By Jillian DawsonRead More
“As I pondered the million ways we can make our world whole again, I realized that there are actually a million and one ways to make it better. I am that one. And this is my way.”
By Jillian Dawson
Wisconsin weather aside, the climate as of late seems a little bleak. With a lot of changes in the coming months, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed wanting to help steer us toward a kinder world. Inspired by the 2016 election, Adria Ramos did just that penning her song “Wake Up Call.”
As a Volunteer Victim Advocate for the Sexual Assault Crisis Center (one of the regional agencies of Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA), Ramos has seen first had the impact of the SACC in our community. For this reason, Ramos has set up a fund raiser via gofundme.com to donate to this cause. Each donation receives a digital copy of “Wake Up Call” with additional albums and photos per the donation amount.
Ramos joins us at ‘Let It Flow’ tonight from 6pm-8pm. The show is free, however all artist donations will go directly to the cause. You can also donate directly to the site:
By Jillian Dawson
Over the past few years, the Fox Cities has made its mark as a hot spot for local musicians. That being said, it’s hard to ignore the Valley is bursting at the seams with creativity outside the musical realm. With a newfound appreciation of the arts scene, events celebrating the efforts of painters, photographers, poets, dancers and everything in between have become a must-see experience within our community.
Incase you missed the buzz, Take Me to the River at the Grand Kakalin in Kaukauna was a huge success last November. Curated by Jean Detjen of Artful Living, the pop-up exhibit showcased an array of artists in a variety of mediums, yoga and guided meditation and interactive photography. Detjen’s latest pop-up gallery, Let It Flow, will be featured at Rock Garden Studio January 13th through 20th. Detjen shared a few words about her history with Marc Golde and Rock Garden.
“I met Marc back in 2013. We’ve developed a friendship over the years based on our mutual love for the arts and all the Fox Cities has to offer.
Marc’s a remarkable community gem who will someday be revered as an Appleton legend in the history books. More people need to know about all the cool stuff he is doing and see where the magic happens right here in Appleton!
I’m a huge fan of original music and some of my most memorable live shows have been experienced in the Rock Garden Studio womb during one of Marc’s legendary taped sessions. The shows there are incredibly intimate and up-close, which I love. His productions are truly a thing of beauty. Visual art is best appreciated in this way, too. It’s about making an emotional connection with viewers.
In addition to being a world-class music studio, Rock Garden is a gorgeous venue in a stunning historic building with a ton of character. Marc tells diverse community stories in this incredible space through his genre-breaking production work. In many senses he is a creative storyteller. We’re both excited about this new collaboration with “Let it Flow” which will allow guests to interact with and explore all variety of artistic expression.”
The lineup consists of 30 contributing artists ranging from visual art to Tai Chi. Attendees can experience the exhibit during open hours or during ‘The Listening Room” where silence is key to observe the art, work on your own creative endeavors or even take a nap (yes, really!). Interactive art via ‘Living Canvas,’ ‘Editable Art’ and a poetry/spoken word open mic are also key elements to this display.
Check out the schedule of happening below!
‘Let It Flow’ event expands by the day - check out their event page on Facebook for up to date/last minute additions. We will be blogging about our experiences at this incredible event throughout the week!
'LET IT FLOW' ART EXHIBIT SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY, January 13th: 6-10pm
OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION
Featuring live improvisational music by Floozy, craft beer, refreshments and more!
SATURDAY, January 14th: Open Noon-5pm, 2:30-4pm
Listening Room with Jennifer Levenhagen
SUNDAY, January 15th: Open Noon-5pm
MONDAY, January 16th: Open Noon-8pm
6-8pm: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Quiet Reflection
TUESDAY, January 17th: Open Noon-8pm
6-7:30pm: Listening Room with Jennifer Levenhagen
WEDNESDAY, January 18th: Open Noon-8pm
6-8pm: Violin, Guitar & Song with Adria Ramos
THURSDAY, January 19th: Open Noon-8pm
5-6pm: Tai Chi Performance by Janel Rouge
6-8pm: Poetry & Spoken Word Open Mic
FRIDAY, January 20th: Open Noon-9pm
CLOSING CELEBRATION 6-9pm
7-9pm: live music by Miss Molly
All events are free and open to the public – donations appreciated.
By Jillian Dawson
I can’t be the only person that instantly thinks of summer when listening to Cool Waters Band. Blame it on the upbeat pop hooks or Greg Waters’ vocals, but by the chorus I can practically feel the paper Miller Lite band around my wrist, toes in the grass, head bopping along with the rest of the crowd that freckles the seemingly endless ‘fests around the area in the summer.
There’s a reason this band is a staple of the local music scene (can you really even consider yourself from the Fox Valley if you haven’t seen them live?). To put it simply, they’re a feel-good band with infectious originals and a dedicated fan base like no other. If you’re like me, the Cool Waters Band has always just sort of… been here. So what’s their story? According to Greg Waters, it started with family.
“I think music was always just kind of there. My family was full of musical talent. My Dad introduced us to bands like The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Chicago when we were kids. I spent my teen years glued to my walkman.”
If you don’t count air guitar, Waters, along with his brother Dan Waters, began their musical collaboration in high school, playing guitar and writing songs. It was there he also met bassist Mike Cool.
“We instantly discovered that we both played music and loved Anthrax; we jammed together throughout high school. I left for college with no band and no plan, but I wrote some songs while I was away. Over Thanksgiving break, Mike stopped by to pick me up at my parents' place to go out for the night. Dan and I were jamming. Mike joined in. We ended up staying in the basement all weekend recording our first demo on my dad's reel to reel machine. We called ourselves Cool Waters - kind of like Wilson Phillips.”
While other musicians have come and gone over the years, both of the Waters’ and Cool remain in the band along with Matt Gieseke on drums, Rick Rajchel on sax and Scott Sukow on trombone and percussion for their current lineup. With ten albums under their belts, they’ve acquired a solid following.
“Our fans have been extremely loyal, even despite a really long hiatus by the band. We have become really good friends with a lot of our fans which has kind of added another dimension to what we do.”
When asked what the best part of being in Cool Waters is, Waters said, “I love having a positive impact on people through music. It's a great feeling. I also love the friendships we've formed within the band. It's kept Danny and I close for a lot of years which is really cool.”
Waters looks forward to tonight’s show at Rock Garden, citing what he loves about performing live:
“Everything. The energy, the unpredictability, the interaction with an audience. I love being in the moment and challenging ourselves to put a different kind of stamp on each show.”
Spending years as a band is guaranteed to rack up some pretty unusual experiences.
“Man, there are so many stories... from blizzards in the desert to angry Rottweiler attacks, parking lot bowling to four hour non-stop sets.” Perhaps we’ll hear an antic or two tonight?” I think we'll save them for the book,” he says with a laugh.
Here’s hoping he changes his mind.
By Jillian Dawson
Auralai (the chamber-folk duo comprised of Stephanie Tschech and Nate Lehner) joins us at Rock Garden Studio Thursday September 8th for a live in-studio performance of their second album “Songs For Dogs (that sleep on beds).” Of the handful of interviews I’ve done for the blog, so far this has been the sweetest – Stephanie sits down with us to talk about her new album, Damien Rice and a dog named Bella.
Tell me about the history of Auralai - how did you and Nate meet?
The first configuration of Auralai began as a three piece about four years ago with Namiah Tribolini on drums and Matt Krempien on Guitar and Banjo. Nate and I started playing together about a one and a half years ago. I had known him through the local music scene, and when (the original) Auralai broke up, I wanted to complete the album we had started as a solo album. I reached out to Nate to do engineering and he wound up adding instrumentation to most of the songs. Once the album was about done, we decided to start playing together.
Coming from a classical background, how did you transition from a classically trained cellist to an indie performer?
When I decided I didn't enjoy classical music anymore, I really dug in to try and decide what to do with this set of skills that I had been fine-tuning (pun intended) for a decade at that point. I was really into Damien Rice at the time and his style influenced me a lot. The first song I ever learned how to sing and play was his song "9 Crimes.” It was no small effort and it definitely was not pretty. But once I learned it, something clicked in my brain and a whole new world opened up for me and my cello.
Do you still alternate between doing solo and duo shows?
I try not to play solo anymore if I can help it. Before Nate and I started playing together, I performed solo all of the time. I couldn't really imagine being in a band again. Now that I know how much fun it is to have a partner in crime on stage, I don't think I will ever enjoy playing solo again. It feels like being lost in an airport all alone.
Tell me more about your newest album. What inspired you?
"Songs for Dogs (that sleep on beds)" is right between an EP and a full album. I tend to lean toward non-tradition in just about everything I do. The song title itself pays tribute to my dog, Bella, who is the only being allowed to be present while I go through the painstaking process of writing a song. It's really a messy and embarrassing process, but she always seemed to find this completely different level of whimsy while she would lay on my bed and listen to me write. Bella was present for the writing of all songs on the album and she never seemed to mind my clumsy song-writing. The style of "Songs for Dogs.." was largely inspired by Damien Rice's new album, "Faded Fantasy,” which was released just before we began recording album number two - it moved me greatly.
Where was your album recorded and what was the recording process like for you?
The album was recorded in Nate's recording studio. He owns and operates a video production business for which he usually records all of his own soundtracks so he is pretty equipped for recording. It's great to be in a comfortable, familiar environment while recording. It allows us to ‘try’ things and experiment a little bit, which every recording musician knows is not something you usually do at a professional studio. There have been several songs on both albums that were finished in the studio, minutes before we recorded them. I chalk that up to some song-writing advice that I was given from Namiah Tribolini over the years when I have been stuck on a song for too long: when in doubt, repeat. Repeat a catchy line, repeat the first verse of the song, just repeat. I might use that too much, but it almost always helps.
Did you collaborate with additional musicians for the album?
We brought in a few incredibly talented musicians for this album. Rebecca Hron (formerly from The Guilty Wanted) added some gorgeous vocals and piano work. Jeff Mitchell added musical saw to a track and it wound up being the best part of the song. Namiah Tribolini did all of the percussion work on his rad vintage Roger kit and Leroy Duester put down some pretty fun pedal steel licks on the last song [on the album]. We didn't really bring in a producer, but we did bring in a friend of mine, Jay Spanbauer. He has a great ear for things in songs that no one else notices and is fierce and bold with his opinion. Jay gave us so many great ideas that really helped shape the final stages of a handful of songs. I also had the luxury of bringing every new mix to Namiah to let his ear pick out oddities and give ideas. He has a great ear for production and I really respect his musical opinion.
What is the writing dynamic like between you and Nate?
It took us a little bit to get into a collaborative writing groove, mostly because I came with so many of my solo songs. Nate really liked them - which is great- but within the last six to eight months, we have really started firing away at collaborative writing. The style turns out really neat, a lot different from the songs I write solo. It usually begins with me showing up to a rehearsal and saying, "Hey, I started this new song," and I usually only have a verse and maybe a rough idea of the chorus. Then Nate sprinkles his magic dust on top and it all comes together.
What can we expect from your performance at Rock Garden Studio?
We will be doing a video at Rock Garden. As far as I know, it will just be the two of us. We are probably going to play our album through from start to finish and then tack on a couple of our new songs that we are planning to release as singles in the near future. The audience can expect awkward banter between some really intense songs, that's usually how it goes.
You can catch Auralai this Thursday, September 8th at Rock Garden Studio, 7pm.
Tom Thiel stopped by the Studio to record for his upcoming solo album. Check out our blog for more on his past and present in the Fox Valley music scene and the unusual system we used to record his latest song!Read More