Truly Independent

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Alex Tronson

local musicians have the freedom and technology to record and release on their own terms

Producing music was strictly a hobby for me in grade school. Something I could do to feel productive. Instead of parking in front of a television and playing “Mario Kart” for hours, I could channel my creative tendencies into something cool – something more exciting than piano lessons ...

Three Chords and a Dream

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Andrew Patrie

nothing else to do? well, form a band of course

Friday nights you could find us, a murder of magpies, flocked atop a bus bench, late enough for the routes to have stopped running, not yet late enough for curfew to make of us a curiosity, across from 2 S. Barstow Street. No longer a physical space today – and known in its last incarnation as the “mural building” ...

The Valley's Grammys

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Mike Seitz

locals who grab recognition in the industry

Eau Claire is an area bursting with local talent in the music industry. Whether you enjoy the sublime sound from a record or the energy of a live show, the quality of music Eau Claire offers is high. So high, in fact, that some of our own have been noticed on a national scale. ...

Off the Grid, in the Studio

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Tyler Griggs

the natural landscape makes the Chippewa Valley an attractive recording environment

We spend a lot of time talking about local musicians, but the studios and audio engineers who record our performers are critical to the music scene, too. The people behind the mixing boards at Chippewa Valley recording studios have great talent, but why is that? Perhaps there is something ...

Song After Song

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Andrew Patrie

scene veterans continue to shape the Chippewa Valley soundscape

As music scenes grow, musicians come and musicians go; however, certain acts and artists endure through the alchemy of timing, tenacity, and talent. They exhibit a certain quality, like fine wine or good literature, that distinguishes their sound from the rest, simultaneously ...

Symphonic Surplus

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Tom Giffey

how does the valley support so many orchestras? it's the fans

‘When you look around at a community of our size,” Nobuyoshi Yasuda observes, “they usually don’t even have one orchestra.” By contrast, the Chippewa Valley is home to more than half a dozen orchestral ensembles, some of which Yasuda – usually known simply as “Nobu” – conducts ...

Building Sound

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Rob Reid

before music can be made, someone has to make the instruments, and three local craftsmen are well known for their work

Few musicians make their own instruments and equipment. Even fewer make them for other musicians. The Chippewa Valley is home to three businesses whose owners, all musicians themselves, craft fine products for musicians throughout the world ...

Old Songs in Our Hearts

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Frank Smoot

musical threads are woven deep into the valley's history

When he was but a lad, my friend Noah Taylor asked the adults assembled, Wouldn’t your life be better if you had your own personal soundtrack? Why yes, Noah, yes it would. Fortunately for Eau Claire, its people have always had songs in their hearts, and I’m not talking about the downtown ...

Hearing Our History

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Barbara Arnold

from the Joynt to Fournier's, our ears are ringing with the memories of these classic local venues

“You had to be there to understand what it was like,” shares a former Eau Claire hourly high tech worker, who requested not to be identified, describing the live music scene in Eau Claire in the 1970s and early ’80s. “I’d leave my job at the end of my shift (midnight) and head straight to Water Street ...

It's Only 90 Miles

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Thom Fountain

many twin cities musicians have Eau Claire roots, but the road goes both ways

Alot of musicians have driven the stretch of Interstate 94 between Eau Claire and Minneapolis, sometimes on tour, but other times to move their lives and try their luck and their craft in a new locale with a new crowd. That’s what brought Drew Christopherson and Mel Gibson and the Pants to the Twin Cities in 2001 ...


Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Ken Szymanski

musicians who find success elsewhere still keep their hearts here

When musicians leave the Chippewa Valley, we wish them the best. Really, we do. But if they achieve success by leaving this place, what does that say about those left behind? That you can’t make it in Eau Claire? Justin Vernon’s success proved that this place is not a dead end. You don’t need to escape to a coast or a metropolis ...

Flugelhorns & Fishnets

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Scott Morfitt

the valley's musical traditions range from brass bands to rock 'n' roll decadence

The music tradition is built into the DNA of the Chippewa Valley. This is not meant to be a flip comment or an easy intro sentence to keep you reading through the next few paragraphs; it’s simply the truth. The more you dig into our music landscape and try to decipher what is a “little t” tradition ...

Tilt Your Ear to the Valley

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by BJ Hollars

a non-musical regular Joe finds his niche in the scene

There comes a time in every teacher’s life when one’s commonalities with one’s students becomes the wedge. When one learns that a line like, “You guys hear the new Phil Collins jam?” no longer holds the cultural cachet it once did ...

Underground Sound

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Eric Christenson

D.I.Y. house shows play a significant underground role in the development of new artists – and they're all ages

J ust a few blocks off the beaten path, Eau Claire’s house show scene is quietly making a ruckus. House venues and DIY spaces have long been a critical part of Eau Claire’s indie and hardcore scenes. For the past decade or more all over our city, driven and brave souls have opened up their living quarters ...

Setting the Stages

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Eric Christenson

different venues cover Eau Claire's musical moments

The ground from which our music scene grows can be sticky with spilled drinks, or carpeted underfoot. The walls can be adorned with ornate columns and patterns just as often as rock ’n’ roll paraphernalia. Our venues are more than a setting and a sound system; they’re the liaison between music ...

Supporting Acts

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Laura Lash

from vinyl shops to screen printers, businesses and individuals are crucial to musical success

We are all familiar with the philosophical posturing/party joke, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Many a musician will create music for the pure love of it and the need to express themselves in this language. More often, however, musicians are eager ...

Eau Claire's Buddy System

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Zack Katz

ultra-friendly music culture leans on collaboration

You’re in your childhood bedroom closet recording a new EP, rapping over your best friend’s beats – it’s on your own time, and that’s good because there’s not much money to throw around on studio fees anyway. That’s just how Sayth (Eric Wells), one of many local show hounds, has it in Eau Claire’s all for one ...

Celebrating Summer

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Lindsey Quinnies

when the weather warms up in the Chippewa Valley, outdoor music series proliferate with thousands of fans

Life in the north isn’t for the faint of heart. We endure lengthy winters and our summer skies are short-lived. Our northern lifestyle looks like toughness, but it’s not just being tough. We believe hard work leads to good times. Perhaps that’s why when the weather is beautiful, it’s truly beautiful to us here …

Less Tangible, More True

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Nick Meyer

exploring what we mean when we call the Chippewa Valley "Music Capital of the North"

Our theme issues are among the things we’re most proud of at Volume One. In recent years, these community-minded editions (in print and online) have included “Reinventing Our Streets” in 2010, “Rethinking Our Rivers” in 2012, and just last year, “Rebuilding Our Neighborhoods.” ...

Trepidation on the Trail

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015

by Dan Ingersoll

How do three late-middle-aged guys hike 30 miles? With a lot of second thoughts.

My buddy Gregg is sixty-something and has enjoyed backpacking since he was a young man. When he invited me to join him for a trip on the Superior Hiking Trail, which traces Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, I enthusiastically said “yes” while harboring some quiet reservations. He also invited a mutual friend, Don ...