Mid West Music Fest – La Crosse is April 14-15, 2017.
Click the images to find out more about each act!
Folk, Punk – Chicago, IL – Balanced on wedges of punk, old-time string band, American and European folk, and soulful balladry, Al is an entertainer, road warrior, storyteller, and one helluva musician. A punk rock John Prine or Billy Bragg, Huffington Post calls him “The finest country-punk-folk-bluegrass banjoplayer in the country.”
Alt. Folk – La Crosse, WI – Singer/guitarist of popular Alternative Ska/Reggae band TUGG and founder of the Guitar Academy at the Boys & Girls Club.
Indie, Folk – Viroqua, WI – Friends since kindergarten, 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 abundant musical community in the hills of Driftless Wisconsin, Anima’s on-stage presence has grown, as well as their musical range.
Indie Pop, Chamber Folk – Oshkosh, WI – With Stephanie Tschech providing a foundation of cello and voice, complemented by multi-instrumentalist Nate Lehner, Auralai combines the best of classical beauty with pop-esque rythem and melody. NPR calls them “a delicately plucked chamber/folk duo that is at once rich and sparce.”
Midwest Americana, Alt-Country – La Crosse, WI -Formed from the remnants of bands such as Shot To Hell and Mudride, this band continues making original Midwestern Rock n Roll
Country rockin blues – La Crosse, WI -Big Liquor plays songs about drinkin’, livin’ big, and lovin’ big. Mixing the sounds of classic country and western with more modern rock and alt country, Big Liquor brings a big sound. From Johnny Cash to Doug Sahm, Waylon Jennings to Uncle Tupelo, Lucinda Williams to the Bottle Rockets, BL keeps the Coulee Region intoxicated with sound.
Black Market Brass
Funk, Afrobeat – Minneapolis, MN –Drums and horns of all kinds crowd the stage at Black Market Brass shows. Funk guitar scratches, horn line blasts, trumpet riffs fill the air with a sound smuggled in from somewhere much warmer than here. The congas and bass settle into a groove and let the horn players take turns at making the crowd roar in amazement. Bring your dancing shoes.
Bruce Springsteen “Seeger Sessions” (Mr. Blink and Pig Town Fling)
Big River Rhythm Rock – La Crosse, WI – Two classic LAX bands put their own spin onNew Jersey’s finest signature tunes of muscular rock & roll and seductive soul.
Indie Rock – La Crosse, WI – “Brahman Shaman is the musical alter-ego of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer Matt Olson. As the former guitarist for Iowa rock band Rearview Mirror, Olson had the opportunity to record a full-length album with Grammy award winning super producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stone) who also signed the group to his Palm Pictures imprint, Gobstopper records in 2001.
Rock – Milwaukee, WI – Building on a solid foundation of heartfelt and heartbreaking Country/Western and Americana arrangements, and featuring a stellar cast of local and national musicians, Buffalo Gospel delivers wholly original material that manages to feel utterly timeless. Their first full-length release “We Can Be Horses” finds the band energized and pushing boundaries of rock and bluegrass
Folk – Bloomington, IL – Chicago Farmer is the moniker Cody Diekhoff performs and writes under. Lyrically driven, he delves into the social and political issues of today’s world. Cody has his finger on the pulse of middle America. Coming from a long line of family farmers and factory workers in central Illinois, rural farming community has inspired many songs that are autobiographical in nature. Todd Snider says “Chicago farmer is my brother, if you like me you’ll love him.”
rock ‘n’ roll – Madison, WI – a four piece rock ‘n’ roll band that brings together the best aspects of 70’s jam session style guitar-driven groups like Allmann Brothers Band, Santana, and Little Feat through their own orignal tunes.
Americana, Folk – La Crosse, WI – Based in the Driftless and rin friendship and family, Crooked Willow plays a mixture Americana styles focusing on fun harmonies and toe-tapping rhythms.
Indie, folk –Galena, IL –Kat Karberg and Lily Sprengelmeyer produce an eclectic sound, ranging from slow haunting melodies to upbeat driving folk-pop. The two recently produced an original nine-track album “Sparks from the Fire”, produced by Little Scream at Last Songbird Records, featuring four tracks with Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire.
Indie Rock – Appleton, WI – includes members of the storied pop punk band Tenement, including its leader Amos Pitsch. DUSK is their 70s style Stones version of alt. country meets rock n roll, with a magnetic Janis Joplin-like soul singer Julia Blair shucking and blazing over the top vocals and harmonies while playing keyboard. Part indie rockers threading the needle through 70s rock n roll, an absolute barn-burner of a live band.
Folk – Trempealeau, WI – Legendary, enigmatic folk hero that spins humorous yarns with roots in the Driftless and feet in the clouds. Listening to Eddie Allen is like taking a long, tall drink of river rat wonder.
Cosmic Country-folk with a Tribal Twist of Jazz – Viroqua, WI – Award-winning singer/songwriter, playwright, and wedding officiant, Eddie live-loops 4-part vocal harmonies and plays everything from guitar, to pump organ and didgeridoo.
Eddie Danger and Dr Bob Puppet Show
Puppetry, Music – Winona/Viroqua – Seafaring Songs & Puppets transport the audience to the decks of ancient ships in a series of sea songs and shanties with live marionette puppetry.
Feed the Dog
Folk – Oshkosh, WI – Led by the songwriting and deep-throated vocals of Ellis M. Brown, the band features masterfully crafted fiddle, Leo Kottke-like finger picking’ acoustic six and twelve string guitar, funky bass lines, and percussive soul.
Americana – Minneapolis, MN – Minnesotan by birth, Americana singer-songwriter Frankie Lee relelased his first full length record American Dreamer in the UK in 2015 and in the US in the summer of 2016. Named songwriter of the year by the Minneapolis City Pages in 2014, The Guardian called his debut album “beautifully burnished Americana…traditional sounding, but wild at heart and should take him a long way.” Rolling Stone (France) called American Dreamer the “debut album of the year.”
Funk, Rock – Minneapolis, MN – Since their first show in late 2012, a major buzz about the band Frogleg has been slowly spreading throughout the Midwest. Honing their craft with a weekly residency at Bunkers Music Bar & Grill in downtown Mpls., this 7-piece brings a unique blend of Bluegrass, Funk, Reggae, Jazz and Rock. Bring your dance shoes.
Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League
Gypsy Jazz – Minneapolis, MN – A string quartet that brings the smoky rhythms and sizzling leads of Prohibition swing into the 21st century. Drawing their influence from almost a century of American music, The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League combines elegant composition, raucous enthusiasm, and virtuosic playing.
Electronic Pop, Dream Pop – Milwaukee, WI – Margaret Butler is a woman with seemingly limitless natural charisma and an obsession with dressing up in outrageous costumes. Combine that with a group inspired by the shimmery decadence of Queen, the primal yowl of Black Sabbath and the madcap joy of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and bang! One of the most evocative and celebratory rock acts to come out of the Midwest in years.
Goodnight Gold DustGoodnight Gold Dust
Electro Indie Pop – Mankato, MN – Dark and broody with a silver lining, Good Night Gold Dust has been making waves in the Minnesota scene the release of their 2014 EP and have continued to polish their synth-saturated indie-pop sound since. With lots of love from the Twin Cities press outlets, GNGD is working hard to be your next favorite band, yet they make it so easy.
Gregg “Cheech” Hall
Country, Americana – La Crosse, WI – Guitar phenom, and axe man for numerous well-known Midwest acts including White Iron Band and most recently Nicholas David. Cheech is one of the unofficial mayors of 3rd Street and has legions of fans for both his music and “everyman” demeanor in the community.
Beatboxing, Experimental – Minneapolis, MN – The One Man Entertainment System, Heatbox has been dazzleing audiences across the country with his mix of Motown, a cappella, R&B, Hip-Hop, soul and funk. He mixes live singing, beatboxing and vocal turntablism with a wide range of technology to bring one of the most entertaining live shows around. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
Indie Rock – Eau Claire, WI – A newer cornerstone of the Eau Claire dream-pop scene crafting hauntingly pretty sound scenes. Fronted by Lauren Anderson, her lilting voice ties together six-string sunsets and walk in the park drum beats.
Dance Troupe – Winona, MN – Movement performance by local artists using their bodies and light to create fiber optic magic.
Folk, Acoustic Rock – St. Cloud, MN – Roemer’s love for music, community, and creativity shows through his acoustic-rock melodies and humble stage presence.
Indie, R & B– Decorah, IA – a mostly-one-man band featuring James and a rotating cast of other players. Inspired by Prince worship and informed by Stevie Wonder’s adventurous, pop-minded sonics, it’s equal parts Frank Ocean and Eurhythmics.
Folk Blues – Minneapolis, MN – A recent transplant to the Twin Cities by way of Winona, MN, Ilika has been playing music for over ten years. His songwriting is influenced by the likes of Wilco, Ray Lamontagne, and Ryan Adams. His solo shows are personal, intimate, and soulful and provide more space for the audience to experience his beautiful voice and stunning guitar chops.
Blues – Decorah, IA – Armed with a joyous, disarming demeanor and the ability to play the doors off most anyone else in the room, Price has opened for the likes of Iris Dement and John Lee Hooker, while Iowa’s own Greg Brown calls Price “the Buddha.” Brown isn’t alone in his praise, as a litany of Iowa musicians list Price as one of their influences.
Folk, Americana – Portland, OR – If John Prine and Mitch Hedberg had a baby, the resulting product would resemble something very close to Portland, OR singer-songwriter John Craigie. Musically comparable to Prine, with the humor and wit of Hedberg, the humble, gracious, and hilarious Craigie is one of the best storytellers of our time. It’s no wonder that Chuck Norris sends him fan mail, and Todd Snider brings him gifts on stage.
Jon Stickley Trio
Electro-Harmonic Jazz Grass, Post-Grass – Asheville, NC – The originality and sheer energy of this genre-bending ensemble rides on the thrilling combination Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett (from Bela Fleck bass player Future Man’s band) on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.
Folk, Singer-Songwriter – Milwaukee, WI – Formally with the highly popular, defunct .357 String Band, he has honed his songwriting abilities immensely and now continues moving onward and upward captivating folks with his sincere and well-crafted songs under his own name and with his backing band. Whether it’s irresistible, fiddle-driven, danceable tunes or honest, heart-wrenching “songwriter” songs, Huber spans the spectrum and knows how to evoke joy or pain with the likes of the best.
Karate Chop, Silence
Funk, alt. rock – Winona, MN – Formed in 2016 behind the muse of multi-intrumentalists Dante Degrazia and Mason Smith, Karate Chop, Silence is a funky alt. rock quartet with with strong pop influences and an appetite for grooves.
Alternative, Americana – Eau Claire, WI – Songwriting sisters Hannah, Becca and Mookie weave influences of Alternative, Americana and Desert Rock with raw emotion in their songs. They are all confident vocalists knowing what each will bring to the table to sing lead, but also support one another with beautifully hard-hitting harmonies. Topping off the harmonic sheen is an instrumental arsenal including violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele.
Folk – La Crosse, Wisconsin. – Singer/songwriter raised in the Mississippi Valley, back in the area after years of touring with his Colorado-based band Von Stomper.
Folk rock – La Crosse, WI – Drummer for the for country grass band The Smokin’ Bandits, solo Mahlum shows off his own brand of folkin country.
Pop Music – La Crosse, WI – A kind of renaissance man who makes furniture, lamps, photos, and jewelry, Monsoor melds art and music together into an electronic tapestry. His detailed videos were favorites of the music committee.
Folk Rock – Viroqua, WI – Sandler Waggoner and Shawn Neary sing winter songs. They sing water songs. They sing what moves them. They sing what they write and they tend to sing it loud. They sing because it has always been their medicine, and always will be.
Country, Americana – Nashville, TN – Michigan born and Nashville based singer-songwriter Michaela Anne has garnered considerable acclaim for her introspective songwriting. The New York Times praised the “plain-spoken songs of romantic regret and small-town longing” and her latest honky tonk gem Bright Lights and the Fame was named among Rolling Stone’s “15 Great Country and Americana Albums You Didn’t Hear in 2016.” Catch this rising star.
Rock – Milwaukee, WI – They worked with The Replacements Tommy Stinson on their latest album. Like a cross between The Ramones, Big Star, and their brethren in The Replacements – these guys rock! Stinson says of the band “It’s melodic, smart and snotty. Which is pretty much how I like my rock.”
Indie rock – La Crosse, WI – Fronted by twin brothers Hugh and Andrew Rose and drawing influence from early 90’s rock and post punk, Midwest Voltage’s sound features explosive instrumental progressive rock mixed with spacey riffs.
Americana Blues – Winona, MN – Rooted in the Delta Blues but defiantly midwestern, he is known for his slide guitar work and driving rhythym. An accomplished musician, Munson equals himself as a lyricist, with songs about traveling, loss and frustration. His “Live at Ed’s” was named a top local record by Minneapolis’ Hymie Vintage records, which called his guitar work “too-good-to-be-true.”
Funk – Minneapolis, MN – Seven-piece funk band creating a new Minneapolis sound utilizing modern taste and classic influences to break musical boundaries. In 2016 they got the Prince seal of approval as they opened for Larry Graham at Paisley Park after Prince posted about the band on social media.
Singer-Songwriter, Folk – Iowa City, IA – Hailed as a “self-styled poetess, folk goddess and country waif” by the BBC, Pieta Brown first came to international attention with her 2002 self-titled debut. Pieta has since been recognized by NPR for her “moody, ethereal” songwriting, applauded by The Boston Globe for her “mercurial voice” and has continued to gain wide-spread critical attention for both her singing and songwriting with each release.
Tani Diakite and the Afrofunkstars
Malian blues-funk – Wasulu, Mali/Madison – 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 desert blues. Tani plays the Kamale N’goni which is one of several African instruments that preceded the banjo, so there are similarities to bluegrass music. However, Tani is backed by The Afrofunkstars, a blazing, percussive rhythm section, and the interplay between Kamale N’goni and jembe grooves are so hard that audiences can’t stay still!
Rock – Appleton, WI – Heralded as one of the “10 Great Modern Punk Bands” by Rollingstone in 2016, the legendary Tenement joins the fest for their first year following the release of their 2016 self-titled album. A decade in with a wide breadth of influences displayed in their recordings, there is no sign that these legends are slowing down.
The Brother Brothers
Folk – Brooklyn, NY – Twin brothers Adam and David Moss are a musical duo unlike most others. Already established players and composers in a wide spectrum of genres throughout the NY musical circuit, they teamed up to bring their individual experiences together with rich harmonies and thoughtful songs accompanied by guitar, cello, violin and banjo.
The Golden Strings
Old time, Bluegrass – La Crosse/Viroqua, WI – Duo featuring Josh Rabie and Tim Foss performing old-time, bluegrass, country and traditional fiddle tunes.
The Old Fashioneds
Old-time rock-n-roll – Winona, MN – Led by the bedazzling Sarah Johnson and accompllished bluesman Mike Munson, the Old Fashioneds play the 1950s hits that should have been. Raucus, raunchy and high energy, they will get you dancing and remind you why rock and roll was considered the devil’s music one minute and make you want to grab your sweetheart the next.
The People Brothers Band
Rhythm & Soul – Madison, WI – One of the staples of Madison’s vibrant music scene, The People Brothers Band is an 8-piece Rhythm & Soul powerhouse whose only desire is to get you moving on the dance floor. Their love for music and playing together shines brightly through each performance.
The Smokin’ Bandits
Rock, Blues – La Crosse, WI – Since 2003, The Smokin’ Bandits have been a staple in the midwest music scene with their high-energy form of original music dubbed electrified “Grass n’ Roll.” With a catalog of original material and unique takes on everything from Willie Nelson to Leftover Salmon, the band brings a powerhouse performance each time to music lovers of all different genres and generations.
Rock & Roll – Milwaukee, WI – NPR Music calls it “Rootsy, cinematic rock that charms as it soars.” Trapper grew up in the river valleys north of La Crosse and brings a host of family stories and road worn nuggets into distilled songs that belie his age. With tour stints w/ the Jayhawks and Old 97s front man Rhett Miller, he’s one the Midwest’s many rising stars.
Alternative Ska, Reggae – La Crosse, WI – Despite their northern roots, this band has been able to channel the tropical grooves and breezy melodies to become a top reggae draw around the midwest. All of the bands five releases have debuted in the Top 50 of iTunes Reggae Chart.
Under Paris Skies
Euro swing & Gypsy jazz – La Crosse, WI – Ron, Steven and Larry are masters of their instruments and together forge a unique blend of accordion, gypsy guitar and upright bass. This talented acoustic trio brings new sounds to the region with their danceable swing and romantic stylings.