Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We've relocated

We've moved into the 21st century and have moved the Valley Jams blog from Blogspot to our own server. Check it out here.

All the previous band profiles are there, along with daily updates from the Fox Valley entertainment scene.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On the Sly

This week's profile is on Sly Joe & the Smooth Operators. “Earthy soul with a funky stroll.” That’s how Sly Joe describes his music. He wrote much of music for this band while touring internationally and holding down musical residencies in Thailand and San Francisco over the last four years. All Smooth Operators either are or have been part of some of the most popular groups in the Fox Valley.

The band’s latest EP is “Your Lively Love,” which was recorded at Rock Garden Studio in Appleton and mastered by Michael Hateley (Madonna, Green Day, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Spongebob Squarepants) at Warner Bros. Music in Burbank, Calif.

Read more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cerebral with Slate

Mr. Slate has been making music for about six and a half years. Demaskie is the most recent addition, having been with the band for about a year and a half. Mike (Cookie) Karraker was the original drummer.

There’s no doubt that Mr. Slate rocks hard, but the band is not limited to the constant chugga-chugga-chugga riffing that constrains a lot of metal bands. Posselt said the most important governing philosophy behind the band’s music is unbridled diversity. If a song calls for a waltz intro, then the band will play it.

Read more.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A true work of Fiction

American Fiction, that is.

The heart of American Fiction is Ethan Cook, who was in many bands playing saxophone and guitar. He started teaching himself guitar in late 2001 but didn’t take it seriously until, during a song trade-off session at a friend’s house, he also found he could sing. He began composing songs, concentrating on lyrics and his voice, and soon began playing at venues such as the Appleton Public Library, Copper Rock Coffee and Harmony Cafe.

In the beginning, Cook played cover songs as he struggled to find his sound, but he discovered it when he wrote the first song from his new EP, “Lawyers (And Their Virility).” Coincidentally, he wrote the song about the same time he got into Otis Redding, Bright Eyes and Bob Dylan.

The five-song EP is titled “Devil’s Casino,” with the title track about manipulative card-playing devils. Other songs are about a miner’s wife cheating on her husband with a postal worker and other folky topics. Cook said some of the tunes have an underlying message that he hopes the listener will interpret hours after the songs are played.

Read more.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blues you can use

Bobby Evans needs no introduction to followers of the Fox Valley music scene. The band has been playing for more than 28 years; Bobby and brother Evil have played together since 1976. The band has played everywhere from Summerfest to funerals (twice).

“We have had 47 drummers since then,” Bobby said. “Go figure.”

Read more.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Check out Chelsea Z

Chelsea Z is a solo singer/songwriter who made her first public performance in September at an open mic at Harmony Cafe in Appleton. She’s been playing guitar seriously for about two years and writing lyrics since she was young.

Though she’s been playing guitar for a relatively short time, the bug bit her early.

“In my second grade class at Little Chute Elementary, they had a guest folk guitarist come in and from that day I decided that I wanted to play acoustic guitar and that desire always stuck with me,” she said.

Read more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The conglomerate that is Patchwork

This week's profile is on Patchwork, the rotating lineup of musicians surrounding songwriter Jeremiah Nelson. The group is about to release a six-song EP titled “Work and Worry,” which, according to a press sheet, “showcases the group’s finest tunes to date.

“Patchwork combines poignant folk insight, catchy grooves and indie braininess to form an affecting portrait of the human condition. Adventurous songwriting and jazz-tinged arrangements complement Nelson's point-blank vocals and Shawn Drake’s classical-meets-country wizardry.”

Read more.