Folk music

Bonnie North

If your idea of accordion music begins and ends with the tunes featured on the Lawrence Welk show, Guy Klucevsek would like to broaden your horizons. He's a world-class accordionist who has founded bands and even entire record labels around the oft-forgotten reed instrument.

www.jackspann.com

Musician Jack Spann is not a musical newcomer. The St. Louis native has lived in New York for years and put his keyboard – and other musical talents to work with any number of other musicians. But the last couple of years have been big ones for Spann.

Mitch Teich

At a time when the world has been dealing with some rough news, the music of Joan Shelley is a welcome respite.

The Vitrolum Republic

After four years, Milwaukee’s The Vitrolum Republic is releasing a new album tonight.  For the Lovespun Ramblings and Ghosts in our Shoes is the group’s third release. 

This latest effort features more of the chamber-folk sounds of brothers Jordan and Nick Waraska, along with Chuck Lawton and Benjamin Schaefer, though it builds from earlier efforts with the addition of percussionist Schaefer.

Mitch Teich

There’s a certain sense of comfort that shows through in the music of Nora Jane Struthers and her band, The Party Line.  It might be thanks to the critical success of her latest album, Wake, which Struthers produced herself.

But it might also be the result of a whole series of fortunate life events that have carried her to places in which she feels at home and at ease.

thestraybirds.com

The music the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based band, The Stray Birds, plays owes a lot to a distinctly American tradition. But dig deeper and you'll find traditional music from elsewhere, and even some classical sensibilities.

That's thanks to the training of its members. Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven, and Charlie Muench make up the band, and a recent tour took them to Milwaukee. They stopped by the Lake Effect studio for a conversation and a mini-concert:

Czarli Bajka

The tenth anniversary of Alverno College’s world music festival Global Union happens Saturday in Humboldt Park.  The day-long festival features acts this year from West Africa, Quebec, Belgium… and Poland.

Mitch Teich

Cellist Olivia Hahn and violinist Karla Dietmeyer began playing with each other while attending Luther College in Iowa. It’s only been very recently that the two are living in the same city again - this time in Minneapolis. It’s made playing and writing together as The OK Factor much easier.

Both classically trained, Hahn and Dietmeyer describe their music as alternative folk  that draws from bluegrass, jazz and popular music, bending the roles of classical music and their formal training.

jessklein.com

There comes a time in an artist's life when they have the desire and the resources to do what they want, and not worry about what a record label, producer, or even fans are asking for. 

Such is the case for Austin-based singer/songwriter Jess Klein.  Her latest album is called Learning Faith.  Leaning towards a concept album, Klein drew upon raw emotions and the aspect of faith in many areas of life. 

"I’ve always had an interest in spirituality. I’ve never had a religion but I’ve always felt a longing to connect to something bigger," says Klein.

http://whitehorsemusic.ca/

Luke Doucet and Melissa McClellan were both successful solo singer-songwriters before they were married in 2006.  In 2011, they decided to combine forces and form Whitehorse

Sometimes playing nearly 100 concerts in a year, Whitehorse doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. They even travel with their infant child. With all that time spent on the road, it’s hard to imagine time for anything else, let alone practice - which is just one reason why duo doesn’t put too much thought into rehearsing.

jensen-bugge.dk

If you are asked to name a kind of music that uses fiddles and accordions, you’d be forgiven for saying Irish or Scottish first. But both the fiddle and the accordion are common instruments in many folk traditions, including Danish.

The Danish tradition shares a lot with its Norwegian and Swedish neighbors, as well as with the Celtic traditions of Ireland and Scotland. And with the advent of the internet and multi-national folk festivals, the music of all of those countries can fuse in interesting ways.

J.P. Cormier / facebook.com

Like many talented Canadian musicians, J.P. Cormier is probably someone you’ve never heard of. But the multi-instrumentalist has been making great music for decades.

Until recently, he performed in bands in support of other people. But friends convinced him that he had something to offer as a solo musician. 

Cormier makes his home in Nova Scotia but has been on a marathon U.S. tour in support of his latest album, The Chance.

Rod Franklin

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Woody Mann doesn’t fit into neatly defined categories. He plays everything from ragtime to folk, from classical to blues, from jazz to world – and he writes his own tunes that draw on all of those influences and more. That wide ranging curiosity, coupled with stellar technique and a deep pleasure in making music, makes listening to Mann a joy.

https://www.facebook.com/jaredandthemill?fref=ts

 With such a bevy of Americana/folk rock artists like ‘Mumford and Sons’ or ‘The Lumineers’ just to name a couple, it is quite a thing for a band to stand out in the genre. So how does the Arizona-based band, ‘Jared and The Mill’, stand-out from their already established musical peers? Well, as the members of the band would tell you – sticking to their roots has a lot to do with it.

Album of the Week: Human Kindness by Willy Porter

Feb 24, 2015
willyporter.bandcamp.com

Such a large amount of the music, in any genre, has become so strictly defined and crafted that it has become diluted to the point of sameness. This makes it all the more refreshing to have artists like Willy Porter who can’t be pigeonholed. Porter, a Milwaukee native has had an incredibly enduring music career; spanning over two decades in length. Unquestionably talented, with powerful vocals and masterful guitar work, it’s a wonder as to why he has remained something of a ‘hidden gem’.

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