Saturday, February 1, 2020

First Things First

First. February is Black History Month. Hard to imagine what a deprived, sorry state my heart and soul would be in having never heard Ray Charles, Leadbelly, Lighting Hopkins (pictured), Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Jimmy Smith, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Sam Cooke, Big Joe Turner, Monk, Miles, Coltrane, Willie Dixon, Muddy, Wolf, Ellington, Ella, Etta, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone, Basie, Donny Hathaway, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Chuck Rainey, George Porter Jr., James Jamerson!… the list goes on and on and it keeps on growing. Year-round love, respect, and thanks to these and so many other great musical artists who stir my spirit and make me proud to stand with them as Americans.

Everybody wants to know, “where’s BIG WES?” And the answer is always the same: traveling.

After decades of performing up and down the highways and byways of the Midwest, Big Wes Turner turned his sights toward farther horizons. He hasn’t been everywhere, Man, but he’s getting there, even though the evidence provided by his infrequent cards, letters, and phone calls indicates that his path is that of a freewheeling wanderer.

Wes has always had a nose for new sounds and lately he’s been following that nose wherever it leads him. Slack-key guitar sounds were in the background when he called from Hawaii, but then the lava started rolling down and he left town. Was he headed to Mongolia to refine his Tuvan throat-singing technique, or to Australia to see some guy about a didgeridoo. We don’t know, do you?

Luckily, BIG WES Turner’s Trio is easier to track down. The surest way is to invite them to play at your establishment or residence for any event that calls for their eclectic selections of American musical classics.

Mark your calendars for May 1, 2020 when Tom, Rick, and Gary play at Mazomanie Music Conservancy (in Mazomanie), and check this space often for updates on the downbeats.

The McMusical Calendar

Thursday, February 13
The Sparks Band plays vintage 60s rock AND roll at The VintageBrewery in Sauk City. 7 to 9

Friday, February 14
The Sparks Band rinses and repeats their rock-tacular 60s stuff, this time at Chief’s Tavern on Cottage Grove Road (Yes! Right across from Buck’s Pizza, and, Yes!, they deliver.) 6:30 to to 9:30.

Saturday, February 22
The Cashbox Kings lay down Chess-era Blues at Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills. Wisconsin’s premier beer and world-class Blues. 7 to 10 pm.

Sunday, February 23
The Birddog Blues Band entertains starting at 2pm, right after the last pin falls at the Madison Blues Society’s Bowling for Blues event at Schwoegler’s Park Towne Lanes.

Saturday, February 25
The Cashbox Kings set it up and lay down surrounded by delicious hors d-ouevres for the annual Porchlight fundraiser held at UW Madison’s Discovery Center. Chow down with Chess-era Blues in the background.

Check back for March dates.