Wisconsin's Music Scene: 5 Acts to Check Out

Discover Wisconsin

April 15, 2014

Music lovers across the country know Wisconsin to be an incubator for amazing and unique musical projects. Eau Claire is the creative home to a number of well-known indie bands like Grammy Winner Bon Iver and also S. Carey, both of whom have toured the world with their distinct “Wisconsin Sound”. Recently, USA Today premiered  “Slow Motion,” a new single from the Baraboo-raised, Madison-based band, PHOX. Milwaukee-based bands like Volcano Choir and Field Report tour nationally and internationally. And a band normally considered a “Twin Cities Band” actually resides in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin — I’m going to claim the beautifully emotive Cloud Cult for Wisconsin!
Here are 5 more Wisconsin bands you should check out:
KALISPELL is the solo project of Shane Leonard (Field Report), a UW-Eau Claire jazz-schooled, Appalachian-influenced songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The debut album, Westbound, made many Best of 2012 lists, was featured twice in No Depression’s favorite new music and was even dubbed “timeless…some of the best country-tinged folk out there” by Slowcoustic. In May, he’s headed into April Base Studios in Fall Creek, Wis. to record his new album with musicians from Bon Iver, S. Carey, Nickle Creek and others from the Minneapolis jazz scene. Keep your eye on this one!
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COUNT THIS PENNY was founded by Amanda and Allen Rigell as a songwriting duo in 2009. Nowadays, they’re a full-fledged country-folk band. Recently named one of Wisconsin’s 10 ‘Bands to Watch’ by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, they’re hard at work on a new EP for wide release. They appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” in 2012, and following that appearance, saw their first release chart on iTunes’ singer-songwriter top 10. Since last fall, they’ve shared the stage with the likes of Shovels and Rope, Kacey Musgraves and The Lone Bellow.
Playing recently as a four-piece with Ben Wolf on drums and Andrew Harrison on lead guitar, and amidst sold-out hometown and regional shows, they’re writing new songs that ring out shinier – and sharper around the edges – delivering on the promise of their first steps onto the stage.
Upcoming Shows: April 26, 2014 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
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PAUL OTTESON AND FAUX FAUN is a Midwestern Folk band that has a beautiful sound and the lyrics take you through stories from Wisconsin’s history. (You’d never know you were learning something!) The band consists of: Paul Otteson – vocals, guitar; Audre Rae Krull – autoharp, vox; Luke Bassuener – drums; and Tom McCarty – bass.  Folks, give these guys a listen!
Upcoming Shows: July 31, 2014 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
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ADELYN ROSE is a band out of Eau Claire, Wis. They are finishing mixing and mastering their new full-length album, to be released within the next few months. Stay tuned! The band consists of: Adelyn Strei – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Winds; Leo Strei- Bass, Vocals; Dave Power- Drums; Hannah Hebl- Vox n Keys; and Jaime Hansen – Guitar.
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GALYNNE GOODWILL is an independent artist writing soulful, conscious, acoustic pop songs. I first heard her play at Tom’s Burned Down Cafe in La Pointe on Madeline Island and then again just a month later in Wisconsin Rapids while shooting our Lake Arrowhead episode for Discover Wisconsin. She’s a ton of fun and puts on a great show. Galynne tours all over the state, so check out her website and see when she’ll be near you soon!
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…and one more:
Discover Wisconsin’s own sound engineer Luke Osiecki rocks out as the drummer for Madison-based band, Catch Kid. You can check them out May 23 at Madison’s Brat Fest.

Clearly this is just a small, small sampling of all the great Wisconsin music. How did we do? Who did we miss? Leave a comment below, on Twitter (#DWMusic) or on Facebook to tell me who we should feature on our next list of great Wisconsin bands!
And remember to stay tuned for more great Discover Wisconsin episodes coming soon!

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