was followed by "Stamp Sand Shores" (2012), a full-length album set in the Copper Country and recorded in freezing temperatures in the historic Orpheum Theatre.

Gratiot Lake Road makes Hampton, VA a second home by a few months of temporary residence. They perform regularly in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Houghton, Marquette) and in Virginia (Newport News, Hampton, Charlottesville).

Other cities they've musically marked include Grayling, Kalamazoo, Lansing, South Bend, Detroit, and Milwaukee in coffee shops, bars, art galleries, basements, and music festivals.