Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Not Just for Elevators

(Scroll down for the McMuscial calendar)


Music! It’s not just for elevators anymore.

Seems like music is everywhere these days, huh? No matter where you go—shops, big-box stores, restaurants, public spaces—there’s music playing. It’s probably playing in the earbuds of those passing pedestrians and runners, too.

Seems like many people think “silence” is a problem that needs to be solved by filling every last second of it with recorded music. Thanks to the huge and ever-growing catalog of recorded music available, and the ubiquity of digital devices on which to play it, none of us need ever endure a moment’s silence again. Is that a good thing?

In a word, NO!

When music is playing constantly, be it Mozart or Muzak, the value of that music in particular, and of Music in general, is diminished. Too much a good thing is a bad thing.

If someone asks, “Shall I put on some background music?,” tell them that you’d prefer foreground music, and if they don’t have any of that, how about a little silence?

Once upon a time, being tuned into the sounds of the natural world was necessary for survival. For those of us whose survival is relatively secure, who can find a safe and comfortable retreat, what do the sounds of crickets chirping or birds singing have to offer us? Those sounds may never make the Billboard Top 100, but try turning off your device and listening. Your ears, and your soul, may thank you. 

Then go out and hear some LIVE music. Suggestions follow.


McMusical Calendar

Wednesday, October 3
Sometimes you just gotta stop and taste the Tequila. And where and with whom better to do just that than with 
Big Wes Turner’s Trio, the dinner hour version, at Me & Julio on Fish Hatchery Road. 6 to 9 pm.

Friday, October 26
The Rockin’ Rhythm & Swingin’ Blues continues. Big Wes Turner’s Trio, at Chief’s Bar & Grill on Cottage Grove Road. 6:30 to 10 pm.

Saturday, October 27
Hot spot of New Glarus (Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland), Toffler’s Bar & Grill, hosts hot guitar prospect Zane Gruber. The musical supporting cast includes Jalen on drums, Tom on bass, and keyboard wizard Anthony Cao. Expect an evening moovin’ Blues.

Saturday, November 3
The Cashbox Kings (Joe Nosek and Oscar Wilson) hold court in Chi-Town at The California Clipper. Back-up Blues groovers will include our own bassplayist, Tom McCarty.

Wednesday, November 14
Would it tequila-ya to come hear The SparksBand at Me & Julio on Fish Hatchery Road? Of course not. 6 to 9 pm.

Thursday, November 15
The Sparks Band heats up an Autumn evening on the shores of the Wisconsin River at The Vintage Brewery in Sauk City. Eat, drink, and rock out to 60s sounds.

Wednesday, November 21
When in Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland (aka, New Glarus), where better to party hearty to swingin’ sounds than at Toffler’s Bar& Grill. Enjoy their pre-Thanksgiving customer appreciation bash along with The Birddog Blues Band.

November 28
Hey Kids! The Cashbox Kings plays kid-friendly Blues (seriously!) before and after lunchtime at The Rotunda in The Overture Center just off State Street. Bring the family. Feed the wild Blues musicians in their unnatural habitat.

November 30
The Sparks Band returns to The Atwood (formerly Mr. Roberts) on Atwood Avenue with the most rockingest of their 60s repertoire.

Check back for future McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Dateline, Madison


Yes. It’s wet here. Not more than a few weeks ago the Wisconsin State Journal published some professor’s hypothesis that a downpour in the Yahara watershed equivalent to the one that washed away Lake Delavan some years back would submerge much of Madison’s isthmus.

Lo and behold.

Mazomanie, Black Earth, and Madison’s west side got hit hardest with flash flooding, but one week later the waters are still rising in Lake Monona and whichever near eastside low spots that habitually back up with storm runoff. (Tennis at Tenney Park would damn near require SCUBA gear.) Shoreside residents of Monona have been steadily sandbagging. Sitting on the dock of this bay will give your butt a good soaking.

Luckily, last week’s downpour didn’t fall close enough to Lake Mendota to match the professor’s worst-case scenario, but it was cruel blow nonetheless.

Yup. “It’s a cruel, cruel summer,” as one pop culture earworm reminds us. Out of the mouths of babes. (And weren’t they? Bananarama? Babes? Nevermind.)

The important thing is to buck up, pitch in, and carry on! And even more importantly, to do all of the above in ways that lower our big fat consumerist footprints. Yes, fellow carbon-based life forms, use your brains and use your votes to turn this climate mess around. (So much for the soapbox portion of this message.)

Also, find and listen to LIVE music near you. Here are some dandy opportunities for just such.

McMusical Calendar

Saturday, September 1
The Birddog Blues Band (with Mel Ford on guitar, Derek Hendrickson on drums, Tom McCarty on bass, and Ken “Birddog” Olufs on harmonica) will entertain on the spacious patio at Tofflers Bar & Grill in New Glarus. Enjoy it now. ("Winter is coming.") 8 pm.

Friday, September 7
Barring news of irreversible flood damage or mold growth at the Mazomanie Music Conservancy concert hall, The Maintainers (mouth-harpist Frankie Lee, guitarist Mel Ford, bassist Tom McCarty, and drummer Rick Becker) will ramble through a round-robin of diverse blues styles. Not to be dissed or missed! Show opens at with a set from house band Staff Infection.

Friday, September 14
The Cashbox Kings bring their Chi-Town Blues sounds to the Knuckledown Saloon, and celebrate celebrated bluesman Oscar Wilson’s birthday. Y'all come on down and participate in the Partay!!! 9 pm ‘til late.

Friday, September 21
The Sparks Band, those masters of 60s hits, curiosities, and obscurities, get it all goin’ on at The Atwood (formerly Mr. Roberts) on Atwood Avenue.

Wednesday, October 3
Sometimes you just gotta stop and taste the Tequilas. And where and with whom better to do that than with 
Big Wes Turner’s Trio, the dinner hour version, at Me & Julio on Fish Hatchery Road. 6 to 9 pm.
Enjoy every imaginable variety of Rockin’ Rhythm & Swingin’ Blues with Tom, Rick, and Gary. 

Check back for future McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Summer (what’s left, and while it lasts)


Scroll down for the McMusical Calendar listings.

Gypsy Rose Lee once famously sang, “Let me entertain you.” Then she started removing her clothing. Slowly. Artfully.

That’s entertainment! She was a notoriously tough act to follow.

Summer in the Wisconsin is lousy with drink, food, and festivities, musical and otherwise. That’s because Wisconsinites know, like John Snow, that “Winter is coming,” so we had best be enjoying the warm weather while it lasts.

Summer, like any artful act, can be tough to follow (though Fall has its fans), but don’t let that bring you down. No matter where you are, get up, get up, and get out there (to paraphrase Bob Uecker). Drag yourself up from your lawnchair, or whatever squalid psychic torpor into which you’ve descended, and come out to tipple two or three and open your ears to some of these summertime sounds.

McMusical Calendar

Saturday, August 18
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to Tyranena Brewing in legendary Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Enjoy Rockin’ Rhythm & Swingin’ Blues with the three blessed by Wes. On Tyranena's expansive patio (weather permitting). Music from 6 to 9 pm. Food cart on site, and Wisconsin’s BEST beer. Always!



Sunday August 19
Faux Fawn opens up for Har-di-Har (“..a colorful mudslide of art pop..”) at Ruby Lounge (beneath Liquid on the infamous 600 block of University Avenue). Also, Brandon Beebe. Doors at 7:30; show starts at 8 pm.

Wednesday, August 22
The Cashbox Kings make Blues music at Wisconsin Brewing in Verona. Come early (downbeat at 5 pm) and drink often (you'll be helping to raise money for the Wisconsin Science Museum). Boogie on down til 8 pm.

Saturday, August 25
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, AGAIN. Dancing recommended, especially if you need to burn off a famous Mooseburger! 9:30 until very late.


Saturday, September 1
September? Yes, but still summer! And the Birddog Blues Band (with Mel Ford on guitar, Derek Hendrickson on drums, Tom McCarty on bass, and Ken “Birddog” Olufs on harmonica) will entertain on the spacious patio at Tofflers in New Glarus. Enjoy while you can. 8 pm.


Friday, September 7
The Maintainers are comprised of mouth-harpist Frankie Lee, guitarist Mel Ford, bassist Tom McCarty, and drummer Rick Becker. The four will race through a round-robin of blues styles at the Mazomanie Music Conservancy.

Check back for future McMusical news.

P.S. Big Wes Turner’s Newsletter has added an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon...
FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

Note
: Postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Name This Post Contest Announced!



Scroll down for the McMusical Calendar listings.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” wrote someone once. I hope that someone was well paid for that pithy little tidbit. It’s a keeper. It’s lasted. It’s part of the consciousness of millions and millions of media consumers. It’s what pops into our heads whenever we forget something we shouldn’t or find it impossible to come up with an answer for some rudimentary question. Like, say, what to name this post.

I don’t know. Do you? If you have an idea, any idea (doesn’t have to be brilliant), send it in. Our panel of judge will select the best idea and present the grand prize (probably a pint of beer) the next time the winner and our panel of judge run into each other. It can be arranged.

McMusical Calendar

Sunday, August 12
The Sparks Band plays on the patio (probably) at Vintage Brewing in Sauk City. Eat, drink, and wallow in 60s nostalgia. 3 to 5 pm-ish

Saturday, August 18
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to Tyranena Brewing in legendary Lake Mills with Rockin’ Rhythm & Swingin’ Blues. On the expansive patio (weather permitting). Food cart on site. 6 to 9 pm.

Saturday, August 25
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, AGAIN. Dancing recommended, especially if you need to burn off a Mooseburger! 9:30 until very late.

Check back for future McMusical news.

P.S. Big Wes Turner’s Newsletter has added an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon...
FOR FREE!!! Just ask us.


Note: The postcard version of the Newsletter is redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is playing. Sign up.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Last-Minute Gigs Engaged!

The Sparks Band plays this coming Sunday! (June 24) in the beer garden at Vintage Brewing in Sauk City. 
3 to 5 pm.
The very next night (Monday, June 25), Tom travels south to Beloit to join in on guitarist Dave Potter’s Blue Monday series at the Grand Avenue Pub. 6:30 to 10 pm.

Scroll down to the McMusical calendar for more event listings. (See previous post for links.)

Why is this man smiling?
Could it be the off-camera pints of Tyranena beer? The company of drummer-man Mark Haines (pictured)? The unpictured presence of Chicago Blues HOF guitarist Billy Flynn and award-winning pianist Rie Kanehira, or the Kings of Cashbox themselves, Oscar Wilson and Joe Nosek? Or is it that new toy, little red MIM Fender P?
Correct answer: All Of The Above.




McMusical Calendar

Friday, June 22
The Cashbox Kings do the Chi-Town Blues thing for the Music at Harry’s Place concert series in Beloit, WI. Downbeat at 7:00 pm.

Saturday, June 23
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, home of The Mooseburger! 9 until late pm.

Sunday, June 24
The Sparks Band, plays while the beer pours in the beer garden at Vintage Brewing in Sauk City. On the shores of the mighty Wisconsin river. 3 to 5 pm.

Monday, June 25
The Dave Potter Band hosts a Monday night series of Blues at the Grand Avenue Pub in Beloit. Tom and Mark Haines join in from 6:30 to 10 pm.

Tuesday, June 26
The Cashbox Kings entertain the passing masses on Madison’s State Capitol Square during the lunch hour. Sample the food carts and chew along with the Blues.

Friday, June 29
The Sparks Band, those masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Chief’s. 6:30 to 10ish pm-ish.

Saturday, June 30
Big Wes Turner’s Trio presides over this Fourth-O-July preview party at The Varsity Club in Merrimac. 7 to 11 pm.

Sunday, July 1
The Cashbox Kings participate in The Knuckle Down Saloon’s annual all-day Red, White, and Blues festival, joined by The Jimmys and more. Festivities in the parking lot, weather permitting.

Wednesday, July 4
The Sparks Band, minor masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Me & Julio. 6 to 9. On the patio, weather permitting.

Friday, July 6
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings all varieties of booty-shaking Blues to Madison’s home of the Blues, The Knuckle Down Saloon. 9 to Midnight.

Sunday, July 8
Faux Fawn plays a set at Homegrown Festival in West Bend. 1 to 2 pm.

Saturday, July 14
The Birddog Blues Band in New Glarus, on the street and, later, at Tofflers Bar & Grill.


Sunday, July 15
Faux Fawn opens up the day’s festivities at Fete de Marquette at noon, on the Moon Stage.

Thursday, July 19
Faux Fawn plays the patio at the High Noon Saloon. 6 pm.

Saturday, July 21
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, home of the famous Mooseburger! 9 until late pm.
Check back for more McMusical announcements.
P.S. Big Wes Turner’s Newsletter has added an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon...
FOR FREE!!! Just ask us.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Keeping Up With...



Newsflash!
This Wednesday! (June 13) at 
Me & Julio, 6 to 9 pm.
Scroll down to the McMusical calendar for full event listings.





Note: Thanks to Big Al and the great audience at The Blu Room at Breezer’s Pub for a memorable night.

Where’s Wes?
We last reported on the whereabouts of Big Wes Turner after he called from the big island in Hawaii. The soothing strains of his slack-key guitar riffs still echo in our ears, but since then things have gotten very hot in Hawaii. We were wondering how close the Big Guy was to those wicked eruptions when a postcard shows up in the mail, postmark Vladivostok! What? Best wishes and something about a train ride was as much as we could decipher from the chicken-scratched message. Will balalaikas be the next stringed-instrument exploration for Wes Turner? As usual, the only way to know what Big Wes is up to is to keep eyes and ears ever open. Meanwhile...

McMusical Calendar

Wednesday, June 13
Big Wes Turner’s Trio comes back to Me & Julio. Will they be on the wagon (the patio stage)? So far, the weather lady says, Yes! 6 to 9 pm.

Thursday, June 14
The Cashbox Kings reign over Burlington, Wisconsin’s Concert Series in Echo Park. Hold me tighter, Carmelita! Show starts at 6:30 pm.

Friday, June 15
The Cashbox Kings sally forth to Tyranena Brewing (best beer in Wisconsin) in Lake Mills. 6 to 9 on the patio (per the weather).

Saturday June 16
The Cashbox Kings bring it all down to earth at the Monroe (Wisconsin) Hot Air Balloon and Blues Festival. Downbeat at 6:30 pm.

Friday, June 22
The Cashbox Kings do the Chi-Town Blues thing for the Music at Harry’s Place concert series in Beloit, WI. Downbeat at 7:00 pm.

Saturday, June 23
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, home of The Mooseburger! 9 until late pm.

Tuesday, June 26
The Cashbox Kings entertain the passing masses on Madison’s State Capitol Square during the lunch hour. Sample the food carts and chew along with the Blues.

Friday, June 29
The Sparks Band, those masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Chief’s. 6:30 to 10ish pm-ish.

Saturday, June 30
Big Wes Turner’s Trio presides over this Fourth-O-July preview party at The Varsity Club in Merrimac. 7 to 11 pm.

Sunday, July 1
The Cashbox Kings participate in The Knuckle Down Saloon’s annual all-day Red, White, and Blues festival, joined by The Jimmys and more. Festivities in the parking lot, weather permitting.

Wednesday, July 4
The Sparks Band, minor masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Me & Julio. 6 to 9. On the patio, weather permitting.

Friday, July 6
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings all varieties of booty-shaking Blues to Madison’s home of the Blues, The Knuckle Down Saloon. 9 to Midnight.

Sunday, July 8
Faux Fawn plays a set at Homegrown Festival in West Bend. 1 pm

Saturday, July 14
The Birddog Blues Band in New Glarus, on the street and, later, at Tofflers Bar & Grill.

Sunday, July 15
Faux Fawn opens up the day’s festivities at Fete de Marquette at noon, on the Moon Stage.

Thursday, July 19
Faux Fawn plays the patio at the High Noon Saloon. 6 pm.

Saturday, July 21
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, home of the famous Mooseburger! 9 until late pm.

Check back soon for more McMusical announcements.

P.S. Big Wes Turner’s Newsletter has added an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon...
FOR FREE!!! Just ask us.

Monday, May 21, 2018

This Just In!

(Scroll down for the McMusical calendar of upcoming events)

Breaking News!
Big Wes Turner’s Trio is rescheduled at The Blu Room at Breezer’s Inn. The ill-fated Friday the 13th gig (but I ain’t superstitious), was canceled when a serious illness knocked out one of three legs of the Big Wes Turner’s Trio stool (wait, that doesn’t sound right).


Anyway, thanks to the magnanimity of Big Al, Big Wes’ boys are back on Friday, June 8. On the Ioway side of the Big Muddy.


A Wrap-Up (of the near past)
May 9. The humidity was high, and so were The Maintainers. High atop the hill at the Olin-Turville Park Pavilion, overlooking Lake Monona and the Madison skyline, playing for the FOOT (Friends of Olin-Turville) sponsored event. Mel Ford even mesmerized music lovers with a mini-set of acoustic blues. How could you lose? Well, by not being there. Check back next year.

May 11. The Maintainers met up at Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills for the always-appreciative imbibers of Wisconsin’s best beers (per Big Wes). Those who have yet to enjoy this gem of a pet-and-family-and-music-friendly venue have Fridays and Saturdays from here until September to discover it. (Big Wes Turner’s Trio is back on August 18.)

May 12. Mel Ford and Tom McCarty joined The Cashbox Kings for the Crossroads Blues Society’s monthly concert at the Hope and Anchor Inn. Oscar Wilson (aka Roscoe Williams) ruled the room with his renditions of classic and original Blues. Joe Nosek (and his harmonica) mastered the ceremonies. Props to trap-set stalwart Steve Daugherty for unstoppable grooves.

May 18. The Maintainers went down to The Crossroads Coffeehouse in Cross Plains for some early evening Blues. This intimate room serves wonderful coffees and pastries, but also great sandwiches and beers. The perfect place to pull over on Highway 14 and relax for a spell.  

McMusical Calendar
June is about to bust out all over! Make the most of May’s last days, and mark your calendars for some summertime fun.

Friday, May 25
The Sparks Band indulges the ever present musical itch that is The 60s at TheHody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to late.

Sunday, May 27
The day before Memorial Day Monday finds The Birddog Blues Band (Ken “Birddog” Olufs on harmonica, Mel Ford on guitar, Steve Daugherty on drums, and Tom McCarty on bass) ripping it up down in New Glarus at Toffler’s Bar & Grill. On the spacious backyard patio, weather permitting. 6 ‘til 9ish.

Friday, June 1
The Birddog Blues Band (Ken “Birddog” Olufs on harmonica, Mel Ford on guitar, Mark Haines on drums, and Tom McCarty on bass) at The Knuckledown SaloonMadison’s home of the Blues. 8-ish ‘til midnight-ish.

Friday, June 8
Big Wes Turner’s Trio makes up for that missed Friday the 13th gig at the Blu Room in Dubuque, IA. 8 to midnight. (see links above)

Saturday, June 9
The Maintainers play Chief’s where the taps are many and Buck’s Pizza delivers from the other side of Cottage Grove Road. 8 to 11 pm, or so.

Wednesday, June 13
Big Wes Turner’s Trio comes back to Me & Julio. Will they be on the wagon (the patio stage)? Only the weather lady knows for sure. 6 to 9 pm.

Thursday, June 14
The Cashbox Kings reign over Burlington’s Concert Series in Echo Park. Hold me tighter, Carmelita! Show starts at 6:30 pm.

Friday, June 15
The Cashbox Kings sally forth to Tyranena Brewing (best beer in Wisconsin) in Lake Mills. 6 to 9 on the patio (per the weather).

Saturday June 16
The Cashbox Kings bring it all down to earth at the Monroe (Wisconsin) Hot Air Balloon and Blues Festival. Downbeat at 6:30 pm.

Friday, June 22
The Cashbox Kings do the Chi-Town Blues thing for the Music at Harry’s Place concert series in Beloit, WI. Downbeat at 7:00 pm.

Saturday, June 23
Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, home of The Mooseburger! 9 until late pm.

Tuesday, June 26
The Cashbox Kings entertain the passing masses on Madison’s State Capitol Square during the lunch hour. Sample the food carts and chew along with the Blues.

Friday, June 29
The Sparks Band, those masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Chief’s. 6:30 to 10-ish pm-ish.

Saturday, June 30
Big Wes Turner’s Trio presides over this Fourth-O-July preview party at The Varsity Club in Merrimac. 7 to 11 pm.

Check back for July McMusical events!

P.S. Big Wes Turner’s Newsletter has added an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon...
FOR FREE!!! Just ask us.