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Today in Milwaukee
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tonight @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

Fans of Barenaked Ladies, the Canadian alt-pop quartet that formed in 1988 in Toronto’s Scarborough suburb, may already know that former frontman Steven Page left the band in February to pursue a solo career. But that shouldn’t stop the remaining Ladies—Ed Robertson, Kevin Hearn, Jim Creeggran and Tyler Stewart—from bringing the same humor-laced show that characterized past Barenaked Ladies performances to the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

APT tackles Harold Pinter

Playwright Harold Pinter never felt the need to explain his plays, which has led to multiple popular and critical interpretations and debates about works like The Homecoming and Betrayal. The Milwaukee Rep's Laura Gordon, who will tackle Pinter for the first time next month in her American Players Theatre directorial debut of Pinter's Old Times, expects to add to the play's growing canon of controversy and uncertainty...
Music Feature
Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kris Kristofferson finds freedom in songwriting

When told he's known better as a songwriter than a singer, Kris Kristofferson laughs. "I don't think there's much doubt about that," says Kristofferson, 72, in a familiar, graveled baritone thickened with age. Armed only with a guitar, a harmonica and his soul, Kristofferson has come to appreciate the directness of the acoustic approach and its ability to help him reach an audience. "All I can do is go by people's reactions to my work," Kristofferson says. "It's just the way I communicate with people."
Music Feature
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt enlighten through songwriting

Lyle Lovett knows that great songwriting can be a means to an end, one that reaches out and touches audiences. The long, tall Texan, who's won several Grammy Awards for his heartfelt, wryly humorous lyrics, also knows a great song when he hears one. Based on his own musical experiences, the Houston-based singer/songwriter appreciates the art of songwriting more than most of us. "A great song is a rare thing," Lovett says. "Great songs never seem contrived; they just seem true." Lovett will explore many of his own songs during an all-acoustic evening Feb. 17 at the Pabst Theater, when he shares the stage...
Music Feature
Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008
Each April, singer Al Jarreau begins using a familiar greeting he knows will take him through the end of the year. "I love to say 'Merry Christmas' to the lady at the bank and the folks at the grocery store," says Jarreau, 68. "When you're in the music business, that's about when you start thinking about Christmas anyway, because soon you will be practicing if you're in a choir or recording if you're a professional. And then it will be Halloween and then it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas will really be here." "Merry Christmas" was how...
Album Reviews
Monday, Nov. 17, 2008

Twangasm (George Street Records)

With their new release, Milwaukee's Twang Dragons have stepped away from their rockabilly roots. Emphasizing a little more rock and a little less 'billy, the Dragons haven't completely lost their country appeal; they've simply evolved into less twang and more strum. Rhythm section members Mark Nauman (bass) and Scott Defebaugh (drums) still drive a mean line against guitarist Tommy Dixon's riffs, while Lisa Hannon's...
Album Reviews
Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008

Join the Band (429 Records)

Fans of gumbo jam band Little Feat, the unlikely result of Lowell George being fired from Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention back in 1969, will flock to Join the Band, a combination "greatest hits" and "best friends" release. Produced by Jimmy Buffett, the 14-track CD featured Buffett . . .
Music Feature
Monday, Aug. 11, 2008

Online Exclusive

One would think that a 64-year-old blues musician who performs sitting down due to ongoing recovery from a hip broken in 2000 wouldn't be hard to track down. But it took several weeks and numerous trans-Atlantic phone calls before Johnny Winter finally surfaced in a club in a suburb of Rome, Italy. Winter and his three-piece backup band were on the last leg of a southern European tour, having just finished a late-night set performed before what the Albino blues guitarist thought was a fairly reserved crowd . . .

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