Saturday, September 2, 2017

Road Markers



Whoa! We are mere hours from being on our way to Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, where Billy Flynn will be joining in with Big Wes Turner’s Trio for what may be the last show of the season on Tyranena’s expanded outdoor area. Labor ye not this weekend. Come out to the early show (6 to 9 pm). Food cart on site and, needless to say, the best beers in Wisconsin. Best bring your growler.

And then?
A brief hiatus from the McMusical hubbub whilst I and the wife wander midst the moors, perhaps also perambulating between pubs, as it were. More on that later.

We shall return, though. In plenty of time to set up for showtime with The Cash BoxKings at The Crystal Corner Bar on Willy (Williamson) St. in Madtown (Madison, Wisconsin.) Recommended.

And then?
Check back here for more news about “Big Wes T’s Three” and the other outfits listed up there on the masthead. Meantime, keep cutting back on the carbon, Planeteers!

Peace. Harmony.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Connectedness



Greetings visitor! If you are NOT viewing this from the safety and comfort of Ukraine (that seemingly primary source of robotic internet perusals and incursions [have those Ukrainians nothing better to do? Have I no better question to ask?]), then I urge you to read through and take a moment to “comment.”

That request requested, let’s talk future McMusicisms.

Last week? Busy. This week? Not so much. And a welcome reprieve it is. Time well put to preparations for a venture to a particular faraway place. (More on that later.) But before we make our getaway, we’ll have, as Bob Dylan once said, “one more weekend, one more weekend with you.”  Or, in this case, with two of our fave combos.

Friday, September 1, The Sparks Band returns to The Varsity Club Bar and Grill in Merrimac to lay down that 60s soundtrack from 6 to 10 pm whilst hungry patrons chow down on a standout Wisconsin fish fry.

Saturday, September 2, Big Wes Turner’s Trio at Tyranena Brewing. Billy Flynn joins Tom and Rick for what may be the last show of the season on Tyranena’s expanded outdoor area. Early show (6 to 9 pm) and food cart on site. Needless to say, the best beers in Wisconsin. Bring your growler.

And so, adieu. But before we leave, consider this word: disconnect.

Like so many English words, it operates as noun and verb. As a noun: a failure to understand, a flaw that impedes the putting together of two plus two to equal four. As a verb: to stop the flow, to cut the cord, to shut out, to turn the cold shoulder, to ignore, to...well, you get the picture.

If you’re on life support in the local hospital, disconnection can be fatal. But, in the age in which we live, to disconnect from the internet—that endless flow of data that monetizes distraction, the lifeblood of the current economy, the source of the latest and largest fortunes—is to run the risk of falling over in the forest of humanity unnoticed and unheard. Such disconnection becomes a kind of fatality.

“Maybe a good kind,” I muse ironically, given that without an internet connection connecting these musings to you, dear hypothetical reader, connection or disconnection, good or bad, living, dead, or undead, are academic at best.

“Maybe, a rebirth? Or a reconnection with the world of the senses?,” my musings continue. (Cue chirping crickets.)

Monday, August 7, 2017

The One (Month) That Got Away



Wait a minute! Where did July go? We're only days into August and it all seems somehow so long ago and far away! The mind (what’s left of it) reels!! For those who give a shhhh..., a recap of last month’s McMusical events can be found below.

But FIRST, a preview of upcoming events!

Friday, August 11, The Maintainers (Tom, Rick, Mel, Frankie) return to The Varsity Club Bar and Grill deck. Grooves will be gotten on from 6 to 10 pm as the sun sets and the fish fry. Half a mile from Wisconsin’s ONLY free car ferry!

Saturday, August 12, The Cashbox Kings play the second annual Blues and Brews on 66, in Joliet, Illinois. (Tom plays bass.)

Tuesday, August 15, The Midwesterners, yes, the whole band—Richard, Ernie, Mark, and Tom—reunite for an outdoor concert at Lake Marion, just east of Mazomanie. Bring your lawn chair.

Thursday, August 17, The Sparks Band plays a private party. Wait! If it’s private, why bother mentioning it? So you can eat your heart out? No. So you know that you can hire these slick 60s revivalists for YOUR next event.

Friday, August 18, The Sparks Band, again, this time at the Hody Bar and Grill in Middleton. Drinkin’ and dancin’.

Saturday, August 19, The Birddog Blues Band at Tofflers, New Glarus (in the commodious back yard if the rain don’t fall and the creek don’t rise).

Friday, September 1, The Sparks Band returns to The Varsity Club Bar and Grill to lay down that 60s soundtrack from 6 to 10 pm whilst hungry patrons chow down on a fab fish fry.

Saturday, September 2, Big Wes Turner’s Trio at Tyranena Brewing. Billy Flynn joins Tom and Rick for what may be the last show of the season on Tyranena’s expanded outdoor area. Early show (6 to 9 pm) and food cart on site. Needless to say, the best beers in Wisconsin. Bring your growler.


Nothing else on the calendar except an overseas sojourn, but we’ll talk about that later. Check back.


RECENT HISTORY (The Month That Got Away)
In July—Chicago Blues cats the Cash Box Kings released a brand new album of songs, their first since signing to venerable Chicago blues label Alligator Records. The core of the Kings, singer Oscar Wilson and harmonica player Joe Nosek, were joined by associates Tom McCarty (on bass) and Mel Ford (on guitar) for a performance at the wonderfully restored Mineral Point Opera House on July 7, and next night at the lovely lakeside band shell in Clear Lake, Iowa. The annual Bicycles, Blues, & Barbeque Festival had all that—professional bike racers, great barbeque (ask Oscar), and the inviting environs of historic Clear Lake (the Lake Geneva of Iowa). Well worth crossing the Mississippi and navigating those seemingly endless miles of cornfields.

On the last day of the month, Tom rejoined “The Kings” for a “Blue Monday” performance at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, Illinois, a great performance venue and a full house of hardcore Chicago Blues fans. Original “Kings” drummer Kenny Smith gave the crowd plenty of what they wanted, and “Little Frank” and Chicago Blues HOFer Billy Flynn delivered a guitar double whammy. The following night put “The Kings” at the famous Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, Illinois, for a monthly blues night and live radio broadcast. Regular “Kings” drummer Mark Haines and everyone’s first-call guitarslinger, Joel Paterson, made it a musical night to remember.

Tom and singer/songwriter extraordinaire Paul Otteson of Faux Fawn made a rare duo performance at the Art In art gallery and performance space on July 12. A High Noon Saloon patio show featuring the entire Faux Fawn lineup was rained out on August 3, but a quick backup plan brought band, friends, family, and a fine selection of brews together for an east-side house party. That’s livin’!


Travel Wisconsin! So says the Tourist Board, and they ain’t wrong. Tom was heading North to join friends Mo Jo and The Flipside for a July 20 gig in Iola. Great band, great gig, and a great excuse to bring along the beloved for two nights of fun and frolic on Waupaca’s lovely chain of lakes. We could easily have stayed longer.

On July 22, The Maintainers (Tom, Rick, Mel, Frankie) answered the call to fill in for a calendar mix-up at the Knuckle Down Saloon, Madison’s friendly home of blues. Great crew and crowd!

On July 27, The Birddog Blues Band (Ken, Tom, Derek, Mel) were joined by organist/keyboardist extraordinaire Todd Phipps, for an thoroughly enjoyable evening of music-making at Quaker Steak & Lube in Middleton.
 

What about The Sparks Band? The scions of the 60s soundtrack set it up and laid it down at The Varsity Club Bar and Grill on July 28, then did it all over again the next night on The Nautigal‘s sumptuous lawn overlooking the landing at Wesport. On August 4 the 60s repertoire couldn’t have found a better audience than West High’s reunited class of ‘67, spread out on the spacious Sprecher’s deck. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Live at Talbot Studio

Terry Talbot of Talbot Studio and Gallery pitched in with the Make Music Madison event, and gave Big Wes Turner’s Trio a great spot in which to welcome back guitarist Gary Hendrickson (long layoff due to injuries and ailments). 

Want to see and hear? (Headphones recommended.) Terry ran his recorder and here's the result. 
  Live at Talbot Studio: Big Wes Turner's Trio

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Busy-ness



First, kudos to Terry Talbot of Talbot Studio and Gallery, who gave Big Wes Turner’s Trio a beautiful setting in which to bring back guitarist Gary Hendrickson. Fun was had by the band, and the family, friends, and passersby who became stoppersin were most welcome. Music was made, Madison!

Second, things are getting busy!

On Friday, June 23, The Sparks Band rides again at Sprecher’s, in the outer limits of Middleton (yes, in Wisconsin) Doin’ it on the deck from dusk to dark. Eat, drink, and rock-n-roll next to Middleton’s last cornfield. (Inside if it rains—but it won’t.)


Wednesday, June 27 the Birddog Blues Band sets up in the City Park Pavilion in downtown Janesville. Bring your lawn chairs for this city-sponsored set. Early evening.

Saturday, July 1, The Knuckle Down Saloon celebrates July 4 with an afternoon of the Midwest’s best Blues: The Cash Box Kings, The Jimmys, and Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin Altar Boys.
"Top of the Food Chain' Blues Artists with the awards to back it up!"

Sunday, July 2, The Maintainers (that’s Frankie Lee, Mel Ford, Rick Becker, and Tom McCarty) play up to (and beyond?) the firing off of the Merrimac fireworks, out dere on da deck dere at the friendly Varsity Club.

Friday, July 7, those hardcore Chicago Blues cats the Cash Box Kings perform in “concert” (ooooooo!!!) at the Mineral Point Opera House (in Mineral Point, Wisconsin). Go figure.

Saturday, July 8, the Cash Box Kings head down to Clear Lake (Iowa) for the big Bicycles, Blues, & Barbeque Festival.

Wednesday, July 12, Tom joins singer/songwriter extraordinaire Paul Otteson of Faux Fawn for a rare duo performance at Art In art gallery in Madison (1444 E. Washington Ave.).

Come back for updates!