Music Miles

I have made it a tradition over the last two years to attend Oshkosh Irish Fest and Mile of Music. Amazing things have happened both years, but this year I had a blast now that I knew the specific artists I’d enjoy. Then there was the unexpected invite to the Smash Mouth-Sugar Ray-Blues Traveller concert at the Oshkosh Leach Amphitheater, thanks to my marketing job. P.S. Blues Traveller was amazing!

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Drinking McGuinness at McGuinness Irish Pub in Appleton before we take the shuttle to Oshkosh Irish Fest 2014.

Drinking McGuinness at McGuinness Irish Pub in Appleton before we take the shuttle to Oshkosh Irish Fest 2014.

At Irish Fest, I saw Gaelic Storm again and, while I wasn’t front row like the first year, I was carried to the stage and yanked aboard for Kiss me I’m Irish.

“I like my whiskey, and I love to dance!”

It was SO. MUCH. FUN! I didn’t stop dancing or singing until I was helped down from the stage. In the middle of the show, my friend and I screamed “Johnny Tarr!” until they heard us.

“Who’s yelling ‘Johnny Tarr’?” I began jumping as though I had the lucky lottery ticket. “That’s a God-awful song, we’re not going to play that!” The next song they played? Johnny Tarr. Just for me! I definitely had the luck of the Irish that night.

Standing with Patrick Murphy of Gaelic Storm during Oshkosh Irish Fest.

Standing with Patrick Murphy of Gaelic Storm during Oshkosh Irish Fest.

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Mile of Music 2 was enormous this year! I couldn’t believe how many venues there were and how many artists performed. Some of my favorites include Fly Golden Eagle, The Guilty Wanted, These Wild Plains, Bron Sage and, of course, Caroline Smith.

The loud, busy weekend of Mile of Music began Thursday night with Caroline Smith and Bron Sage. Before Caroline Smith’s show, I asked her to sign my vinyl record of her Half About Being A Woman album. If you haven’t heard her music, (which you should have if you read my blog) then you need to make an effort.

CarolineSmithCollage I decided to make it another tradition to get a picture with Caroline Smith every year. I love the music so much, I’ve considered going to every show in Wisconsin, if possible. A little treat to myself every now and then. She’s great for reminding you about Girl Power and Walking Off Strong! (Note: I’ve been going back to my childhood [90s] music this past year, and some of Caroline Smith’s music sounds like a very soulful version of the band TLC. I LOVE IT!)

I also met her adorable backup singers, Kendra (Vie Boheme) Dennard and Mina Moore. Vie Boheme made my day when she told me:

“You were giving us so much energy on stage, so thank you for that!” She was referring to my swaying and hip popping to the music. It’s impossible not to!

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FamilyCollageThere were so many amazing artists that filled the rest of the weekend, too. I would watch one band for a half hour and move onto the next. Friday and Saturday nights were a little crazy with long lines to get into venues and then it was so crowded that I’d stay for maybe a song or two and have to leave. It wasn’t until I discovered Fly Golden Eagle at Houdini Plaza that I decided I wasn’t going any where and, if anything, would be following that band around the rest of the evening. I watched their concert at Houdini and then followed up with them later at Chadwick’s Bar. Luke, our friend Mike and I ended the evening at our favorite venue, Deja Vu Martini Lounge. I won’t tell you how drunk I was by bar close because it was just embarrassing, but it was a wonderful time with great company nonetheless.

Marc Golde

Marc Golde and I reunite at his recording studio Rock Garden Studio.

One of the best parts about Mile of Music was getting to spend time with my dad. He’s the reason I know good music when I hear it. Speaking of which, my last Mile of Music 2 adventure was on Sunday evening when I met Marc Golde again for the first time in almost 25 years! When I was about 5 years old, I modeled for his first band’s album The Electric Bananas. Now I was meeting him for the second time in his very own recording facility Rock Garden Studios in Downtown Appleton.

He asked if I’d ever heard the story from that film shoot. I told him I hadn’t heard much, except that I remembered being afraid and shy about the camera.

“Well, yeah, you were shy at first, but once we got going you started running the show,” he said. NO WAY, I thought.

“One thing I do remember is the cover photo had been my idea,” I said. “I was really excited it made the cover!”

My dad chimed in, “I bet the best part was getting that teddy bear, huh?”

“Nope! The best part was what I got out of the deal: all three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle VHS’s!”

Hey, it’s the simple things in life.

Later my dad made a comment to my mom about how I must have been a creative artist even at that young of an age. Thanks for the compliment and huge smile, Dad!

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Over all, this summer has been filled with plenty of great music, fabulous company and great drinks. I feel so lucky to have the friends and family that I do who also appreciate art! Thank you to the creators of Mile of Music, Oshkosh Irish Fest and all those other music festivals constantly invading the Fox Cities during the warm months.

AudienceCollage

What are your thoughts?