The Story 

A powerhouse duo, Michael Trotter and Tanya Blount-Trotter blend touches of folk, gospel-styled harmonizing and smoldering country-soul arrangements in their inspired performances. The dynamic husband and wife team from Albion, Michigan deliver with passionate abandon on 2017’s rootsy Down to the River and 2018’s stirring Healing Tide, two dynamic offerings of quintessential Americana that have attracted a fervent following for the talented twosome known as The War and Treaty. Together they take audiences on a joyful ride with their gospel-holler intensity and smoldering soulfulness, sending spirits soaring in the process. As Glide magazine wrote of the duo’s latest: “This is an amazingly uplifting R&B album dressed up in Americana clothing. As one of this year’s best revelations, Healing Tide is flat out stunning.” 

A former soldier who was shipped to Iraq in 2004 during the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Michael Trotter sang at memorial services for his comrades who had fallen in battle. For the next three years, he sang songs that brought solace and comfort to the members of his unit. His efforts eventually garnered wider recognition when he came in first place in Military Idol, the Army’s version of American Idol. Following his discharge, he was featured on the Hope Channel program, My Story, My Song. Aspiring singer Tanya Blount counted gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, folk singer Odetta and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin as her main influences. She and Michael Trotter met when they were booked on a festival together. Shortly after that initial meeting, the two fell in love, became inseparable, got married and began to create a new musical collaboration. They continue to tour, their six-year-old son in tow, hoping to share songs of reconciliation and humanity. Be there when The War and Treaty’s Love Bus rolls into Cape May for their first appearance at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival. 

The Sound 

Be prepared to be moved! After catching The War and Treaty at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, producer Michael Kline knew he had been in the midst of something special. “ The show was transcendent. Their message of positivity and love delivered with so much soul literally lifted folks off the ground.” They can bring it down to a reverent hush on a hymn of adoration like “Hearts” then break the party wide-open with their Sly & The Family Stone-styled rave-up, “All I Wanna Do.” Michael singles out “Jeep Cherokee Laredo,” a scorcher that tells The War and Treaty story. “It starts off with me telling my truth––I said I’d never love again, never get married again. There were so many ‘I would never do agains,’” Michael says. “Then here comes this girl, and I put my foot in my mouth. And I got to live up to it.” As Rolling Stone so aptly pointed out in its review of Healing Tide: “The husband and wife’s deep affection for one another informs every aspect of their performance and shines like a beacon in troubled times.” These two sound like they were born to sing together. 

When & Where: Saturday, November 9, 7:00 pm, Music Connects Stage Powered by Atlantic City Electric in Schmidtchen Theater

Michael Kline