THE LISTENING ROOM
Sponsored by East Wisconsin Savings Bank
Executive Director Fox Valley Warming Shelter
If you attend live music in the Valley, it’s likely Scott was in the crowd. Not only is he one of the regulars at live music, he is the Executive Director at the Fox Valley Warming Shelter and hosts several music-filled benefits for the local non-profit. He shares some of his listening habits with us ahead of Mile of Music 6.
I've always loved live music, but over the last couple years I’ve been seduced by the Mile of Music and the Fox Cities’ burgeoning original music scene. Some of our local artists (Kurt Gunn, Stephanie Tschech, Kyle Megna) are as talented as anyone you’ll see on the Grammy’s. Some people turn on their TV and watch a movie three or four nights a week. I’m more likely to drive five minutes to a local venue and hear one of our great local or national touring artists. With so much music locally, I rarely drive to Milwaukee or Madison to see an expensive show anymore.
What's on your turntable?
Since I got my first stereo at the age of 12, I’ve always had a turntable. For most of the next 41 years, the Beatles’ White Album has been close at hand.
There are 30 songs on this album and I know most of the words to all of ’em. My favorites might be “Blackbird,” “Dear Prudence,” “Cry Baby Cry” and “Mother Nature’s Son.” I’ve played “Birthday” for people at least two dozen times since I got the album as a Christmas present in 1978. Matt Rosensweig warned me that “Revolution #9” is horrible… unless you listen to it with headphones. “Bungalow Bill,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun” and “Piggies” are three of the funniest songs ever written and, in the days of mix cassettes, I inserted “Why Don't We Do it In the Road” right after Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” more times that I care to admit. “I Will” was the song I told my 8th grade girlfriend was ours. “Helter Skelter” is one of the greatest hard rock songs ever written and when I hear “Savoy Truffle,” I picture George Harrison eating loads of candy with Eric Clapton, who plays lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” You'd never know McCartney was from Liverpool if all you heard was “Rocky Racoon.” “Honey Pie” evokes a 1930s night club. In 30 years, I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than a month without listening to this record on my turntable. “Ob-La Di, Ob-La Da,” life goes on with the White Album, John, Paul, George and Ringo’s collection of songs that most influenced my life, musically and otherwise.
Paul McCartney has always been my favorite Beatle and I’ve enjoyed following his career to this day. Only McCartney could get away with releasing a single called “Come Onto Me” at the age of 76.
Paul McCartney “Come Onto Me”
What’s your favorite digital medium?
Other than researching bands on youtube or websites, I don’t use digital media. I don’t have music on my phone or computer.
What are you listening to in the car?
I listen to The Avenue a lot because of the uncanny variety of genres and the commercial free format. I also have a stack of CDs to listen to when I’m driving. Right now I’m listening to the Foo Fighters’ self titled release from 1995, I Love You Honeybear by Father John Misty, 19-year old Genevieve Heyward’s debut, “It’s Not Like Anyone’s Listening” and the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman.
remember loving how unlike Nirvana the guitars sounded on the first Foo Fighters’ record. A lot of people say Dave Grohl is a musical genius. I can’t argue with that.
Foo Fighters “Big Me”
Nicholas Raymond introduced me to Father John Misty and I’ll never forgive him for that. It’s Elton John if Bernie Taupin and Sid Vicious were collaborating on lyrics.
Father John Misty “I Love You Honeybear”
Genevieve Heyward is a coy but charismatic bright light from Lake Geneva who belts out original songs in the spirit of Carole King and The Beatles. The first time I saw her, a few weeks after her Mile of Music debut last year, I was a bit awestruck when I found out she was only 18. Over the past year, she has improved her guitar skills and toured extensively on her own and with Mike Wheeler. Both of them will be Mile 6 next month. Her voice echoes with the maturity of a seasoned crooner and songs like “Singing Bridge,” “We’re Not Okay” and, especially, “Mona Lisa,” showcase her songwriting ability and vocal range. Her 2017 debut is titled It’s Not Like Anyone’s Listening. The truth is we all are.
Genevieve Heyward “It’s Not Like Anyone’s Listening”
My wife Mary and I bought the Greatest Showman soundtrack CD because we wanted the song “This is Me” for our daughter Jenna’s graduation slideshow in June. We all loved the movie and our daughter sang the song with her high school choir this year. “Never Enough” is another great track from the CD.
Mile of Music 6 is Aug. 2-5. Do you have any recommendations?
Writing about bands to see at the Mile of Music has become almost as fun as actually attending the festival. As Mary Willems says, I like to drink from the fire hose, listening to every minute of music from the Wednesday night First Songs show to the last note played on Sunday night. A few years ago, I decided to review and recommend three bands a day for 15 days and post them on Facebook. I’m in middle of that process right now. Here are a few of my top picks this year.
Lizzie No 10-year old Lizzie Quinlan started playing the harp in her New York church choir and discovered Boy Dylan much earlier than Elizabeth Cotton. But instead of discarding her early influences, she kept discovering them. The 27-year-old (who performs as Lizzie No) now plays guitar, along with the harp, and has become an exceptional singer and songwriter. Her 2017 debut, Hard Won champions her emergence as a strong, self-determined woman. When she sings, “There’s no telling our shapes apart when the killing season starts,” her spoken word vocal twists into an eerie, but subtle, make-racism-wrong again message.
Learn more http://www.lizzieno.com
Andrew Leahy and the Homestead Looking at his flowing blonde locks, you’d never guess this young man survived a 12-hour brain tumor surgery a couple years ago. When I chatted with him at Mile 5, he admitted he hit the road again much earlier than the doctor advised. In the fall of 2016, he subsequently released the Homestead’s debut, Skyline in Central Time. On “When the Hinges Give,” the Virginia native recounts how he and his wife processed his diagnosis. “So if we burn to the wax / We’ll make the most of the heat / And keep the devil knocking like it’s Halloween / Until the hinges give in, and we’re a bottle deep / Singing one last song about the things we keep.” Musically, Leahey channels Tom Petty with less snarl and more velvet. In concert, his vocals puncture perfectly through the band’s raucous guitar bursts in songs that reflect Leahey’s storied journey from choral music to glowing praise from Rolling Stone Magazine.
Learn more at http://andrewleaheymusic.com
The Crane Wives Acoustic folk swashbucklers, The Crane Wives swoop back into Appleton for their fourth Mile appearance in five years. While I pick and choose which bands to see a fourth or fifth time, I will always be married to all four of the Crane Wives. Emilee Petersmark and Kate Pillsbury lead the quartet known for waggish harmonies, pensive lyrics and gutty, dynamic performances. Make sure to listen to “Unraveling.”
Learn more here http://www.thecranewives.com/
Calliope Musicals In the scheme of things, Carrie Fussell’s green arm pit hair didn’t even stand out. That was my impression after seeing Calliope Musicals grind out a dozen delightful tunes eliciting a sea of stunned but joyful faces at last year’s Mile concert. Equal parts clown party and free-to-be me TED Talk, the award-winning six-piece band from Austin performs hippy-infused psychedelic pop/folk tunes that build to a frenzy. At one point last year, Fussell floated off her carousel into the Washington Square crowd and grabbed an unsuspecting soul mate for a 25-second skip and a dance. National Public Radio calls their shows “a spectacle of concentrated celebration.” Don't miss this party. Listen to “Party Master and the Space Brigade.”
You can learn more at www.calliopemusicals.com/
Mammal Dap Ebullient keyboards and pinpoint drums propel this four-piece instrumental band in a blissful feast for the ears. Only the second instrumental only performing band in the history of the festival (Steelism played Mile 3), Mammal Dap comes from Northhampton, MA, home to Mile favorites The Sun Parade and local music luminary Taylor Greenwood. They’ve been honing their craft since their 2015 debut, Rockmeir. A friend told me a Mammal Dap is an understated fist pump. Watch these virtuoso mammals rock.
Find out more at mammaldap.com/
Favorite album of all time?
Apart from McCartney and the Beatles, I might say U2, The Unforgettable Fire. I still remember listening to most of those songs for the first time in a steamy, non-air conditioned apartment the year after I graduated from college. “MLK” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” inspired my passion for diversity, inclusion and advocacy around those issues.
See you at the next show!