Grupo Fantasma – “El Raton”

The headliner for “Don’t Mess With Texas” night at the Central Park Sessions was Grupo Fantasma from Austin. They’re in the Austin TX Music Hall of Fame, they’ve won a Grammy and their music has been featured on the TV shows Weeds and Breaking Bad. This was the second time I’ve seen Grupo Fantasma. They bring great energy to their shows and their music never fails to get women dancing which is always a good thing!

Grupo Fantasma


J C Brooks & The Uptown Sound – “Everything Will Be Fine”

I’ll finish my review of this year’s Orton Park Festival with J C Brooks & The Uptown Sound. They’re from Chicago and played on Saturday night. I thought they were OK, not great. J C Brooks sings well and their Soul tunes are the best things they do. I do like this video though for one of their songs, “Everything Will Be Fine.” Watch and listen and decide for yourself.

J C Brooks & Uptown Sound

Josh Harty Band – “You & I”

A big highlight for me from the Orton Park Festival was the Josh Harty Band on Saturday. Rain pushed his set back a couple hours but Josh Harty is one of the best singer/songwriters out there so the wait was worth it! This video is from a show I was at couple years ago at the High Noon Saloon in Madison WI. Josh Harty’s new release is called “Nowhere.” Check it out here.

Josh Harty Band

Pimps Of Joytime – “The Jump”

I mentioned that this year’s Orton Park Festival was smaller in that they didn’t book the bigger acts like in past years. Overall, it resulted in lower attendance but a good crowd came out on Sunday to see The Pimps Of Joytime. The Pimps are a band that calls Brooklyn and New Orleans home. They incorporate Afrobeat, Latin, Reggae and Funk and they brought it all on Sunday. This is an excellently produced video which will give you a good taste of their sound.

Pimps Of Joytime


Dirty Dozen Brass Band – “Blackbird Special”

The Orton Park Festival, Madison’s oldest neighborhood music festival, was held this past weekend. This year’s festival was downsized a bit but the real star is always Orton Park, a beautiful setting with 150 year old Burr Oak trees. There were some musical highlights too. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band headlined on Saturday night. They’ve been around for 30 years with different members moving in and out but their music still sounds fresh. This video is from their appearance at New Orleans Jazzfest last year.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Ziggy Marley – Live!

I talked about the Central Park Sessions in Madison WI and I’ll be posting more artists who appeared there. But another free music series has been Live on King Street, a series of Friday night street shows produced by the Majestic Theatre. The biggest, most enthusiastic crowd showed up for Ziggy Marley. Yeah, that’s right, he played here for free! And several Ziggy followers told me it was one of his best shows in a long time! I like to post something longer on Fridays for folks to play over the weekend. Here’s a Ziggy Marley live show with some great sound. We’re running out of summer weekends – enjoy!

Ziggy Marley


Jon Dee Graham – “Big Sweet Life”

Last Thursday, the final Central Park Sessions theme was “Don’t Mess With Texas.” One of the artists I’ve wanted to see was Jon Dee Graham from Austin. He’s been named Austin Musician of the Year and has played with John Hiatt, James McMurtry, Michelle Shocked and Alejandro Escovedo among others. His work with Escovedo in the True Believers is considered seminal in the development of Cowpunk, a subset of alternative country. Wisconsin Brewing Company’s brewmaster, Kirby Nelson is a Jon Dee Graham fan and he picked “Big Sweet Life” as the name for his Maibock. The beer’s as good as the song!

Jon Dee Graham