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 are still ringing 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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In the Merry Merry Month

Miss those April showers (snow showers included)? Well, missed or not, they’re gone, and now, as the May flowers bud and bloom, followed by insects, petals and pollen (Achooo! Bless you.), don’t miss the merry month of May’s myriad McMusical performances.
See below.





McMusical Calendar

Wednesday, May 9
The view of the Madison skyline in unmatched. The music from living legends of Madison’s Blues tradition,
The Maintainers (Frankie Lee on harmonica, Mel Ford on guitar, Tom McCarty on bass, and Rick Becker on drums) is FREE. Olin Turville Park Pavilion.  6 to 8 pm

Friday, May 11
Can’t say enough about the beer, not to mention the atmosphere at Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills. The Maintainers (same line-up as previous) provide a deep catalog of Blues in its many  permutations. On the patio from 6 to 9 pm, weather permitting. Inside from 7 to 10 if not.

Saturday, May 12
The Cashbox Kings hold court at the Hope and Anchor Pub in Loves Park, IL. Show starts at 8 pm.

Friday, May 18
From “Gutbucket” to “Jump” to sophisticated “Uptown” Blues styles, The Maintainers (same line-up as above) bring it all to the Crossroads Coffeehouse in Cross Plains.
7 to 9 pm.

Friday, May 25
The Sparks Band (Quartet!) scratches the ever-present musical itch that is The 60s. Dancing and imbibing at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to late.

Sunday, May 27
The Birddog Blues Band rips it up down in New Glarus at Toffler’s Bar &Grill. Ken “Birddog” Olufs on harmonica, Mel Ford on guitar, Tom McCarty on bass, and Steve Daugherty on drums.
8 til late.

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

Saturday, June 2
The Cashbox Kings play private parties, wedding receptions and such, and this night is one such occasion. In an undisclosed location. Come see ‘em next they're back in the public domain.

Check back for future 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.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Passed, Presents, Few Sure

Our hyper-connected NOW scoffs at distance. Think you can’t be bothered by business or other such nonsense while basking on an impossibly beautiful beach on the sun-drenched other side of the planet? Well, you haven’t been watching your TeeVee commercials. Yippee! Now we can “get away from it all” while having all of it right at our fingertips (thumb-tips for those adept manipulators of those too-smart-for-your-own-good phones).

Makes one wonder. What is the purpose of distance, if not to disassociate from the familiar and to immerse in the unfamiliar?

Such musings barely stirred during a recent trek to Texas. Not the other side of the world, but definitely not Wisconsin. The sunshine felt good, but ye olde reflecting pond of a brain pan barely rippled. A nagging cough upset every opportunity for serious recreational pursuits. And upon return, a trip to the doctor delivered a diagnosis of a not-to-be-taken-lightly ailment.

“Poop!,” said the patient. All that distance, wasted! Not to mention all that anticipation of playing with Big Wes Turner’s Trio at The BluRoom at Breezer’s Pub in Dubuque, Iowa, deflated. (Hard to play and sing when you can barely breath.) Yes, ill health drains away the depths of the ever urgent NOW. Damned bugs!

But that was then. This is now. And Saturday (see below) is soon. There’s your near future for you. Wrapped up in a beautiful bow of Wisconsin’s best brews. And then there’s May. Come what.

McMusical Calendar

Saturday, April 28
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays blues and samples brews (“Best in Wisconsin,” says Big Wes) at Tyranena Brewing.
7 to 10 pm

Monday, May 7

The Sparks Band indulges in 60s nostalgia while kicking off the first of many Monday night car shows at Me&Julio down dere on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm

Wednesday, May 9
The view of the Madison skyline is unmatched. The music from living legends of Madison’s Blues tradition, The Maintainers, is FREE.
Olin Park Pavilion.  6 to 8 pm

Friday, May 11
Can’t say enough about the beer, not to mention the atmosphere at Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills. The Maintainers provide a deep catalog of the blues in all its permutations. 6 to 9 pm, weather permitting a patio performance, or 7 to 10 pm indoors.

Saturday, May 12
The Cashbox Kings hold court at the Hope and Anchor Pub in Loves Park, IL. 8 to midnight.

Friday, May 18
The Maintainers bring that big Blues thing to the Crossroads Coffehouse in Cross Plains. Early show.

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

Sunday, May 27The Birddog Blues Band rips it up down in New Glarus at Toffler’s Bar & Grill. 8 til late.

What about June? Check back!

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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Out of the Blue (Hawaii)

(NOTE: Scroll down to “Calendar” for McMusical updates.)

These days, when the old land line rings, seems like the chances of winding up talking to a robot are about 50/50. As I reach for the receiver my brain is automatically asking, “Human? Or Robocall? Human? Or Robocall?” Perhaps not paradoxically, it makes it that much more pleasant to hear a familiar voice, especially one you haven’t heard for a while.

So it was recently when the voice of none other than the elusive Wes Turner (we often refer to him simply as “Big”) gently boomed “Howzit goin’ Pard?” A feather could’ve knocked me down.

It was a March mid-afternoon in my neck of the woods of Wisconsin, but Big Wes was just finishing breakfast. ‘Musicians are all late-risers,’ might be the conclusion one would understandably jump to here, but the more precise explanation was that the Big One was calling from halfway around the world. One of the Hawaiian islands, to be as precise as Wes was willing.

Big Wes has never been one for excessive detail. I asked what he was doing out there. He said, “I like the weather.” (Hard to steer wrong by stating the obvious.) We chatted. Along with all the persistent but good-natured B.S.ing, I learned that the irrepressible Mr. Turner has been passing his time by diving. Not in the ocean, but deep into his slack-key guitar repertoire. No surprise. We never knew him to be without a slide somewhere on his person and a pocketful of fingerpicks. “I hope you’re going to record some of that,” I said. All he’d say was, “Ya never know.”

We shot a fair amount of breeze. I brought him up to speed on the latest exploits of The Trio (see below). While we talked I could almost feel the warm waft of ocean air from his end of the line. And I definitely heard some plunking and strumming. “You got an uke there, Wes?” (We pronounce it “ook,” like the natives.) “Hell, everybody’s got one. This little honey never leaves my side.” I imagined the little instrument almost obscured by that big pair of hands, but the sound was gentle and soothing. “World’s best blood pressure medication,” he said. Then, before I knew it, he was signing off. “Hey Pard, you keep it above ground. I’ll check in with you down the road.”

Not far down the road, I hope. With Wes, you just never know. Meantime, I’ll keep picking up the phone and hoping for a live, human voice.


McMusical Calendar

Friday, April 13
Lucky you! (Get it?) Big Wes Turner’sTrio is back and boppin’ the Blues, appropriately at The Blu Room at Breezer’s Pub in Dubuque, I-o-way. 8 to midnight

Monday, April 16
Faux Fawn, regardless of whether or not there's a musical subgenre into which they neatly fit, songwriter Paul Otteson's surprising ensemble will be folking it up in support of headliner Kiernan McMullin, and local hero Brandon Beebe at the High Noon Saloon. Show starts at 8 pm

Wednesday, April 25
The Sparks Band (Rich, Mark, Tom) indulges in shameless 60s nostalgia at Me&Julio down dere on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm

Saturday, April 28
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays some blues and samples some brews (“Best in Wisconsin,” says Big Wes) at Tyranena Brewing. 7 to 10 pm

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.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Tune In With Turner


(Note: Scroll down to “Happenins” for McMusical news notes.)

Reading this? Then you’re in touch with Big Wes Turner’s Trio.
Big Wes himself is not so easy to click on, call up, or pin down. You won’t find him on “social media.” The man doesn’t own a computer. Never has. And cell phones? “Ain’t those just itty bitty computers?” He’s never owned one of those, either.

If you want to connect with Big Wes you just have to keep your eyes (and ears) open. If you’re in a crowd and you sense a big presence, if you spot a certain kind of “man of substance,” you know, a big fella, height-wise and girth-wise, dressed clean but not fancy, who seems to be taking his sweet time but somehow moves in and out of the moment with surprising speed (Wait! Where’d he go?), someone who is obviously in-step with the rhythm section of the universe, who looks like he could be humming himself a tune, who looks like he knows exactly where he’s going and like he’s already there, well...
might be Big Wes.

Although he has been known to eagerly share photos of friends and family, the Big Man is one of those folks who seem to have talent for evading cameras. Evidence of his presence remains rare, but at ease or in action, Big Wes gets around. He’s traveled the world, and for all the miles he’s logged up and down the backroads of the Midwest, he could easily have circumnavigated the big ball a few more times. A lot of people have seen him here or there, and a lot more say they’ve seen him, but seen or unseen, when you hear some sweet pickin’ on a guitar that sounds like it’s been down the road for more miles than most can imagine, well... rest assured that you’re on the same wavelength as Big Wes. Set your worries aside and hum along.

And herewith, the aforementioned Happenins:

Friday, March 30
Big Wes Turner’s Trio shakes off the last remnants of hibernation and roars back onstage at Middleton’s Club Tavern (Ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, oh my! Not to mention... “Moose Balls!”
Also, Friday Fish Fry!) 9pm to 1am

Friday, April 13
Lucky you! (Get it?) Big Wes Turner’s Trio is back and boppin’ the Blues, appropriately at The Blu Room at Breezer’s Pub in Dubuque, Iowa.
8 to midnight

Monday, April 16
Faux Fawn folks it up in support of headliner Kiernan Mcmullin, and local hero Brandon Beebe at the High Noon Saloon. 8 pm start

Wednesday, April 25
The Sparks Band indulges in 60s nostalgia at Me&Julio down dere on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm

Saturday, April 28
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays blues and samples brews (“Best in Wisconsin,” says Big Wes) at Tyranena Brewing. 7 to 10 pm

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.