A few years ago, the proudly rustic barn at 506 E. Madison St. in Spring Green was hosting occasional party/dinner/music/camp-out affairs sponsored by Furthermore Beer. But by last summer and fall, the Shitty Barn, as it's called, was operating as a seasonal venue on its own. In 2011, the Shitty Barn Sessions boasted a schedule that ranged from Minneapolis multi-instrumental wizard Dosh to local and regional bands like Group of the Altos, The Pines, and Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble.
Judging from the new schedule, 2012 will be the Shitty Barn's biggest year yet.
The season kicks off on May 2 with what organizer Chris Staples calls "a secret TBA opening night." The rough schedule so far includes other TBAs and more promises of secret surprises.
On May 11, the Shitty Barn hosts Saturday Looks Good To Me. A project of Michigan native Fred Thomas, SLGTM will be celebrating the reissue of 2003's All Your Summer Songs, a wonderful meld of classic pop harmonies and lo-fi-pile-on recording techniques. Despite its bedroom origins, SLGTM is actually quite a fun live act.
That may be the biggest name in the lineup so far, but the rest admirably celebrates the offerings of Madison and Midwestern music. Locals playing the Shitty Barn include Nick Brown and Corey Hart (May 16), Anna Vogelzang and Weather Duo (May 23), Count This Penny (June 27) and Dietrich Gosser (Sept. 12).
On August 7, Nath Dresser, Josh Harty, and Bob Weinswig host a songwriting seminar, complete with a set of Townes Van Zandt songs and a screening of the 2004 Van Zandt documentary Be Here To Love Me. After the season officially wraps up, there's a Shitty Barn Party on Oct. 20 with Cribshitter, Porcupine, the Book of Right On and Ronald Raygun.
Other highlights include Duluth's acoustic blues master Charlie Parr (9/19) and, for the wee ones, a "Kiddy Barn Session" with Stuart Stotts (July 15).
Staples says the Shitty Barn website will soon roll out a series of videos from past performances, including Dosh.
Tickets go on sale April 1 through the venue's website. Staples says there will be a 20% discount for tickets purchased in April. Check back at the site for more information on prices and times; Staples says Wednesday shows generally begin at 7 p.m., and $10 is the default price, but some could be a little more. The venue has sold out shows before, so it's worth buying ahead of time.
Here's the rough schedule so far, courtesy of Staples:
2 It's a secret! TBA opening night
9 Chastity Brown
11 Saturday Looks Good to Me w/ Wild Moccasins
16 Nick Brown and Corey Hart
19 Gastro Non Grata Event w/ Crankshaft and Milo
23 Anna Vogelzang and Weather Duo
26 Pieta Brown
6 Group of the Altos
8 Andreas Capsalis & Goran Ivanovic
13 Ida Jo
16 Black Bear Combo
20 Icarus Himself
23 In Tall Buildings
27 Count This Penny
11 Little Red Wolf
15 Kiddy Barn Session w/ Stuart Stotts
18 All Tiny Creatures
25 Caravan GSE
28 Milkweed Field Trip: Dining w/ Communist Daughter
8 Katie Powderly
9 John Statz
10 Southeast Engine
15 Rogue Valley
16 Bo Ramsey
17 "For the Sake of the Song" Songwriting Seminar featuring Nath Dresser, Josh Harty, Bob Weinswig playing Townes Van Zandt + viewing of "Be Here to Love Me"
18 MACSAC Fundraiser w/ Ian's Pizza: Evan Murdoch, Trapper Schoepp and Jonathan Burks
22 The Pines
7 The Idle Hands
12 Dietrich Gosser
19 Charlie Parr
22 Beats in the Barn
26 ZETI (Pezzetino rebirthed)
10 It's a secret! TBA closing night
20 Shitty Barn Party w/ Cribshitter, Porcupine, The Book of Right On and Ronald Raygun
21 Morning After Session w/ Blessed Feathers