REVIEW: The War and Treaty Livestream

Husband and wife musical duo The War and Treaty, comprised of Michael and Tanya Trotter, presented a livestream last weekend that was a musical bright spot in today’s internet landscape. Performed real-time from their living room in front of a cozy stone fireplace, the evening also featured Max Brown on bass (who is originally from Ann Arbor!!) and Bam Holmes on drums.

The program, which seemed to be decided in the moment (which was especially refreshing, given that so many performances are pre-recorded given the current circumstances), included songs from The War and Treaty’s most recent album, Hearts Town, as well as new and never-before-performed songs written since the onset of the pandemic. Indeed, they noted that they have created tens of new songs in the last year, which is good news for fans of The War and Treaty hoping for new music in the coming months.

The performance itself reflected the times that we are living in – restless with everything being through a screen – and yet, it was also overwhelmingly joyous. On multiple occasions, the duo remarked on the loss of live, in-person performances, and especially of missing hugging fans. However, even through the computer, traces of these connections were palpable, in the Trotter’s clear love of the music (and in the active chat during the performance).

The War and Treaty’s music transcends categorization, fusing jazz, soul, folk, blues, and other influences into a result that is a treat for the ears. During the livestream, I was particularly struck by each song’s ability to conjure an atmosphere, in which even watching alone at home, the music brought the sights and sounds of long road trips, or crowded restaurants, or gatherings with friends into view in my mind’s eye. Perhaps it was just the fact that these scenes seem like distant memories a year into the pandemic, but it was nevertheless fascinating to me how on multiple occasions, listening to the music transported me out of my physical space and into seemingly far-off places.

My only disappointment regarding the livestream was that at just an hour long, it was on the shorter side for a ticketed performance – good, perhaps, for the screen fatigued, but a little sad given that I was enjoying the excellent music!

Overall, The War and Treaty put on a great virtual concert, and I would recommend their music to anyone who is not yet familiar with it! I hope that someday, when it is safe again, I will be able to experience their music live and in person.


JM is a dual degree student in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the College of Engineering. Some of her favorite things include running, reading, all things creative, and the color purple.

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