The tale of Missouri-born Americana singer-songwriter, Alex Ballard, is certainly a rich tapestry. After Ballard’s 1980’s band Baku Press disbanded, he relocated to Seattle to write and reflect. Although the music scene there was on the verge of exploding, Ballard returned to his long-time home, Milwaukee with a fresh batch of songs, and released his first solo E.P., Madeira, on Don’t Records. The E.P. was nominated for 5 WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) awards, received rave reviews in publications like College Music Journal and airplay on both independent and commercial radio. Ballard formed Sugarfoot in 1993 to tour behind the effort.
At the 1993 South by Southwest Convention, Alex Ballard and Sugarfoot was one of three artists reviewed by the panel in their marketing seminar. Industry veteran and enigma, Kim Fowley, took notice and shopped the band to various labels and industry moguls. That same year, Alex Ballard and Sugarfoot were voted one of the top 10 unsigned bands in the country, according to Musician Magazine.
In 1999, the band recorded Take a Picture (Karmadillo Entertainment Recordings), the band’s first full-length. It received great reviews and write-ups in Billboard Magazine and No Depression, among other publications, and indie sales of the record were brisk. The band toured behind the album extensively throughout the Midwest and beyond, opening for such legendary acts as Wilco, Little Feat, The Band, Semisonic, and others. Recently, in 2018, they opened for Edgar Winter at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest.
Although personnel have changed over the years, one thing has remained consistent, and that is the quality of Ballard’s songwriting. The current lineup, featuring Jeff “H” Harrington on bass, Dan Johnston on guitars, Matt Davies on keyboards, and Jeff Jara on drums, delivers the goods live, and Ballard performs at his best. On their latest releases, Built my World and Lathe of Heaven (Karmadillo Entertainment Recordings), the band showcases their folk rock and Americana roots as well as their pop sensibilities. The strength of the songs combined with the current lineup will make Alex Ballard and Sugarfoot a contender for your shortlist. Check them out!
Wire & Nail is a Rock N Roll band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wire & Nail formed in early 2017, when members of multiple Milwaukee bands bonded over their love of Outlaw Country and Classic American Rock N Roll. Like many of their influences, Wire and Nail strive to write and perform music that is genuine, enjoyable and unapologetic. They released their self titled EP in the Summer of 2017, which can be found everywhere music is sold or streamed. Wire & Nail is Phil Bregant, JT Gylland, Ryan Moran, and Cass Borgardt.
The Fainting Room (band): Lisa Ridgely, guitar and vocals; Sara Moilanen, bass guitar and vocals; Ryan Elliott, guitar and vocals.
Lisa Ridgely: A singer-songwriter who taught herself how to play guitar during her college years at UW-Milwaukee, Lisa continued to experiment with songwriting for a decade until she was inspired to face her fear of public performance and hit some open mics.
After performing her songs as a solo artist for a few years, Lisa decided to expand her sound with a backing band, The Fainting Room. It was a very wise choice.
$12 advance tickets available or $15 at the door