Inside the residency with Juniper Tar: Week Two recap
Wow, Wednesday night was a blast. Before I start babbling, let me tell you what isn't a blast. Hotel Foster's back alley is a freaking death trap. Two more Juniper Tarians fell victim to late-night ankle busters while loading out at the end of the night. These injuries may or may not be the result of lack of equilibrium.
Again, we are amazed and humbled at the amount of people willing to come out and experience what we're doing during these Wednesday night stays. I'm pretty confident that by the end of this little shindig, we are going to each walk away with a handful of really great new pals.
You're all going to get sick of hearing it, but one of those folks is Foster's co-owner John Revord. This guy just gets it! He hires good people. He makes his establishment a friendly and pleasant place. He opens his doors, and allows artistic people to be creative, and doesn't take ANY money from them in the process. In short, Hotel Foster is a dream venue for any musician.
It's pretty standard for clubs to expect bands to cover sound and door. Granted, I understand that on a night where four people are in attendance you lose money, but that's the risk you take booking shows. Bands bring people, people drink and drinks make bars money.
Bars, therefore, take money from the cover charge to pay their people. It's never made any sense to me. I think you get the point. Hotel Foster and the people that have been coming out the past two weeks are simply amazing.
It was great having the older generation of musicians in Milwaukee that we really admire there last night. Kurt Koenig, Blaine Schultz, Johnny "Schleicher" Sieger, Paul Cebar ... we thank you for your support and generosity. It helps us to keep pushing forward knowing that you appreciate what we do.
April 4, 2012: Special Guests Hugh Masterson, Joe Crockett and Paul Cebar
Chris DeMay, our talented keys/guitar player started off the night with a solo song with our dear friend Lisa Ridgly joining on vocals. For those of you unaware, Chris is old and has been in music longer than any of us, so pick up his music if you haven't had the chance to. We're lucky to have him in our family. From there, the rest of the night morphed into a beautiful mix of cowboy boots and feedback.
Our first resident guest, Hugh Masterson, is a pure Southern gentlemen who just happens to be from northern Wisconsin. As the long time bassist for the Wildbirds, we are loving the music that Hugh is sharing with the world! Quinn Scharber joined Hugh on stage for a song off Hugh's forthcoming record, and then we joined him for a really bittersweet song called "Ashland County." We're really looking forward to the Hugh Bob and the Hustle record. Giddy up, buddy!
Next up, one of our oldest Milwaukee music pals, Joe Crockett, took the stage and wrestled with some grounding issues (with over a dozen beautiful floor lamps on stage, it has to be a sound guy's nightmare), but in time made the acoustic guitar ring beautifully through the place. We were lucky to back him up on a song from The Championship's first record called "A Change." We've gotten the chance to hear some of the new record Joe is recording, and man is it something special.
As we expected, the night took a fantastic leap forward when Mr. Paul Cebar took the stage to an audience of close to 200 people that ranged from 21- to 70-year-olds, all clapping along to The Magnetic Fields' song "Book of Love" (from Paul's latest record, "One Little Light On"). It's a song that means a lot to members in this band. Jason had our great pal Mark Waldoch do a stunning version of the song at his wedding. Getting the chance to share the stage with Paul was a bit surreal; being his backing band for the beautiful song "Holding onto the Wind" was something we'll never forget.
As the night came to a close, and just when you think that performing the same closing song each week would get old, it manifested itself into something magical again last night. There has been such a spiritual experience sharing the stage with artists that we admire to perform "I Shall Be Released."
John Sieger even attended Week 2 and made it up on stage for the final song of the night. Jason handed him his guitar to make a power trio of Paul, Hugh and John all trading solos. It was great that we were able to just sing and lose ourselves in the song. As our friend Blaine Schultz remarked, "The moment was 'transcendent.'"
Next week, we're throwing you a bit of a curveball. Unfortunately Trapper Scheopp and the Shades were offered a chance to go on the road and open up for some "guy" named Tommy Stinson, so they'll be playing the last night of the residency.
Personally, I'm looking forward to next week's show more than any other. Michael Jantz, a.k.a. Black Eagle Child, is hands down Milwaukee's best kept secret. The sound that he creates from one guitar and some pedals is something that will leave you dumbfounded. We are equally excited and thankful for the great folks in Hello, Death to hop on board on such short notice. If you haven't heard them yet, you will soon. Hello, Death is four members of Milwaukee's sonic assault group The Altos, and Nathanial Heuer has stepped out from behind the bass guitar to write some of the most hauntingly beautiful tracks we've heard come out of this city.
Thanks to everyone who was there. You helped make the night very special for these five dudes, as well as making it a friendly experience for all 200 people in attendance. We hope to see you next week!
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