2018 Bonfire Artists
Diane Coffee gives the kind of live performances you talk about for weeks after seeing. It's not that the band tears up the stage. There's no elaborate light show or other orchestrated theatrics. The main attraction — and the reason you'll want to watch and hear more — is Diane Coffee's fantastically flamboyant lead singer, Shaun Fleming. Conjuring both Mick Jagger and David Bowie, Fleming swaggers and shimmies on stage. He strikes playfully defiant poses, hands on hips, while his face does its own dance, with wildly exaggerated expressions: raised brows, eyes wide open, mouth enunciating every word. Not bad for someone known primarily as the drummer in Foxygen.
Charlie Parr is a folk artist for the new American Dust Bowl, a resonator-ready troubadour armed with a well-worn satchel of troubled tales that cut to the heart of a nation mired in fear and in dire need of a roots-music revival.
— Acoustic Guitar
One of the staples of Madison's vibrant music scene, The People Brothers Band has been spreading their brand of Rhythm and Soul around the Upper Midwest for nine years. Currently working on their second studio album, the band is known for energetic live shows and ability to connect with the audience. They are the winners of the Wisconsins Area Music Industry Award for 2014 Soul/R&B Band of the Year and the Madison Area Music Award for 2015 Pop/R&B Album of the Year (Middle of the In Between), 2013 Blues Album of the Year (People Brothers Live) & Blues Song of the Year (Looky Here Mister).
WheelHouse is a nationally touring Americana and bluegrass band hailing from Madison, Wisconsin. As a full-time working band they perform over 220 shows per year and have garnered attention from national labels. Featuring three and four part harmonies, fiddle and guitar leads, and driving rhythm of the upright bass WheelHouse brings an energy and attitude unique to themselves. WheelHouse also owns their own brand of whiskey appropriately named WheelHouse Whiskey, which can be found throughout southwestern Wisconsin.
Frogleg is a fresh young band out of Minneapolis. Since their first show in late 2012, a major buzz about the band Frogleg has been spreading throughout the Midwest music scene stemming from their ever-growing weekly tradition, “Frogleg Thursdays @ Bunkers” in downtown Minneapolis. With the Frogleg closing the book on this chapter of their musical path, they are setting their sights on more cities outside of their current circuit.
The band has now headlined shows at most of the major venues in Minneapolis from the Cabooze to the Skyway Theatre downtown as well as an appearance on the First Avenue mainroom stage. Frogleg has shared the stage with the Steven Tyler, Jeff Austin Band, New Orleans Suspects, Devon Allman, Orgone, Raw Oyster Cult, Samantha Fish, Allie Kral, Robert Randolph and has multiple dates with Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band.
Known for their songwriting and improvisational live performances, this seven piece would be best described as a soul band, as their influences are not drawn from one specific genre. A typical Frogleg show will usually features a unique blend of Funk, Reggae, Rock, Jazz and Bluegrass.Frogleg’s debut, self-titled album was met with much excitement last year, selling out their first pressing in under six months. The band is back in the studio working up their follow up release. They’ve brought in local heavy weights Rob Genedak and Jimmy Anton as co-producers. The album is tentatively scheduled for a spring release. Despite being a 7 piece band, they have not shied away from taking this show on the road. With national tours filling out 2017, active work in the studio on their follow up album, Frogleg is showing no signs of slowing down. Do yourself a favor and go see a Frogleg show!
Kind music for kind people. Kind Country is a Jamgrass band playing American standards as well as their own brand of Cosmic American music. Since their formation in 2012, the band has focused creating live performances with high levels of improvisation and energy gathering with a goal of creating a moment of musical bliss that can be shared by audience members and band alike.
The west coast of Wisconsin is not typically thought of as a hotbed of alternative reggae music. However, TUGG, hailing from La Crosse, WI has done an amazing job channeling tropical grooves and breezy melodies and has quickly become a top draw in the Midwest and beyond. Coming from a state known more for the Green Bay Packers, cold weather, and cheese, they boast an impressive resume of rubbing shoulders with reggae heavyweights. From shows with Ziggy Marley, Barrington Levy and Slightly Stoopid to Tours with The Wailers, The Dirty Heads, and PASSAFIRE… TUGG continues to prove why they’re a fast rising star of the alternative reggae/ska scene. All of the bands last 5 releases have debuted in the Top 50 of the iTunes Reggae Chart. Their 2012 EP “Home Brew” climbed all the way to #2 and spent 3 weeks in the Hot 100 iTunes Reggae Album Chart. Their 2013 album “Mazes” was recorded and produced by PASSAFIRE’S Ted Bowne.
THE YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS perform original songs and tunes inspired by the classic hillbilly, country-duo, and old-time musical traditions-- and also mines this same repertoire for forgotten gems that deserve to be heard again.
Based in Soldiers Grove, WI, the Sapsuckers (Nikki Grossman, guitar, fiddle, and vocals; Joe Hart, guitar, mandolin, and vocals) perform frequent concerts, as well as square and contra dances, and they are known for the light touch and sense of humor they bring to their performance. They launched their 2018 album, "Don't Think About Tomorrow Tonight", and at an official SXSW showcase, where they earned a standing ovation from attendees, as well as numerous Midwest tour dates. The album was co-produced by John Wood (Richard and Linda Thompson, Cat Stevens, Incredible String Band). Their 2015 album, "Ocooch Mountain Home", (their second), has received high praise from the likes of fROOTS, Bluegrass Today, and Country Music People UK.
In 2018, the Sapsuckers were nominated for Best Country Band in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Association.
Shields continues the tradition of American music with a solo-
performance that pulls in styles of days-gone- by. Using his National Resonator Guitar or Banjo accompanied by a unique front porch style of foot percussion and harmonica, he uses his voice as an extension of the past. Lou carries a full sound during live performances while sharing stories, thoughts and experiences with the audience. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe for over 8 years and has released 4 full-length albums and 13 EP’s.
Pine Travelers create original music based in roots rock and expanding into tight funk grooves, while also gleaning the best elements of outlaw country, folk, and bluegrass to inform their songwriting. After forming a songwriting partnership in 2013, founding members Nick Clutter and Alex White released the album, “Float on” in 2014, followed by a band name change and the subsequent release of Pine Travelers’ self-titled debut album in the spring of 2015. Their songwriting and touring schedule have showed no signs of slowing down, with over 120 performances in 2017 alone, and plans for a new album release in 2018. Since their formation, the band has brought their live show to countless theaters, clubs, bars, and festivals throughout much of the U.S. The group’s songs allow for a dance-able, energetic show of tightly composed songs, exploratory improvisation, and honest, meaningful lyrics reflecting their northern Midwest roots, and the unique music/arts scene of their home base of Madison, WI. In their songwriting, Pine Travelers strive to portray their simple, hard-working values: rural values meshed with urban sensibility; exciting & engaging sets of rustic roots music with a funky modern twist. They’ve also performed big sets at quality festivals, like Midwest Music Festival (MN), People Fest, Steel Bridge Songfest, Moondance Bluegrass Fest, Ifdakamp Festival, and Blottopia, sharing the stage with acts like Particle, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Billy Strings, Pert Near Sandstone, Charlie Parr, Mr. Blotto, Cornmeal and many more!
Friends since kindergarten, Anima came into existence as Raina and Jaia began making music together at the beginning of their high school years. They started by busking at local farmers markets and frequenting open mics, but with the help of their abundantly musical community in the hills of Driftless Wisconsin, Anima's on-stage presence has grown, as well as their musical range. Both self-taught musicians, Anima has never quite known what genre they fit into, or if they fit into one at all. With influences ranging from the Incredible String Band and the Grateful Dead, to Cloud Cult and Alt-J, to Wisconsin favorites such as Dead Horses and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, they have found an eclectic sound filled with hauntingly captivating harmonies, double-lead guitar riffs, and an affinity for the box drum.
Their lyric content contemplates human nature, healing, relationship, and oneness, and passes through a lens of transcendentalism saturated with images of the deepest roots of nature -- our earthen home, the patterns that exist, the fact that we are animals, and the endless fractal of breathing. Anima helps to remind us that we are all connected.
They have had the the great honor of sharing the stage with many different national and Wisconsin-based bands such as the Barefoot Movement, Dead Horses, Natty Nation, Auralai, Tugg, Rucksack Revolution (Adam Greuel of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Sara Vos of Dead Horses), Eddie Danger, and many more…
Originally making waves as a founding member and lead guitarist for longtime Midwest music scene staple, The Smokin' Bandits, Pat Ferguson has emerged as a renowned and nationally recognized solo performer, songwriter, and vocalist; his sound channeling Americana, bluegrass, and folk, deeply influenced by his Upper Mississippi River musical roots.
Cellist Janet Schiff and Percussionist Victor DeLorenzo (founding drummer of Violent Femmes) create the bold and vibrant new sound of NINETEEN THIRTEEN.
A cello made in Romania in the year of 1913 and a set of drums made in modern day America entertain each other in a haunting, melodic dance that suggests mystery, romance and future thought. Original compositions and looping are by Schiff while beat brushes and vocals are by DeLorenzo.
The cello is from 1913 but the music is from today!
NINETEEN THIRTEEN won a Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award (WAMI) for Jazz Artist of the Year and were featured on Fox 6 Milwaukee, The Arts Page on PBS and NPR's Lake Effect. As a very busy chamber rock ensemble, NINETEEN THIRTEEN has performed at BMO Harris Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum, Bastille Days, Summerfest, The Pabst Theatre, The Pfister Hotel, Turner Hall, The Museum of Wisconsin Art, and Racine Art Museum, all in the past year!
Sun Stereo hails from Urbana, IL. After graduating with a Musical Theater Composition degree from University of Illinois, Kelly McMorris (music, lyrics, vocals, keys) has been writing music, performing in a plethora of projects, and all the while canvassing the gutters and bowels of churches, saloons, and opera houses for the perfect concoction of thugs and miscreants to transpire his musical vision. He has procured (Josh Houchin, bass, vocals; Adrian Barnett, bari sax; Euan Edmonds, Trombone, Joshua Billingsley, Trumpet), and also added the lovely circus-esque performance art of Christine Janak to bring the uniquely original nuances and grandiose musical intricacies to life on the stage.
Their new EP was released in Summer 2015, to be followed by their 2nd full length album in the Fall of 2015.
Coyote is a four piece rock 'n' roll band out of southern Wisconsin. After playing music together for over 5 years, Isaac Young, Andy Goitia, and Ed Kosmatka formed Coyote in the summer of 2016 as an evolution of their old project. In September, Mikey Juszcyk joined the band on bass and was an instant fit. The winter of 2016 has Coyote focusing on the final stages of their debut LP, while also touring their Wisconsin stomping grounds and surrounding Midwestern states. Their sound is a nostalgic and organic blend of rock, americana, funk, and jazz, bringing a truly unique experience to every show.
GHWB originates from the historic rivertown/musical mecca LaCrosse, WI. Gregg Hall, founder of Deece Productions, has been a staple in the Midwest music scene for over a decade with his bands Mitgee Evers, Smokin’ Bandits, and outlaw country Minnesota legends the White Iron Band. Gregg Hall and the Wrecking Ball is his first solo project getting back to his country life style roots and back woods upbringing. This band features some of the best musicians southwestern WI has to offer featuring: Gregg Hall (guitar, vocals), Laun Braithwiate (guitar, vocals), Matt Mahlum (drums), Andrew Steeno (bass), Mike Stidolph (lap steel, peddle steel, mandolin, & fiddle), and Johnny Peterson (keyboard, vocals). GHWB is just good Ol’ American country music. Buy our new album “This, That, and the Land” at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gregghall4
Born in Oconomowoc, WI in 1982. Raised in Dousman/Sullivan, WI. Learned to play guitar and drums when I was 8yrs old. It's been a good journey thus far with plenty of challenges, in music and life.
My early music career involved getting to know the blues genre. You will hear it in everything I do. My grandfather is a vintage country player. You'll hear it in everything I do. I love the sweet soul grooves of Stax and Motown etc. You'll hear it in everything I do.
I believe there are two kinds of music, good and bad. Genres are made to be broken. Every note is a word, every phrase a sentence, every song a chapter. Let me tell you a story.
Armchair Boogie formed in the winter of 2014 as a banjo and guitar duo. After playing a handful of shows as a romp-stomp’in toe-tapp’in duo, Augie Dougherty (banjo) and Ben Majeska (guitar) recruited a well versed rhythm section to hold down the upbeat tempos and provide an extra oomph that’ll bring even saddest uncle to a dance floor. Drums and bass were destined to join the Boogie. This happened in October 2015; and In the few short months since then the Boogie boys have been busy performing, booking, and have just begun recording their first album.
Even though Armchair Boogie is young, their unique brand of bluegrass is true to the genre’s roots and has already landed them shows with Dead Horses, 2nd Strings, and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. Armchair Boogie performed as special guests at The Sentry Theater’s holiday show in December, 2015. If you can get up and dance, you’ll enjoy a time with Armchair Boogie.
The Heavy Set is a rock band out of Minneapolis whose latest studio release “Everybody’s Got A Mountain” has been met with local and regional acclaim. Just their first full-length album, “Mountain” was recorded at Real Phonic Studios, with local legend Erik Koskinen producing and engineering, and also has Kevin Bowe credited with engineering a track at IPR. Their single “River” was featured on The Current’s Local Show, and was placed twice on their annual Top 89 Polls (Top 89 Songs and Top 89 Local Songs). No strangers to the road, the band just finished a midwest tour in support of the album, and also landed a Daytrotter session, regional press and radio in-studios. Their debut studio release, the self-titled "Jake Ilika & The Heavy Set EP" was released in March of 2014.
This Milwaukee-based group radiates a carefree island atmosphere with tight drums and energizing bass lines, while their iconic rock drive steers the musical journey with awe-inspiring guitar riffs and vintage vocal harmonies.
Known largely for their eclectic live performances that incorporate the Australian didgeridoo into flowing soundscapes of reggae, funk, blues, and jazz-fusion, SC3 consistently leaves audiences wanting more. Deeply rooted in the positive message of reggae music, the band has grown to realize their calling: to spread peace, love, and harmony… all the while laying down an infectious groove.
Formed August 2016 and based out of Winona, MN. Karate Chop Silence is a funky alt. rock quartet with strong pop influences and an appetency for grooves.
The Lower 5th incorporates folk, rock, R&B, reggae, country and bluegrass to produce a unique blend of Midwestern Soul that swings, sways, rocks, and wails. Luke Jorgensen, Cory Swadley (The Northern Pines) and Paul Metz(The Mascot Theory) began to work together to write and perform songs that draw from and build upon their common diverse musical roots. With the addition of Jayme Cash (keys)(The Northern Pines, Moonhouse) Jeremy Henning (Trombone) and Audrey Pescatelli (bass), The Lower 5th is a band of powerhouse musicians that play high energy music from the heart and leave it all on stage with every performance. The band has performed in many venues in Madison and across central Wisconsin including featured sets at Wiskeyonsin Family Reunion, Ragged Roots Bandit County Fair, Madison Charity Jamboree,and Sunshine Soul festivals, radio and television performances and weekday residencies at The Come Back Inn and The Up North Bar.
Bird’s Eye is a Madison seven-piece creating funky hip hop with live
instrumentation. Building cred steadily since 2013, they now fill venues alongside other prime acts both local and touring. Shows are characterized by the band’s ability to engage a crowd and surprise even devoted fans when inviting guests to share the stage impromptu.
The rhythm section—featuring Evan’s explorative bass, Sean’s refined drumming, and Lauren adorning the mix with keys, vocals and sax—builds a groove-driven foundation for Ra Fury’s cutting lyricism, Joe’s wah-wah counterpoint on guitar, and Hannah’s soulful lead-singing. All seven are uniquely valued because everyone has a part in each song that makes it so recognizable. Bird’s Eye plays at least monthly in the Madison area and has demos posted on Soundcloud and Youtube—show your support!
The music of Gin Mill Hollow is a marriage of experienced song composition and emotive lyrical content. A blend of Americana styles including roots, bluegrass, and folk performed on stringed instruments of all varieties creates a sonic landscape that can be enjoyed by the casual listener and avid music fan alike.
Basement Brew is a Minnesota Jam Band with roots in blues, jazz, and rock and roll music.
We are birds birds birds! We write and play songs!
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