Blog Archives

For the good times

I watched the sun set behind Charlie Parr

An Evening with John Paul Roney and his dad’s cool guitar

Five reasons “all I wanna do” is listen to Sheryl Crow

Every day is perfect if you let it be one

Until I saw a small boy with “J-Council” carved into his haircut, I thought I had become the biggest J-Council fan.

Turns out, there are plenty of us. We gathered Sunday at Timber Rattler Stadium for “Keep it Wisconsin”, featuring Cory Chisel, J-Council, Adriel Denea and the Bodeans.

The weather, theme, music, talent and crowd combined to make it a perfect afternoon at the ballpark. Of course, according to J-Council’s “Sun to Sun,” every day is perfect if you let it be one.

But, really, yesterday we didn’t even have to try. We just sat back in the sun and let the music wash over us.

Opening act The Priggs got things rolling with a lively set, followed by Adriel Denea and J-Council. Fun fact: uber-talented keyboardist Alex Drossart and bassist Matty Day played in four of the five bands. That means they spent roughly three straight hours on stage.

Everybody joined in the fun once Cory Chisel got rolling, including the crowd. Special guest Hillary Reynolds jumped in for a few tunes and the whole stadium sang “I’ll Fly Away” and “You are my Sunshine.”

All that happened before the headliners even took the stage. The Bodeans used to be called Da Bodeans, which is another fun fact and one my sister Kathy did not believe when I told her yesterday. In any case, it was fun to head down to the field and cap off the afternoon/evening dancing to the Bodeans.

The whole event was a fundraiser for the Refuge and, if J-Council, the first product of the Refuge’s artist in residence program, is any indication, it’s a very worthy cause indeed.


We thought we were the biggest Jon Wheelock fans, until we saw this little boy with J-Council carved into his hair.


We’re not going to shave our heads, but we’re all J-Council fans too.


We like his unique style of music, and the passion with which he sings it.


We enjoy the whole band, two of which played four separate sets Sunday afternoon.


It was a perfect day for a Keep it Wisconsin concert.


We love that Jon Wheelock’s guitarist is also his dad and a legendary musician in his own right, Steve Wheelock.


Cory knows how to work a crowd and, at one point, had us all singing a spiritual on a Sunday afternoon.


It was pretty cool to see the Bodeans up close and personal. Molly especially enjoyed the accordion.


DJ Tra has his own gig this coming Thursday night..

A Mile of Music, a measure of pride

Neither rain, nor heat, nor threat of night will stop Mile of Music from its appointed rounds

Waiting for John

A big ole toast to MoM and family

If you need us, we’ll be on the Ave #MileofMusic3

I’ll fold the load of towels in my drier on Monday. I haven’t worked out in two days, and won’t cook a meal until next week.

Mile of Music is back in town and we intend to spend every minute we can prowling the Avenue welcoming back old friends and discovering new ones.

A song writer’s festival, Mile of Music celebrates original music and introduces us all to the artists who create it.

The discoveries we’ve made in past festivals have provided a year-long sound track to ours lives. We buy the CDs and download the songs to support these artists and to stretch the weekend’s entertainment into the cold winter months.

So far this year, we’ve seen Swear and Shake, Greg McMonagle, Ryan Hommel, Camille Rae, Maggie Thorn, Ross Catterton, Jordin Bass, Son Little, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Suitcase Junket and Crane Wives.

We’ll be back today, well-prepared thanks to both a spreadsheet denoting musical group, genre, site and refreshment capabilities Katherine put together for us, and to the slick Mile of Music app we highly recommend.

We’ve written plenty about Mile of Music in the three years we’ve attended.

Yesterday, I met a 13-year old girl who spent time between bands writing poetry and she generously shared her latest work with me.

Mile of Music

by Emily J. Karth

I sit and wait for what feels like hours.

Dying of boredom and anticipation

Then, all of a sudden, something magical happens…

Magical sounds begin emanating from musical instruments

Guitars, drums, pianos and beautiful voices

Makings hundreds, millions of smiling faces, grinning because of this magical sound.

Everyone stops and stares at the amazing sights of beautiful, wonderful, amazing music

Then it stops…and clapping starts…

Screaming, cheering, grinning people

Because of this magical thing called music.


Rock on, Emily. We’ll see you back on the Avenue today.

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We have every CD Swear and Shake has made and we try to see them every chance we get.

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My traditional Mile of Music picture of RaeAnn Blom, sandwiched here between our friends John and Melissa Ptacek.

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Ross Catterton played all of the instruments you see on that stage in a cool, layered sound.

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Austin Lucas brought his dignified dog.

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I don’t think these street musicians had any association with the festival, but I love the vibe that allowed them to feel comfortable strutting their stuff.

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Camille Rae played the Wooden Nickel and a pop up concert at Houdini Square.

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We loved running into our friend Hillary Reynolds and look forward to joining her in the Mile of Music sing-along on Saturday.

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Hillary took some time to read Emily’s poem and showed it to festival organizer Cory Chisel.

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A huge crowd turned out for Son Little.

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The Suitcase Junket is an amazing one man band. You have to see him in your lifetime. The crowd last night overflowed the Fox River House Patti-O, so we watched from behind the fence. We’re going to try to catch him from the front side later this week because we want to see how he gets such amazing sound.

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Molly and her friend Jacie spent 11 hours on the Ave yesterday, and they’re coming back for even more today. They both loved the Crane Wives (so did we).