In 2010, the five Wisconsinites that make up Horseshoes & Hand Grenades found themselves in a living room in the college town of Stevens Point, WI, holding acoustic instruments and enjoying a hodgepodge of fermented beverages. Music and revelry ensued that evening and, while many of the party guests eventually bid their goodbye well into the morning hours, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades wasn’t ready to let the get-together fade. Five years later, the music still hasn’t stopped and the party is still going strong, from the mountain west to the river towns of the Midwest that the quintet calls home.
Minneapolis-based brother duo The Cactus Blossoms released You’re Dreaming (produced by JD McPherson) on January 22nd, via Red House Records. Inspired by fellow Minnesotan, Bob Dylan - Jack Torrey and Page Burkum began making something new out of classic forms and minimal instrumentation. By infusing elements of early rock’n’roll and classic country, The Cactus Blossoms have created a sound that is both timeless and contemporary, accompanied by thoughtful lyrics and soaring harmonies.
One of the staples of Madison's vibrant music scene, The People Brothers Band is an 8-piece Rhythm & Soul powerhouse and their only desire is to get you moving on the dance floor. 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), but, most importantly, they are a family whose love for music and playing together shines brightly through each performance.
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 Twin Cities music scene stemming from their ever-growing weekly tradition, “Frogleg Thursdays @ Bunkers Music Bar & Grill” in downtown Minneapolis. Outside of Bunker’s, the band has now headlined shows at most of the major venues in Minneapolis from the Cabooze to the Skyway Theatre downtown. Frogleg has shared the stage with the Jeff Austin Band, New Orleans Suspects, Devon Allman, Orgone, Raw Oyster Cult, Samantha Fish, to name a few.
Funk is a way of life, and PHO is bringing this nation back under the groove. Delivering a hypnotic array of the funkiest sounds to come out of the Midwest since the 80s, their debut album Cash It slams with an artistry in groove. This 8 piece powerhouse, Influenced by funk legends like Prince, Johnny Guitar Watson, and the Ohio Players, brings us all to the deepest musical truths. PHO comes together to push boundaries and stylistic limits by exploring funk, soul, hip-hop, and jazz sensibilities.
Old Shoe is a five-piece Americana Roots Rock band based out of Chicago, Illinois. Made up of talented songwriters from across the country, hailing from as far away as Alaska, the band's compositions paint a diverse landscape of American life.
The band's new album Family is not merely another notch in the belt for the Old Shoe, but is more so a poignant culmination of their growth and progress since the last release in 2011. In just a little over two years, Old Shoe solidified their strong lineup with keyboardist/mandolinist/vocalist Joe Day and drummer Greg Fundis, rounded the Midwest festival circuit at high-profile events like Summer Camp and Wakarusa, opened for Grammy-award winning Bruce Hornsby, and even produced 3 consecutive installments of their own festival, Shoe Fest.
Through an obvious deep respect for the creative process and a willingness and thoughtfulness likened to a butterfly floating through a summer breeze, Wendy Soleil manifested what we now know in this universe as, i like you. A blended concoction of sounds, the Minneapolis band i like you. can only be described as Drawing upon a multitude of influences, the transcendental songwriting and sweetly soaring vocals of Soleil became the seed that would create the foundation of i like you.’s energetic and timeless sound. Masterfully blending their full, rich harmonies and eclectic instrumentation, (while often featuring the sunshine-y sounds of the ukulele) i like you. weaves a colorful tapestry of upbeat, heart-centered music that transcendent bliss with a squeeze of lemon on a sunny day.
A collective of musicians from Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago & Minneapolis lead by JAH Boogie (lead vocals and bass) & musical director Aaron Konkol (keys, backing vocals & melodica). The independent all original touring & recording outfit is one of the original leading forces in USA based reggae. Their messages of spreading positive vibrations, peace, love, building community, & universal spirituality have been ringing out since Natty’s inception in 1995.
White Iron shows combine lyrical accessibility and explosive musicianship to produce a rich experience for the head, heart, and legs.
Originally formed in Ely, MN, the heart of Minnesota’s northern Iron Range, by frontman Matt Pudas, keyboardist Eddie Juntunen,and guitarist Sammy Weyandt. Backed by a driving rhythm section with Jeff Underhill on drums and bass guitarist Ryan Nielsen accompanied by the soulful blues undertones of Greg (Cheech) Hall on electric and slide guitar. The White Iron Band embodies the triumphs and struggles of the everyday man.
The Grasshoppers were born in the spring of 2006. Playing with great meaning and understanding to their audience, they continue to leap bounds of musical limits and expectations for a greater goal.
R.A.S. Movement (Royal Ancient Society) is one of the fastest rising reggae bands, with an amazing new sound that is creating a buzz around the city of Milwaukee. Performing many different Caribbean genres of music. A high energy band that pumps out music vibes that cover Reggae, Roots, Lover's Rock, Dance Hall, Soul, R&B, Hip Hop and Original Tunes.
Brothers Teague and Ian Alexy wrote their first songs together as young kids in the South Jersey bay town Somers Point. They devised a plan and quickly went to work, each penning their own original song and presenting them to one another. Years later, the Alexy brothers, better known as Minnesota-based troubadours Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank, use that same approach on their new record American Shuffle (2015).
Hailing from Minneapolis, Alex Rossi is a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter who has been performing professionally for over 15 years. With strong roots in blues, soul and funk, Rossi has created his own unique and recognizable sound from his diverse musical background. His performances most often include a 3 – 5 piece band and a crowd that never leaves the dance floor.
Bones, jug, xylophone, kazoos, resonator guitar, banjo, double bass, drums, donkey jawbone, all sorts of noise makers… these are just some of the instruments Bones Jugs use to conjure up their eclectic acoustic sound. The group began in December 2012 with the vision of being a pop-up party on street corners, at farmers markets, in living rooms (and kitchens!), or even amplified in a club. A jug band of sorts, with four synchronized one-man-bands woven together in a tapestry of delight. And the cherry on top? High speed virtuosic xylophoning. They began learning 1920’s xylophone rags and arranging classic (and not-so-classic) Americana songs. After a few public appearances it became clear that the group was too fun to be a side project. Listeners wanted to dance, sing, and laugh along as long as the tunes kept coming. The band could not resist, so they began investing in the ensemble as a full time gig. Now, three years into the project, they’ve logged over 300 shows and continue to aggressively tour in support of their debut album Party’s in the Kitchen. Based out of the thriving Midwest music scene, Bones Jugs continues to bring their party from town to town.
Based of out Minneapolis, Mikel Wright & The Wrongs bring some of the best that the Midwest has to offer. Rooted in old soul funk, bluegrass, and cajun rhythms, and inspired by current bands like Umphrey's McGee and The String Cheese Incident, MWTWs brilliantly transcend genres in every set.
Miles Over Mountains (M.O.M.) is an Acoustic Bluegrass / Roots / Americana band based in McHenry, IL. Their live shows are high energy, centered around their arsenal of original material and refreshing variety of cover songs interpreted in their own way.
Dub Foundation was started by Captain Smooth and Beris TakI in a secret underground music lair in early 2014. After planning how to save the world from tyranny and oppression, it was decided the best way to spread love would be through the positive vibrations of a roots/dub reggae band. All that was needed was a loyal legion of the finest musical superheroes.
• CS and BT knew that this driving force needed a very strong riddim section to hold down the irie grooves. Right then and there BT heard thunder and lightning in the distance. A tone so low and vibrantly silky, followed by a striking slash, carried thru the walls of their lair and he knew this was the next link in the chain. Enter: K-Dub and Raza.
Old Soul Society is a Wisconsin based group that performs an eclectic blend of Americana, Roots, Folk, Rock, Soul, Pop & Blues. Old Soul Society’s focus on the craft of songwriting, passionate lyrics and a stirring live performances has been winning over audiences everywhere they have gone. Fronted by Singer/ Songwriter Derek Ramnarace from The Soapbox Project on guitar and lead vocals and featuring members of other top area bands including: Leah Rachuj on Violin/ Vocals, Matt Becker on Keys/ Vocals, Ben Rohde on Drums/ Percussion, Andrew Steeno on Bass & Double Bass, Paul Metz on Percussion, Cody Davis on Upright Bass, Kenny Leiser on Violins & Guitars and other featured guests. The star is already burning bright for this group and only appears to be getting brighter with the release of their debut album in February 2016.
“Get me South, Mama get me North, Get me out of Backenforth,” Chicago Farmer sings on the title track of Backenforth, IL, out January 22, 2013. It’s the centerpiece of his sixth collection of Guthrie-inspired populist songs, as well as autobiographical. The son of a small town farming community, Cody Diekhoff logged plenty of highway and stage time under the name Chicago Farmer before settling in the city in 2003. Profoundly inspired by fellow mid-westerner John Prine, he’s a working-class folk musician to his core. His small town roots, tilled with city streets mentality, are turning heads North and South of I-80.
A recent transplant to Minneapolis from northern Wisconsin, Hanson's songs carry you somewhere long ago but not so far away, back to wherever it was you realized that time doesn't stand still for anyone. A grounded folk powerhouse, she carries her country roots on her sleeve along with a timeless voice that recalls both Cline and Carlile.
Making his home in the Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, Mike Munson is well known for playing slide guitar blues. The driving rhythms in his songs are reminiscent of the trains that barrel through his neighborhood. Munson makes regular appearances throughout the Midwest, and is currently working on his third release following a debut studio recording and the acclaimed “Live at Ed’s” releases in 2014.
DSS is an electronic/jazz/rock fusion band formed in Winona MN in late 2006. An amalgamation of many styles, DSS incorporated sounds as diverse as sitar, mantras, electrobeats, synths, and jazz stylings. Inspired by bands such as Lotus, STS9, and Signal Path, DSS put on many-faceted live performances over their short career. Band members have gone on to found and perform in many groups, such as The Heavy Set (Jake Ilika), Ilika and Ward, The People Brothers Band (Scott Lochner and Chris Peters), and The Wide Awakes.
People Fest 2016 will be DSS's first reunion since their disbanding in 2010.
The Weathered Heads is a Minnesota band, which formed in Winona, MN in 2012. Many genres have influenced them but they conclusively prefer a blend of jam, rock, and pop for their sound. The grouping of Weatherhead’s emotional voice, Birdsall’s combination of technical design and jazz-influenced improvisation, the complex vibrancy of Bullard’s melodies, Woggon’s use of harmonic textures, Bauer’s easy-groovin’ pocket, and the extemporizing articulation of Novotny’s rhythms construct the exhilarating tones that are The Weathered Heads.
Located on the edge of the Midwestern landscape, Seasaw is the alliance of two souls that push and pull in combination to produce a sound that is charismatic and powerful, yet deceptively simple. Bandmates since 2010, Meg Golz and Eve Wilczewski take turns leading and following in the musical spaces they have created. Residing in Madison, WI, Seasaw blends a compelling arrangement of instruments with distinct harmonies to create a charming and innovative folk-pop sound. 2014 saw the release of the duo’s second full length album, “The Look in Your Eyes Tells Me This is a Bad Idea”, and the privileges to perform alongside bands including: Hugh Robert Masterson, Canyon Spells, Hillary Reynolds Band, Run River North, Boom Forest and Caroline Smith.
Formed in Spring of 2014, Overserved Gentlemen is a Wisconsin band that harnesses the power of the Blues to deliver a show that will have you grooving and moving, enjoying a variety of musical textures and flavors from around the world. The Gentlemen are currently touring in support of their debut album, Pistachio Trail. They brought friends Danny Miller(Danny Miller Band) and Davey C. Lynch (Horseshoes and Hand Grenades) to record some harmonica andaccordian, respectively. Check out Redbones and Slow Fuse to hear these guest appearances.
In their downtime Craig, Dan and Ethan are writing and recording their sophomore album, a yet untitled collection of tunes they've been developing since recording the first album
Best known for his banjo skills. Jon Eric's dedication, and years of playing have led him to become a legend in pushing the boundaries of what the banjo can sound like. "I love all types of music, but many people really underestimate what the banjo can do," he says as he breaks into a harmonic melting pot of jazz and blues. Jon Eric's expertise also includes vocals, guitar, dobro, and percussion. He is well educated in music production, performance, and currently teaches all over Iowa and in 7 (seven) different time zones on Skype to share his love of music.
Riding in on a majestic steed with a psychedelic sound scape-coat, Electric Spanking takes the genre of "jam" to a new realm. Blurring lines between funk, rock, pop, and hippy-hulu-hooping riffs and taking lessons from powerhouses such as Phish, The Meters, Average White Band, and Barry White, this 5-piece group has it all. What began as a funky side-project of the local Madison band Baghdad Scuba Review, quickly morphed into a "saxy" good time. Electric Spanking has graced stages all over Wisconsin (dabbling a bit at festivals in Minnesota), playing a variety of tunes, from funktastic covers to tasty-licked originals. True innovation is born of Electric Spanking's provocation.
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.
His courage to revisit his past through music proved to captivate music fans with his first EP, A Shot of Grace. Davenport’s songs are influenced by traditional American music. You can hear the influences of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, with a modern country swagger. He writes with complete honesty about love, sin, struggle, and hope. Teddy, a new man, played shows weekly throughout all of 2015. He made appearances at Mile of Music as well as Madison’s own Bratfest and Wurst Times. He proudly opened for Michael McDermott, The Blackbird Revue and Deadstring Brothers. Davenport stays busy locally, but has also taken his music nationwide. There are no limits to his talent or his passion for music. He sets out to reach as many people as possible, hoping most recently to touch them with his second EP, Middle of a Miracle, to be released December 2015.
The Kamale N'goni is an instrument that originates from Wasulu, a region on the border of Mali and Guinea, West Africa. It is derived from the larger Donso N'goni, which means "hunter's harp". Throughout the centuries, Malian hunters were also skilled musicians who used their trance-like music to appease the spirits of the animals they hunted, so as not to be plagued by evil spirits.
The Kamale N'goni is a smaller, more popular version of this instrument. It is the centerpiece of a popular style of music from Mali called Wasulu Music. When you hear the blues played by Tani Diakite and the Afrofunkstars, you'll understand why it is often said that Mali is the birthplace of the blues. The Kamale N'goni is one of several African instruments that preceded the banjo, so you'll hear similarities to bluegrass music as well.
Another driving force of Wasulu music is percussion. The Afrofunkstars are backed up by one of the hottest rhythm sections around, featuring Paddy Cassidy on jembe, Hugo Reynolds on drumset, and Mamoudou Diallo and Djam Vivie on percussion. The funk is rounded out by bass powerhouse Nickolas Moran, Peter Baggenstoss on keyboards, and Matt Manske on guitar. The interplay between Kamale N'goni and jembe grooves so hard that audiences can't stay still - the urge to get up and move is too powerful!
Moonhouse plays a diverse mix of original and cover tunes. You will always have fun at a Moonhouse show. You will always feel loved at a Moohouse show. You will always feel touched at a Moonhouse show and you will always leave a Moonhouse show a better person than you came in.