Shakey Graves builds on DIY folk skills

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 27 November 2014 02:06

Shakey Graves. — Photo: Big Hassle

It’s not easy to impress the alternative music community with something they haven’t seen before, but a kick drum made out of an old suitcase might qualify. So might the man behind that unique instrument, Shakey Graves, who made a memorable impression on the scene in 2011 with his raw vocals, acoustic guitar skills and that suitcase drum.

Conductor De Waart makes most of streamlined MSO

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 13 November 2014 14:37

Edo de Waart — Photo: Bert Hulselmans

Edo de Waart, music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, has logged a lot of miles in the past few months. Yet the 73-year-old maestro remains remarkably vibrant and ready to take on his share of the MSO’s 2014–15 season.

Pink Floyd say goodbye with ‘The Endless River’

Written by JILL LAWLESS,
Associated Press writer
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 10:53

Pink Floyd, “The Endless River” (Columbia Records)

Never was an album more aptly named than “The Endless River,” the new — and seemingly final — release from Pink Floyd. It flows unstoppably, and while some listeners may feel it meanders on too long, it’s very easy to get swept along by it.

Aretha takes on divas, comes out swinging

Written by JEFF KAROUB,
Associated Press writer
Friday, 17 October 2014 17:27

Aretha Franklin sings the sound of America like nobody else alive — a point of unceasing pride for Detroit, the place she was raised and remains near today. So the release of “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” raises one question right off: Does the singular Queen of Soul really need to borrow from other divas?

The answer is she doesn’t need to do anything, but a dive into the realm of other divas is a solid move.

Present Music again a reason to give thanks

Written by Kirstin Roble,
contributing writer
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:34

Present Music has produced no shortage of successful collaborations and commissions, but one of the standouts is always the annual Thanksgiving concert. Held this year on Nov. 23 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Present Music’s latest version of the concert gave audiences another reason to be thankful this season.

Roches’ mother-daughter harmonies to fill Shank Hall

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 13 November 2014 14:33

Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche. — PHOTO: Courtesy

To their many fans, the surnames Roche and Wainwright imply musical royalty. Their intertwined family tree has created two generations of accomplished folk musicians connected by blood and marriage.

Lost Dylan lyrics brought to life

Written by SCOTT BAUER,
AP writer
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 22:08

Various Artists, “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes” (Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records)

The bottomless well of material from Bob Dylan just got deeper with the release of “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes,” an unqualified success.

Pop and jazz artist Bruce Hornsby goes classical

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 October 2014 12:39

Bruce Hornsby’s new album explores atonality. — PHOTO: Courtesy

“Some things will never change,” Bruce Hornsby sings in his 1986 hit “The Way It Is.”

MSO's 'Scheherazade' merges music and storytelling

Written by Julie Steinbach,
contributing writer
Monday, 17 November 2014 13:28

This weekend, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performed a program of works that not only lived up to the ambitious nature of their season, but even surpassed expectations through evocative, escapist storytelling.

‘Fidelio’: Beethoven’s struggle, Madison Opera’s reward

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 13 November 2014 14:27

Beethoven, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler. — Photo: Wikimedia

Talking to Kathryn Smith, general manager of the Madison Opera, it’s clear how much she loves her medium. And how challenging a medium she’s picked.

Mary Lambert opens heart in debut album

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 30 October 2014 16:47

Mary Lambert. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Mary Lambert is nothing if not grateful for her newfound popularity. The lesbian singer/songwriter swiftly rose to fame after being featured on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ groundbreaking gay rights single “Same Love” in 2012. 

Fleetwood Mac — ALL together now

Associated Press writer
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 06:50

Their “dream girl” is back.

The members of Fleetwood Mac each took a moment earlier this week at New York City’s Madison Square Garden to welcome longtime bandmate Christine McVie back to the stage after a 16-year hiatus, thus restoring the band to its mid-1970s and most successful configuration.