Madison Blues Society, Madison, Wisconsin Madison Blues Society, Madison, Wisconsin
Blues Picnic at Warner Park

One more time, the Madison Blues Society is holding their famous Blues Picnic in the Park on Saturday, June  28, 2014. We're having more of the same great live music all day long so you'll be sure to want to get on down to Warner Park between 12:00PM and 9:00PM and join in the fun! You can enter the park at 2930 North Sherman Avenue or at the entrance at 1625 Northport Drive. Look for the shelter with the big colored drums and you'll find the best fest in Madison!

Don't forget this great event is STILL FREE! Everyone from the community and beyond can come and enjoy a fantastic day of music, food, drink, beer and fun in the sun!

The bands are looking great again this year for a rockin' good time for all. There'll be nine hours of FREE MUSIC! Don't forget there's plenty of room for dancing so make sure you mark the date to shake your booty!

If just hanging out is your style, there's lots of room for blankets and chairs with shade under the trees. We'll more of the same great traditional and ethnic food vendors to give you lots of options for tasty food and drink.

MBS owes huge thanks to Dane Arts with additional funding from the Evjue Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of the Capital Times. Their continued support of the MBS Blues Picnic makes possible this great day the Blues community loves. They've come through for us year after year and we're glad to be able to team up and help keep Dane County the fine place it is.

This project is also funded in part by a grant from the Madison Arts Commission, with additional funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board. Thanks to these great organizations supporting the arts, the Madison Blues Society can continue to bring this event back again and again.

Blues Picnic Crowd 2008
The Blues Kids will be back!

The Blues Kids will be back again at this year's Blues Picnic. This year, MBS is working with the Madison Music Foundry to put together a great group of kids who will show the crowd how to get down and boogie!

The Blues Kids are working on a great set of Blues songs and are excited to get up on stage to show you their stuff! You can expect to see an entusiastic bunch giving the picnic a great show as they play the Blues!

Help spread the word!

We'll be getting Blues Picnic Posters put up around town. You'll be able to read about us in the Isthmus and you'll find flyers at your favorite area clubs and music shops with all the details. You can help by printing out a few and getting them put up in your neighborhood. Just click the poster to get the full PDF file.

You can keep up with all the news by checking out the latest on FACEBOOK! Check us out and tell all your Facebook friends!

We're working with WORT-FM again this year!

We're continuing our promotional exchange with WORT-FM community radio this year. They'll be at the picnic and helping get the word out in the preceding weeks. Be sure to tune in for broadcast interviews with MBS "picnic people" and members of the picnic bands as well as lots of great Blues music.

Don't miss these WORT Blues Shows:

  • Every Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM
          "Blues Cruise" hosted by Dave Watts
  • Every Saturday from 8:00 to 10:00 AM
          "The Dusties Storm (R&B)" hosted by Lady P.
  • Every Saturday from 8:00 to 10:00 PM
          "Two for the Blues" hosted on alternate Saturdays
              by Art Schuna & Dave Leucinger
  • Every Sunday Night from 10:00PM to Midnight
          "The Mad Marcus Rock & Soul Revue"
            hosted by Mad Mad Marcus
Grab your chance to win in the Picnic Raffles!

This year's prize raffle is going to give blues fans plenty of chances to win! Pick up your tickets at the MBS tent and you might come home with a great prize!

Grab your chance at these great prizes from an MBS Board Member NOW! The tickets are all printed and ready to go! Only $10 or three for $25!

You may run into them at the BLUES 'N' BREWS jam Tuesday nights at the Bristled Boar for TATE'S BLUES JAM at the Knuckle Down Saloon on Thursday nights. Don't miss out!

You can check out all the contributions from our great Blues Picnic supporters on the RAFFLE PRIZE LIST.

And a lot of folks love the 50/50 CASH RAFFLE. Tickets sold in the crowd at the Blues Picnic bring some very lucky winners a bundle of cash and help the Madison Blues Society keep bringin' you the blues.

Help out the community with our FOOD DRIVE!

You can help the area community by bringing non-perishable food items for the Food Drive. This really helps out hungry people in need. This year, MBS is working with River Food Pantry on the north side's Darwin Road. These hard working folks get 30,000 pounds of food out into the community every week! Last year, the Blues Picnic visitors filled a pickup truck with food donations. Let's do it again! Drop off canned and dry goods in the marked containers at the entrance. Cash donations are also very much appreciated. This drive is entirely voluntary but your help really makes a difference!

And don't miss the After Party!

After the Blues Picnic, the Shake Daddys blues band will be hosting a very entertaining after party at the Lazy Oaf Lounge from 9:30PM to 1:30AM featuring artists from the festival! The Lazy Oaf has plenty of parking, an outdoor patio, great food, cool staff, and owners who support live music. The Lazy Oaf is not far from Warner Park at 1617 N. Stoughton Road by the intersection of 51 (Stoughton Road.) and 151 (East Washington Avenue). Don't miss the fun as the party revs up again!

From area talent to Milwaukee and Chicago greats, we've got the Blues!

They'll be singin' and playin' the Blues from Noon to 9:00PM! Don't miss these hot bands!

Blue-eyed soul opens the Blues Picnic

A prolific songwriter and talented vocalist, Kyle Henderson has been on a multi-faceted musical journey all his life. His style melds blues, rock and soul in an original, magical way. With his first full modern blues-rock album, Kyle is getting a "Brand New Chance" at his musical career.

In the late '70s he was a member of Whiteface, a band that would enjoy a very limited brush with fame. Featuring a mix of pop, R&B, rock and funk, Whiteface was signed to Mercury Records and recorded their self-titled debut album. Though they enjoyed some popularity in their home town, the band's debut failed to take off. Kyle moved from Whiteface to new wave/power pop band The Producers. Signed by CBS subsidiary Portrait Records, the Producers recorded 2 albums and headlined MTV's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" in 1982. The Producers have recorded a blues-rock album, produced by Tab Benoit, that will release in late 2013 or early 2014. While Kyle continues to be a part of that group when the Producers are active, he is forging ahead with his Madison, WI-based blues-rock quartet.

They're back again!
Blues Kids
Blues Kids

The BLUES KIDS have been a highly successful project of MBS and area music educators for several years now. For the last few years, these educators have been working with Madison's youth and helping them learn about the Blues and gain the confidence to perform before a festival crowd. We're all looking forward to the next generation of Blues musicians!

This year, MBS is working with the Madison Music Foundry. The staff is working with the kids on their training and practice in playin' the Blues. The kids have been honing their skills to really make the show something special. Their enthusiasm is a real crowd pleaser, year after year. Don't miss this great group!

Milwaukee R&B gets the crowd dancin'!

From day one, Altered Five dared to be different. The quintet formed in 2002 and quickly gained a reputation for its inventive arrangements and distinctive sound. Isthmus magazine called the band "a rising blues unit" and declared, "The group delivers the element of surprise."

Within a few years, Altered Five caught the ear of Cold Wind Records and, in 2008, signed a recording contract with the Minneapolis blues label. The debut album featured the band's penchant for putting an earthy spin on numbers; the aptly titled "Bluesified" included roadhouse versions of songs by the Rolling Stones, Prince, Sting, and six others.

Altered Five soon turned its attention to being more than just a cure for the common cover band. After nearly a decade of molding the music of others into their own image, the group began to apply its sound to original songs and other lesser known blues and soul tunes. The new album, "Gotta Earn It", stays true to the band's soul-rockin' signature yet takes a major step forward in forging a new musical frontier. The rhythm section of drummer Scott Schroedl and bassist Mark Solveson grooves hard and enjoys telepathic interaction with keyboardist Ray Tevich and guitarist Jeff Schroedl.

It's been said that "the blues is a feeling," so when the Minneapolis Star Tribune states that the band is a "righteous blast," you know they play it right.

CHRIS AARON with special guest JIM SCHWALL
Two unique artists come together for some hot Blues!

Chris Aaron grew up on 60s and 70s music and was honored to play with many of his idols: people like Ray Charles, George Thorogood, BB King, Libba Cotton, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, Koko Taylor, Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang, W.C. Clark, Pat MacDonald, and Jackson Browne. His distinctive music follows in the tradition of these artists and and others who influenced like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan and his studio mentor Chris Shepard.

Chris heard live music at folk festivals and concerts, marches and environmental gatherings, places where music held the "happenin" together. Immersed in Native American music while his mom taught on the Menominee Reservation, Chris heard the powerful music of native drummers and saw and felt the exquisite dancing, color, and energy of the powwow. Chris absorbed that power and melded it, along with other musical flavors, into his own music. While his musical heritage shows a plentiful past, Chris's music is all about the future. Full of soul and feeling and longing, Chris' music moves listeners forward.

Jim Schwall started playing several different kinds of music on several different instruments while in elementary school. By the time he finished high school, he was primarily playing various kinds of traditional folk music, including bluegrass and country blues, on the guitar. Gradually, originals, usually based on traditional styles, replaced the traditional tunes and Jim has continued to play solo gigs all his life.

In college, Jim met harmonica and piano player Corky Siegel, added a pickup to his Gibson guitar, and they started the Siegel-Schwall Band, performing for about ten years and releasing over a dozen record albums. After Siegel-Schwall disbanded in 1974, Jim continued to play in several versions of the Jim Schwall Band while going back to college, eventually completing a doctorate in music composition, becoming a professor of music, and teaching composition in universities. More recently, Jim has been teaching in high schools and doing social service work, running a program housing the mentally ill who had become homeless.

Currently, Jim plays with Marques Bovre's SoDangYang, Bar Time Lovers , the Cajun Strangers and the Jim Schwall Band with Andy Ewen as well as regular solo concerts. Working with varied area musicians keeps Jim's music interesting and fun!

Chicago Blues icon pounds the keys with friends

2010 Grammy Award nominee, and 2013 & 2014 BMA Pinetop Perkins piano player of the year nominee Barrelhouse Chuck is the only Chicago blues pianist to have studied under Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Blind John Davis, Detroit Junior and Little Brother Montgomery. Barrelhouse Chuck draws on this distinguished lineage to create a blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano style that places him at the forefront of this celebrated tradition.

After learning to play the drums at the age of 6, Chuck later switched to the piano and was living Gainesville, Fla. when he heard his first Muddy Waters record with Otis Spann on piano. This was a major turning point in Chuck's life. Before long, Chuck had formed his own band and began opening for Willie Dixon, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters and even got the chance to play with the great Bo Diddley. It was also during this time that Chuck and some of his friends began following Muddy Waters around to get some first hand exposure to both Muddy and his then current piano player, Pinetop Perkins. Chuck was soon back stage and got the chance to hang with the band.

In 1979, he drove 24 hours straight from Florida to Chicago to see Sunnyland Slim at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted. Chuck spent the next 16 years studying with the living legend, meeting and hanging out with all the great Blues musicians of Chicago. Chuck formed a special bond with piano legend Little Brother Montgomery with whom he honed his piano stylings during a long internship. When Brother passed away Chuck lost a mentor and a true friend, but Chuck keeps his music alive when ever he plays.

During the past Three decades Chuck has played all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and tours Europe regularly. He has also appeared more than a dozen times at the Chicago Blues Festival. Even though most of his teachers have passed on, Barrelhouse Chuck has become one of the bearers of the flame, and keeps both their spirit and music alive, passing it along where ever he plays.

Billy Flynn was born in Green Bay. In Billy's early teen, a local blues club opened and Flynn was inspired by the music provided there by Luther Allison, Johnny Littlejohn and Mighty Joe Young. Flynn was fortunate to be spotted playing outside the venue by Jimmy Dawkins, who arranged for him to play with him on stage. Soon Billy joined Dawkins' band, and he played and toured with them until the end of the decade.

As time went on, Billy has played alongside Sunnyland Slim and kept very busy playing with Jim Liban and the Futuramics, The Legendary Blues Band and Mississippi Heat. Finding more opportunities every day, Billy has worked and recorded with Bryan Lee, Little Smokey Smothers, Mark Hummel, Willie Kent, Snooky Pryor, Big Bill Morganfield, Deitra Farr, and Billy Boy Arnold. In Willie "Big Eyes" Smith's 2008 album, "Born in Arkansas", Billy played along with Bob Stroger, Barrelhouse Chuck, Little Frank Krakowski and Smith's son Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith.

In 2008, Tristar Pictures put together the biopic "Cadillac Records", based on the early days of Chess Records when Muddy Waters, Etta James, Little Walter and Chuck Berry were just starting to be famous. Billy joined in making the soundtrack along with Larry Taylor, Eddie Taylor Jr., Barrelhouse Chuck, Kim Wilson. The picture was nominated for three Grammys and won the "Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance" for the song "At Last."

Very early, Westside Andy Linderman found an extraordinary mentor in Corky Siegel. The night they met during a Siegel/Schwall Blues Band set break, Corky asked him to sit in for the entire next set. Andy was only 15. That may have been the galvanizing moment when the "Westside" story really started. Meaning thousands of gigs. Probably a million miles with a trunk full of gear, and how many late nights driving home in ice and snow in the groovy winters of Wisconsin where this blues bird resides.

In the process, Andy has shared the stage with James Cotton, Luther Allison, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Charlie Musselwhite, Doobie Brothers, Richie Havens, Muddy Waters, Gary Primich, Jimmy Johnson, Tab Benoit, Hubert Sumlin. Ok, you get the idea. Not to mention his current long-time collaboration with Mel Ford, a blues guitarist/vocalist/songwriter of wide acclaim.

Andy and Mel have been keeping the home crowd happy for many years with the regular Thursday gig at the Hody in Middleton. Regular guests include Reverend Raven, Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck. These guys have all been playing together for so long that they can make a "pickup" band into the hottest sound around!

Area favorites complete the Blues Picnic with their signature high energy show!

Formed as a trio in May of 2008, Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo is composed of Aaron Williams (Vocals, Guitar), Eric Shackelford (Drums, Vocals) and Z (Bass, Vocals). All three have the blues deeply rooted in the music they love to play. The trio all met while Aaron was hosting a blues jam at the now defunct club, the Cuda Cafe. Not too long after this fateful night, the band was playing all over their hometown of Madison, WI.

Aaron, like so many other determined young player's had a veteran musician to learn the craft from, none other then his father, Hammond organist, Cadillac Joe Andersen. At the age of 16, Aaron picked up the guitar and became obsessed with the instrument. At the ripe old age of 18 he was already sneaking into some of the areas top jams and was keeping up with veteran players. He eventually found a home at the Silver Moon where many great players would show up on Thursday nights for this blues jam. With the likes of Looper Lucas, Michael Coleman and Buddy Guy playing, he was in the right place to learn the craft of a blues front man. After noticing this skinny little kid showing up and belting out the blues week after week Michael Coleman dubbed him "Youngblood" and would call him up to get on stage whenever the crowd needed a boost. Aaron still credits these years as the stepping stone to the kind of player he is today.

This stripped down trio has been catching a buzz across the Midwest and South with their constant touring (over 170 shows in 2012) and exciting live shows. With second round Grammy nominations in 2011 for "Blues Album of the Year" and "Best New Artist", they've been skyrocketing towards a nationwide breakout. Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo have been featured on several national broadcasts including CNN and WGN. They also had the distinct pleasure of being named WAMI Blues Artist of the Year (2012). They've been a "Madison Favorite" the last six years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) as voted on by Isthmus Newspaper readers and they've taken home 6 MAMA awards in 2010 & 2011 including the coveted "Artist of the Year". This is clearly testament to the bands success in a very short period of time.

They have had the pleasure to play at some of the Midwest largest festivals including, Summerfest, BAM Fest and Forward Music Fest. They've shared the stage with such notable artist as the Los Lonely Boys, Jonny Lang and Buddy Guy. Their debut release, "It Ain't Easy," won Blues/Rock Album of the Year 2010 in Real Blues Magazine. Their second studio album "10:49" was Grammy nominated and their brand new live album, "Live Loud Harmony" has been critically claimed as "one of the best Live albums of 2013." The band looks to move forward and bring their sound to more and more fans looking for real original American music. Don't miss 'em!

Winners will get food, fun and more!

Check out these great prizes! Tickets are available NOW from MBS Board Members and will be on sale at the white Madison Blues Society tent. Only $10 or 3 for $25 and we put groups of prizes together so each prize is a big one!

Check out this great of great prizes!

There's still more comin' in so you might be surprised at the picnic!

We'll have our usual great selection of food and drink!

Please help support our great vendors and KEEP THE PICNIC FREE!


Food Vendors

We'll have the great familiar and ethnic choices that Blues fans have come to know and love.

Plenty of Fine Brews

And don't miss all the great beers from Capital Brewery. We'll have cups and pitchers again so you can be well stocked for the day. Be sure to stock up on your favorite Capital Brewery brews!

  • Island Wheat
  • Capital Pilsner
  • Wisconsin Amber
  • Mutiny IPA
  • Supper Club

At the MBS Tent, we'll have BLUES MERCHANDISE for sale including MBS T-shirts with a great new design and we should have a few Wild Women T-shirts left, too! We'll also have drink cozies, tote bags, travel mugs, hats, beer glasses with a discount for beer! There'll be lots of Blues fans bringing something back home with them after a great day of music.

And if you haven't joined the Madison Blues Society, check out our membership packages. One-year single memberships are still only $15! MBS keeps bringing the Madison area fans the Blues year after year! Don't miss this great opportunity to support the Blues!

And we'll have some interesting hand made ethnic merchandise for you to explore!

These great supporters bring you the Blues

Bringing us rewards for Blues Lovers!
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