Thursday, October 3, 2019

Who, What, Wherefore Art Thou, Wes?

People ask us all the time: Which one is Wes? 

To which we answer: None of us. We're Big Wes Turner's Trio

Yes, it can be confusing. And things don't clear up much after answers to questions about who and where Big Wes is.

It begs the question: how does someone become both renowned and unknown?

Back when ALL bands were bar bands, Big Wes Turner somehow became both legend and wraith. Despite the swath he cut from Midwest beer joints to all points of the compass, no head shots or 8 x 10 glossies appear to have survived and, though some claim to have a candid, none that we have seen are clear enough to verify.

Even we, (his Trio), find that memories of our encounters with him conflict, as if he were the original six-string mesmerist who takes his bows, waves once, and somehow wipes clean all traces of himself.

Almost all traces. He IS out there. We'll get a call from halfway around the world, and it might break up or break off, but not before that unmistakable rumble of laughter comes over the line. I got a postcard last year, but, wouldn't you know, I can't find it now.

No matter. We remember the songs, a lot of them anyway, and do our best to keep the Big Wes legacy rolling (and rocking).

Check out Tom, Rick, and Gary (BigWesTurnersTrio) (the "biggest little band in Madland").

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Remains of the Days

Days of summer, that is.

The sun is shining and a soft breeze is blowing. The grass still needs mowing. Plenty of warm (or warmish) weather left to enjoy. What's not to love?

Well, plenty, as it happens, but we're not the daily news. We're here to keep you up to date on some of the musical diversions that abound around this corner of the great state of Wisconsin.

McMusical Calendar


Friday, August 23 (Tonight!)
The Sparks Band replays the 60s at Chief’s 6:30 to 9:30

Saturday, August 24
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays a fond farewell gig at Me&Julio on Fish Hatchery Road before the line-up of live music comes to an end. 
6 to 9
(Tom, Rick, and Gary pictured.)

Saturday, August 31
The Birddog Blues Band rocks Toffler’s in New Glarus. In the backyard, if weather permits. 8 to 11

Friday, September 13
Big Wes Turner’s Trio at The Bulquarian Brew House in Monroe. Come for the beer, stay for the music, or vice versa. All good. 6 to 9

Saturday, September 14
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays a CAP (Customer Appreciation Party) in New Glarus from 1 to 4 (pm). If you’re a customer, you know where to go.

Friday, September 20
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays the historic The Club Tavern in Middleton. 9 to 1

Thursday, September 26
The Sparks Band is back at it at The Vintage Brewery in Sauk City. 7 to 9

Friday, September 27
The Sparks Band reloads their 60s for a salvo of nostalgia at The Atwood (on Atwood Ave., formerly Mr. Roberts). 8 to 11

Check back for October dates and updates.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Short Notice

Madison Wisconsin has a Blues tradition going back at least as far as big Blues names appearing at a crowded campus corner bar called The Nitty Gritty. From there the nexus of Blues performances in Madison kept moving. To The Church Key, The Club De Wash, Luther's Blues, and now Madison's new "Home of the Blues", The Knuckle Down Saloon.


And this Saturday (August 10), longtime, grizzled veterans of the Madison music scene,  "Madison's Biggest Little Band," Big Wes Turner's Trio, gets down at the Knuckle Down. Be there! The "Rockin' RHYTHM & Swingin' BLUES" starts rollin' at 9 pm.

Big Wes's chosen three will rely heavily on their Blues and R&B repertoire, but there's no way they won't be trotting out favorites from further out, such as: Mickey Baker's classic guitar instrumental Lullaby of the Leaves, or Jimi Hendrix's Up From The SkiesAfter all, Blues and R&B has always been Big Wes's meat and potatoes, but, as the big Man himself would say, "What about dessert?"



Tom McCarty (bass), Rick Becker (drums), and Gary Hendrickson (guitar).

Check back for updates to the McMusical Calendar.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Where and Now

Now what? 

Summer time is busy time. Everybody's in a hurry to get somewhere so they can relax. But haste can not only make waste, sometimes it delivers downright dangerous results. So chill.

Big Wes Turner says, "Slow down. You'll get farther." And he ought to know. World traveler Wes is never too busy to pull over and listen to live music, especially if it's something he's never heard before.

That said, if you've already heard any of the bands listed below, don't let that stop you from attending. It's live and always never exactly the same twice. Hmmm. Always never? Got to think about that.


McMusical Calendar
Friday, August 2
The Birddog Blues Band at The Knuckle Down Saloon.
8 to Midnight


Friday, August 16
The Sparks Band plays 60s songs at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton.
9 pm to 1 am


Saturday, August 17
The Birddog Blues Band at Tofflers Bar & Grill in New Glarus.
8 to Midnight


Thursday, August 22
The Cashbox Kings bring Chicago blues to Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills.
6 to 9 pm


Friday, August 23
The Sparks Band keeps 60s sounds alive at Chief’s Bar & Grill on
Cottage Grove Road (right across from Buck’s Pizza--they deliver).
6:30 to 10 pm


Saturday, August 31
The Birddog Blues Band at Tofflers Bar & Grillin New Glarus.
8 to Midnight


Friday, September 13
Big Wes Turner’s Trio keeps the legacy of their namesake alive
at The Bulquarian Brewhouse in Monroe.
6 to 9 pm


Thursday, September 26
The Sparks Band rocks out 60s style at The Vintage Brewery in Sauk City.
7 to 9 pm


Friday, September 27
The Sparks Band keeps on rocking at The Atwood (on Atwood Avenue, formerly Mr. Roberts). 8 to 11 pm

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Choice Words

Which words? See Note* below.

Heading into the thick of a steamy summer, gigging indoors with the aid of conditioned air, and outdoors without, Mr. McMusic and his assorted associates stay hydrated and come out swinging (and rocking). See the McMusical Calendar below to find out when and where.

This from the hindsight file: Big Wes Turner’s Trio was tickled to entertain into the wee hours of the afternoon at Minhas Distillery in Monroe. Though it happened way last month, it seems like yesterday in a way. Lovely spot, lovely day, lovely people. More of that, please!

*Note: In our previous post we noted the absence of such commentary as is commonplace here, thus rendering the post somewhat abnormal. Turns out that the word "abnormal," or “Not Normal” as we headlined with blithe insouciance, is a trigger for internet perverts (you know who you are Ukraine), and now we know to choose our words with care. Yeesh.

The McMusical Calendar

Saturday, July 6
The Sparks Band plays Prairie (du Chien)! The ongoing homage to 60s sounds stretches from 2 to 4 pm on the street next to world famous Pete’s Hamburger Stand, and then from 8 to midnight at The Blackhawk.

Saturday, July 13
The Sparks Band plays Lulu’s 13 Pub (at East Towne Mall). Sounds of the 60s will waft over the patio and parking lot whilst weather permits (otherwise, inside). 6 to 9pm. 


Wednesday, July 17
The Cashbox Kings play Wonderful Wednesdays in Milwaukee’s lovely Lake Park. Joyful blues noise begins at 6:30 pm.

Friday, July 19
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings the Big Wes brand of Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES to the Bulquarian Brewhaus.  Swingin’ starts at 6 pm. 

Friday, July 26
Faux Fawn plays Reedsburg, Wisc. Details coming. THIS ENGAGEMENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

Saturday, July 27
The Birddog Blues Band participates in the inaugural Fitch-Rona Blues and Booze Festival at Yahara Bay Distillers in Verona, sponsored by The Madison Blues Society. Music from 11 to 8. Check link for full line-up.

Wednesday, July 31
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings the Big Wes brand of Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES to Me&Julio (in Fitchburg, out dere on Fish Hatchery Road). 6 to 9 pm.

Check back for August events.

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.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Not Normal


The normally voluble Mr. McMusic bites his tongue about the evils of the internet and smart-phone addiction (hypocrisy noted because, yes, after all, where are we right now?) and bides his time, this time anyway, leaving you with less to read and more to do. Start by doing the following: follow the steps below.

Step One: Read the McMusical Calendar.
Step Two: Get off your butt and attend one of the listed events, or several of them, or all of them. None of them require contact with, or payment to, the Digital Overlords of Hyperconnectivity (DOH).

McMusical Calendar

Thursday, June 6
The Jimmys play their semi-regular gig at Tofflers. Why is this important? Because a) It’s The Jimmys (duh!), and b) Tom fills in on bass for the stalwart but unavoidably unavailable Jon Wartenweiler. 8 to late

Friday, June 7
The Sparks Band revisits thems 60s classics (yes, we'll play Walk Away Renee AGAIN) at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to late pm.

Tuesday, June 11
The Birddog Blues Band makes music at the “MARV” at Lower Court House Park in downtown Janesville. Bring your blanket or folding chair.

Saturday, June 15
The Birddog Blues Band (Ken Olufs, Mel Ford, Derek Hendrickson, and Tom McCarty) keep things grounded in the beer tent at the Monroe Balloon Fest. 2 to 3:30 pm.

Saturday, June 15
Later the same evening, Big Wes Turner’s Trio returns to The Club Tavern in Middleton, home of The Mooseburger! 9 until late pm.
NOTE: This gig was orginally scheduled for Friday, June 14.

Thursday June 20
The Sparks Band entertains brew quaffers and afficionados of 60s hits at the Vintage Brewery in Sauk City. 7 to 9 pm.

Friday, June 21
The Cashbox Kings bring Chi-Town Blues to the sprawling patio party that is Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills, WI. 6 to 9 pm

Saturday, June 22
Big Wes Turner’s Trio
entertains into the wee hours of the afternoon at Minhaus Brewery in Monroe. 2 to 6 pm.

Thursday, June 27
The Sparks Band entertains quaffers of brews and afficionados of 60s hits at the Capital Brewery in Middleton. 6 to 9 pm.

Saturday, June 28
The Sparks Band plays 60s hits and patters in patois on the patio at Me & Julio in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm.

Check back for July events.

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, April 23, 2019

Hey! Remember?


Remember way back when “social media” was a new thing? Even back then a few wise heads expressed doubts about the ultimate good or ill of it all. Since then not only has the novelty worn off, Facebook and the others have become a pervasive presence in our lives. Perhaps perniciously so.

I’ve always been suspicious of a business that purports to give you something for nothing, and the history of Facebook has hardly proven such suspicions unfounded. Is connectedness valuable? Sure! But so is privacy. Perhaps preciously so.

A guy named Ross Douthat recently argued that if we really want to regain some of our privacy, we will need to set some limits. We will need to establish internet-free places and spaces. We will need to experience reality before it becomes virtual. We will need to rediscover ways to interact and socialize that don’t depend on smart phones.

This sounds like good advice, so we’re passing it on. And while we’re at it, check the Calendar below for places and occasions where just such reality-based socializing can be enjoyed. Turn of that smart phone and raise your glass, Wisconsinites.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who joined in with Big Wes Turner’s Trio for the opening weekend of Tyranena Brewing's 
summer entertainment season (live music every Friday and Saturday on Tyranena's spacious dog-friendly, family-friendly patio and backyard. Flying Cow Pizza brought their portable wood-fired oven onsite and the result was a perfect pairing with Tyranena's array of robust beers. Tom, Rick, and Gary had a good old time playing Wes Turner’s signature brand of "Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES."


The McMusical Calendar

Wednesday, May 15
The Maintainers keep Madison’s blues tradition alive. Mel Ford, Frankie Lee, Rick Becker, and Tom McCarty mix it up for fans of fun and FREE music. The Olin Park Shelter. 6 to 8 pm

Friday, May 17
The Sparks Band knocks musical nostalgia balls out of the proverbial park at The Atwood. 8 to 11 pm

Saturday, May 18
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings their Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES to Me&Julio in Fitchburg. On the patio if weather permits. 6 to 9 pm

Tuesday, May 21
The Birddog Blues Band plays for Heartland Credit Union’s annual meeting at Turner Hall. 5:30 to 8

Thursday, May 23
The Madison College Big Band and Madison College Jazz Ensemble play the Capital Brewery biergarten, in Middleton. 6 to 9


Friday, May 24
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings the Big Wes brand of Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES to Chief’s Bar & Grill. Buck's Pizza (right across the road) delivers! 6:30 to 10 pm

Saturday, May 25
The Birddog Blues Band plays at The Friendly Inn Bar & Grill on 17th Street in Monroe. 4 to 8 pm

Sunday, May 26
No work tomorrow, right? So come down to Tofflers in New Glarus to hear The Birddog Blues Band. 8 'til late.

Check back for more June, and July dates, plus late-breaking McMusical news and corrections.

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.