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Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 63.0° F  Partly Cloudy

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Jon Dee Graham honored to be the inspiration for Wisconsin Brewing Company's Big Sweet Life

Kirby Nelson, brewmaster for Wisconsin Brewing Company, recently asked for permission to name a new Maibock after the Jon Dee Graha song "Big Sweet Life." The singer-songwriter doesn't drink, but he was thrilled by the request. >More
 PHOX: From the basement to the big time

It took quite a while for Matt Holmen, Jason Sean Krunnfusz, Monica Martin, Dave and Matteo Roberts, and Zach Johnston to get to this point. Despite growing up in the same town, a lot of things had to fall into place to bring the six musicians together under one roof. It took even more for all those elements to create PHOX. >More
 Kelly Hogan, belting tunes and blowing minds

It's mid-afternoon on a spring day when I speak with Kelly Hogan, Neko Case's star backup singer. She's at her home in Evansville, Wis., about a half-hour drive from Madison, and she apologizes for seeming a little groggy. >More
 Whitney Mann returns with a live recording after going back to college

Whitney Mann has had a busy couple of years. Although the country singer and songwriter has laid low for the first part of 2014, that's about to change. She recently started a vlog where she performs and discusses her songs, one video at a time. And on March 28, she'll record her first live album at the High Noon Saloon. >More
 Drive-By Truckers: English Oceans

How much you enjoy Drive-By Truckers' new album may hinge on which of the band's vocalists you normally gravitate toward. But if you're new to this pioneering alt-country act, English Oceans is a good chance to get acquainted with both performers. >More
 Birds of Chicago surround listeners with warm, earthy roots music

There's a certain kind of chemistry when two performers are connected by both love and song. It often comes across onstage, as when husband-and-wife duo Over the Rhine performed at the Majestic Theatre last fall. The couple's charm and affection went beyond their lyrics and melodies, bringing additional depth to their songs. >More
 New Orleans' Rebirth Brass Band take fun, funky jazz to the Sett -- and the streets

Mardi Gras will last a little bit longer than usual in Madison this month. New Orleans' jubilant Rebirth Brass Band perform at the UW Union South Sett on Thursday, March 13, as part of the Isthmus Jazz Series. >More
 Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want

Give the People What They Want is aptly named. For more than 10 years, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have put out soul and funk albums that are as good as late-'60s material from Motown and Stax. Because the group very rarely stray from that formula, it's easy to overlook what a treasure each record is. >More
 Ex-Madisonian Brett Newski has hair-raising adventures around the world

Summer 2011. Brett Newski lost his job, his girlfriend and his band, UW party regulars the Nod. Faced with these circumstances, many musicians hang up their instruments or spend a summer writing songs in a cabin in the woods. Instead, Newski bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand. He hasn't looked back since, though he does visit Madison from time to time. He'll perform with his latest band, the Kind Assault, on Feb. 28 at the Dragonfly Lounge. >More
 Building on Buildings' founders bring an artistic perspective to indie rock

It's all about perspective. In architecture and art, perspective is the key to making an object spring to life before your eyes or lay flat on the page. It can come in the form of a vanishing point that pulls you into the middle of a picture. It can be in details that give a song's character flesh and blood in three minutes or less. >More
 Bruce Springsteen: High Hopes

When Springsteen releases a new album, it's usually a major event. But because his newest effort, High Hopes, is a grab bag of new recordings, rerecordings and old recordings gussied up, it's easy to dismiss. Don't. There is some standout material that deserves a listen, even if High Hopes doesn't qualify as a "proper" Springsteen record. >More
 MadTracks: "Wheel" by Building on Buildings

Building on Buildings recently released the first single from its forthcoming album, which doesn't have a title yet. Recording began in November with engineer Jamie Hansen at Justin Vernon's April Base studio in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. >More
 Field Report show off their local roots at the Wisconsin Folk Festival

When Field Report take the Majestic's stage for the Wisconsin Folk Fest on Jan. 4, the performance won't just mark their first show of the year. It will demonstrate just how far Milwaukee's Chris Porterfield and company have come as they march toward the release of their second album. >More
 Jason Isbell: Southeastern

If you're assembling a "top albums of 2013" list, be sure to consider Southeastern by former Drive By Truckers guitarist Jason Isbell. It's his best album and, in my opinion, one of the best of the year. >More
 WheelHouse bring a modern rock approach to old-fashioned country music

The term "country music" is a lot broader than it used to be, even a few years ago. When you turn on country-pop radio and hear Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker, you may think you mistakenly landed on a '90s rock station. >More
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