Please celebrate them home

We’re having a little music festival here in Appleton, Wisconsin. Maybe you’ve heard.

Mile of Music, featuring over 100 artists performing in 40 venues over four days, opens August 8 and includes a wide range of musical genre from all over the country.

Best of all, it offers a chance for some of Appleton’s biggest music stars to come home, and for those of us who knew them when they sang old choral music at the stately Lawrence Chapel, or earnest love songs at coffee houses like Copper Rock, or rowdy rock at kitschy places like Cranky Pats, to nod proudly and say, “I knew it. I knew they’d make it even back then.”

Mel Flannery was a six-year old walleybird in a production of Hansel and Gretel when I first met her. Years later, I remember watching her senior recital and knowing that this kid was going to make it. Today, she’s lead singer for the Brooklyn based Mel Flannery Trucking, a group that will headline the festival.

I lost count of the number of times I saw Hillary Reynolds perform; often I sat next to her mother Trina Reynolds as we heard Hillary’s distinctive music echo through chapels, auditoriums and coffee houses. We both knew Hillary was destined for musical greatness and while, sadly, we lost my friend nearly two years ago, her daughter Hillary has developed a depth of voice and song that would have made her mother proud. The Boston-based Hillary Reynolds Band also will headline the festival.

One of the bands I’m most excited to see perform as part of this festival is the Austin based Tanya Winch and the Dirty Mercy. They know a little something about music festivals in Austin and I think it’s cool that the city is lending us one of its own for Mile of Music. But, also, I’m thrilled to see an artist who grew up just down the street from me and who has enjoyed an extensive music career that brought her from LA to Nashville come home.

There are plenty of ways to participate in Mile of Music, starting with purchasing the VIP pass, and I’d encourage you all to support this festival any way you can. But, I’d also like to suggest a way to support the artists who are performing in the festival.

I think we should all take some time to visit their websites, get to know their music and purchase their CDs. It takes a lot of money to support a band and the best way I know to raise that money is to invest in the music they create.

Buy their music and, in that way, you can celebrate these talented artists home.

Hillary Reynolds at Copper Rock
I snapped this shot of Hillary performing with the Hillary Reynolds Band the night I knew for sure that this band, which I had seen grow from a talented group of college musicians — all Berklee College of Music grads — into a world-class musical group, would make it. Hillary just returned from a tour of Ireland and Scotland.
Please support this cool festival in any way you can. How great would it be for Appleton to host a world class annual music festival?
Please support this cool festival in any way you can. How great would it be for Appleton to host a world-class music festival annually? Check out their well-designed website and, if you can’t make it to the festival itself, consider supporting the musicians playing in it by purchasing their music. It’s a win/win situation.
Sam Winch the Lullabadeer
Another group I can’t wait to see perform at the Mile of Music Festival is Sam Winch, the Lullabadeer. Currently an Appleton resident (and my very cool neighbor), he won’t have to travel far to perform, but he brings national experience and a unique voice to the stage. Check out his website for great music and a really unique collection of posters.
Mel Flannery Trucking
Somewhere, among my not-so-well-organized family photos, I have a picture of this talented artist as a tiny Olive Oil in a production of Popeye. She was a spunky, talented performer then and I’m looking forward to seeing Mel Flannery Trucking Co. now.
tanya winch
I took this shot of Tanya in a warm-up performance earlier this summer. Tanya is offering a special Mile of Music deal on her collection of CDs. She’s selling her latest CD Dirty Mercy, along with an EP she recorded with her brother Sam Winch and a choice of one of her previous CDs. That’s 3 CDs for $20 and that’s a great deal! Go to Mile of Music’s website for more information about these bands and pick up a CD or two. Think how much cooler this experience will be if you familiarize yourself with the music ahead of time. And, you’ll be supporting these great artists. See you on College Avenue!

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