EC native tours globe, works with ex-Violent Femme
In 2011, Eau Claire native Brett Newski traveled Southeast Asia on his own, while writing music for his first LP. His tour included Thailand, Korea, and the Philippines. He then lived in Vietnam for two years doing odd jobs such as voice-overs and guitar lessons. “I like to see the different speeds of places.” Newski says. “It’s cool to see things from afar, outside of the U.S.” He’s played a variety of venues – from a Vietnamese convenience store to Hong Kong rooftops – and has done his fair share of couch surfing. Basically, Newski’s been all over the place. But despite his travels, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. He refers to himself as a proud Midwesterner, and can be seen wearing his old Eau Claire Regis jersey from time to time. Milwaukee is his current home base, where he has been collaborating with Vic DeLorenzo, ex-drummer from the Violent Femmes (also hailing from Milwaukee). “Working with Vic is easygoing,” Newski says. “Normally you’d have to go all the way to the studio ... but he’s right down the street. It’s great.” With a blend of folk, indie, and rock, Brett Newski’s music has been compared to that of Frank Turner, Jake Bugg, and Billy Bragg. “I like music that’s raw,” he says. “Not perfect, with human elements.” This is reflected in his work, which features mainly guitar and harsh vocals. His lyrics detail his travels and the struggles of everyday life in a way that’s relatable and simple, yet edgy. Newski’s touring schedule is rigorous. Last year he played 220 shows, and this year he’s still keeping busy. “It’s easy to get extremely rushed,” Newski says. “But I want to get the tough years out now while I’m still young.” Learn more at brettnewski.com.