Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Mike O'Brien

photographer

Content By This Contributor:

Sound of Silence: Blue Ox Pulls Plug on 2020 Festival

dates set for 2021 gathering

V1 Staff, photos by Mike O'Brien

After doing their best to weather the pandemic by first holding a virtual event and then rescheduling their in-person festival to late August, organizers of the Blue Ox Music Festival have finally decided to ...

Rhythm Posse Presents: Stage Fright X

photos by Mike O'Brien

Stage Fright X took place at The Metro in downtown Eau Claire on Wednesday, November 27. This was the tenth annual recreation of the movie The Last Waltz, featuring Rhythm Posse ...

Opening Shot | Nov. 13, 2019

photos by Mike O'Brien

WHAT TIME IS IT? LOOKS LIKE IT'S DANCE-O-CLOCK. Sponsored by Leinenkugel’s, the new Driftless Series at the Pablo Center at the Confluence brought local favorites The Ben Shaw Band, LASKA, and Pit Wagon (shown here with a devoted fan) to the Jamf Theatre on Friday, Nov. 1 ...

Laska + Ben Shaw + Pit Wagon @The Pablo

photos by Mike O'Brien

Sponsored by Leinenkugel’s, the new Driftless Series at the Pablo Center at the Confluence brought local favorites The Ben Shaw Band, LASKA, and Pit Wagon to the Jamf Theatre on Friday, Nov. 1.

OXBEAUX III

photos by Mike O'Brien

Returning to downtown Eau Claire, The Oxbow Hotel's Oxbeaux III street concert added an extra day of live music in 2019, hosting some local favorites on Friday, August 9 in the hotel courtyard, and once again sprawling across a full block of Gibson Street on Saturday, August 10.

Blue Ox Music Festival 2019

photos by Mike O'Brien

The fifth annual installment of the Blue Ox Music Festival celebrated the best of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music right outside of Eau Claire, June 13–15.

Family-Friendly Fest-Going in 6 Steps

summer and music are synonymous — here’s how to make bringing the kids easier

Katie Larson, photos by Mike O'Brien

From the age of 7, I spent a better part of two weeks at the Milwaukee lakefront enjoying the big bands, enduring the blistering sun, surviving the afternoon thunderstorms, and outsmarting the traffic on the way home.

Family-Friendly Fest-Going in 6 Steps

Katie Larson, photos by Mike O'Brien

When I was growing up, summertime always meant one thing: music – lots and lots of live music. From a young age, my parents brought me to festivals, big and small. I sang with the bands in a sea of people, surfed picnic tables, hopped bleachers, and loved to stand ...

Opening Shot | May 1, 2019

photos by Mike O'Brien

PHONING IT IN. Musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, and clinician Grace Kelly was one of Jazz Fest 2019’s headliner acts (along with New York Voices), playing shows on both April 26 and 27 in the RCU Theatre at the Pablo Center at the Confluence, as well as leading clinics for student musicians ...

Eau Claire Jazz Fest 2019: The Headliners

photos by Mike O'Brien

The 52 Annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival drew many accomplished musicians into the heart of the city to perform and run clinics, including headliners Grace Kelly and New York Voices ...

Eau Claire Jazz Fest 2019: 52nd Street

photos by Mike O'Brien

On Friday, April 26, Barstow Street in downtown Eau Claire kicked off '52nd Street' – a favorite part of the city's annual Jazz Festival, produced by Eau Claire Jazz Inc. and UW-Eau Claire ...

WHYS Radio Presents Donna The Buffalo

photos by Mike O'Brien

Blending Cajun, reggae, folk, rock and jam, Donna The Buffalo takes roots to new heights. Dynamic and dance-able, their concerts are packed with energy soul and oneness. Touring for nearing 20 years ...

Good Times, Bad Art: A one-day music fest at the Pablo for locals, by locals

Eric Christenson, photos by Mike O'Brien

‘We are the musicians, the performers, and the appreciators of the Chippewa Valley music scene. And this is our festival.” That lines comes near the end of a promo video (see below) for the upcoming Bad Art Music Festival, which will take place in the Jamf Theatre at the Pablo Center Nov. 23 ...

Blue Ox Music Festival 2018

photos by Mike O'Brien

The fourth annual installment of the Blue Ox Music Festival celebrated the best of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music right outside of Eau Claire, June 14–16.

Get Your Dancing Shoes Ready for the Hullabaloo!

Chippewa Valley Family & Prevea offer music series

V1 Staff, photos by Mike O'Brien

For three Saturday mornings this summer – during the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market and the Artist Market of Eau Claire – Chippewa Valley Family will host FREE live music on the Phoenix Park labyrinth ...

Blue Ox Unleashes 2018 Lineup

Eric Christenson, photos by Mike O'Brien

For its fourth year, the Blue Ox Music Festival is back with a loaded lineup of rootsy greats to come play some tunes in the pine and hardwood forests just outside of Eau Claire. Hosted by Minneapolis band Pert Near Sandstone ...

Opening Shot | July 26, 2017

photos by Mike O'Brien

The House of Rock on Water Street closed its doors after 17 years of live local music with a massive “Last Call” show – a two-night affair (July 21 and 22) with 27 bands giving the venue a proper send-off. Above: Guitarist Matt Florence performs with The Nicotines, who reunited to rock one last time on the House of Rock stage.

MEGA PHOTO SET: Last Call at the House of Rock (Updated)

photos by Mike O'Brien, Donna Pullman, James Falkofske, Renee Rudi, Svea Trzebiatowski, Threasa Meyer, Trenity Weiß

The House of Rock on Water Street in Eau Claire closed its doors after 17 years of live local music with their massive "Last Call" show – a two-night affair (July 21 & 22) with 27 bands giving the venue a proper send-off ...

Blue Ox Music Festival 2017

photos by Mike O'Brien

The third annual installment of the Blue Ox Music Festival celebrated the best of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music right outside of Eau Claire, June 8–10.

5 Huge Local Festivals Bring the Heat With Musical Greats

V1 Staff, photos by Mike O'Brien, Luong Huynh

Bluegrass, for being a somewhat niche genre, has a passionate, open, and fun-loving audience all over the globe. So it’s no surprise that the Blue Ox Music Festival, now in its third year, is quickly gaining fiery support in the area and reverberating across the country as one of the best ...

Blue Ox Festival 2017 Pre-Party

photos by Mike O'Brien

On Thursday, May 18th a special evening with the music of Blue Ox Music Festival took place at The Lismore Hotel. Featuring Sam Bush, Pert Near Sandstone, Dead Horses, and Them Coulee Boys.

Pit Wagon CD Release @The Venue

photos by Mike O'Brien

On Saturday, May 20 Pit Wagon's vinyl release show with spoken word from Mike Danielson and tunes from Zach Hoff took place at The Venue. Ben Lester and Mike Noyce, who played some tracks on the record, were also sitting in.

LazyLightning420 @The Mousetrap

photos by Mike O'Brien

The guitar player from Too Many Banjos and the mandolin player from Trampled by Turtles join forces to form LazyLightning420 – and they played at the Mousetrap in downtown Eau Claire on March 10.

Marcia Ball @The Lakely

photos by Mike O'Brien

At The Lakely in downtown Eau Claire on Sunday night, March 5, Chef Nathan Berg prepared aa five-course dinner to pair with nationally-touring sensation Marcia Ball and her band ...

Big Bluegrass for Blue Ox 2017

Eric Christenson, photos by Mike O'Brien

The lineup for the third annual Blue Ox Music Festival was released this morning, and it definitely keeps up its trend of curating one of the finest roots and bluegrass festivals in the country amongst the pine trees ...

All That Jazz

public TV documentary highlights EC Jazz Festival

Tom Giffey, photos by Mike O'Brien

I have an embarrassing confession to make: Despite having lived in the Chippewa Valley for more than 16 years, I’ve never attend the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. I don’t have a good excuse ...

Phil Cook at The Lismore

photos by Mike O'Brien

At a special, limited capacity show to celebrate the start of the 2016 Eaux Claires Music & Arts festival, Phil Cook brought a unique version of his latest project “Southland Revue” to perform with collaborators of this year’s fest – at The Lismore Hotel ...

Blue Ox Music Festival 2016 (Mega Photo Set)

photos by Mike O'Brien, Kelsey Smith

The second annual installment of the Chippewa Valley's new three-day outdoor music festival celebrated the best of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music right outside of Eau Claire on June 9–11.

2016 Summer Music Schedule

all the wheres and whens for summer music in the Chippewa Valley

James Johonnott, photos by Mike O'Brien

The Sounds Like Summer Concert Series is Volume One’s Thursday night gig in downtown Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park. Local bands play to crowds each night on the banks of the Chippewa ...

Renowned Musical Teamwork

Sue Orfield teams up with Ellen Whyte for CVCTV show

Eric Christenson, photos by Mike O'Brien

Eau Claire’s Sue Orfield has worked with Grammy-nominated musician Ellen Whyte since the two met in 1998. Whyte is from the west coast, but she and Orfield still make it a point to do a tour every year, this year being the ninth annual tour together. Whyte is a blues and soul singer ...

Blue Ox Music Festival 2015 (Mega Photo Set)

photos by Mike O'Brien, Luong Huynh

The Chippewa Valley's new three-day outdoor music festival celebrated the best of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music right outside of Eau Claire June 11–13. Featuring performances by ...

Michael Perry & The Long Beds @Sue Orfield Show

photos by Mike O'Brien

On Thursday, May 14, the Sue Orfield Show filmed an episode featuring Michael Perry and the Long Beds at The Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls. The Sue Orfield Show airs on Chippewa Valley Community Television and online.

Eau Claire Jazz Fest 2015 - Friday

photos by Anna Mateffy, Mike O'Brien

A sampling of photos from the Eau Claire Jazz Festival at the State Theater and the various 52nd Street venues downtown on Friday, April 17.

The Last Waltz Again

local musicians come together for annual tribute to The Band

Tshego Tee Letsoalo, photos by Mike O'Brien

On Thanksgiving Day in 1976, seminal roots rock outfit the Band hosted their farewell concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The show featured a line-up of the era’s most prolific musicians ...

The Whyte Orfield Band @The Plus

photos by Mike O'Brien

The Sue Orfield Band teamed up with national blues artist Ellen Whyte on Friday, October 17 at The Plus.

7th Annual Blues on the Chippewa

photos by Mike O'Brien

Each year numerous musicians and music lovers from all over the country gather in Durand's Memorial Park for the Annual Blues on the Chippewa. Blues on the Chippewa provides supplemental funding for the Pepin County Food Pantry & Brent Titus Music f

Holy Snowshoes, Eau Claire!

Allison Puestow, photos by Mike O'Brien

I know we’re pretty sick of snow by now, and the mere mention of the word is becoming forbidden, but bear with me for a moment, because this is pretty exciting. The United States Snowshoe Association has chosen Eau Claire to host ...

4th Annual Stage Fright tribute to The Band, The Last Waltz

photos by Mike O'Brien

On Wednesday, November 27 at Pizza Plus the Rhythm Posse presented the 4th Annual Stage Fright, which is a tribute to The Band, The Last Waltz and the recreation of the movie "The Last Waltz". A donation of $5 went to Feed My People.

Decadent Cabaret 2013: Friday Night

photos by Mike O'Brien

The Eau Claire House of Rock hosted the city's largest local music festival, Decadent Cabaret 2013, across February 28, March 1, and March 2 – with area artists and bands doing cover sets on all three nights. These shots are from Friday, March 1.

Nuthin' But Cash 2013

photos by Mike O'Brien

The 2nd annual "Nuthin' But Cash" featuring over 25 area musicians performing their renditions of Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and Roseann Cash songs to benefit the non-profit organization Blues on the Chippewa took place on Sunday, February 17 at

Here Comes the Cabaret

Thom Fountain, photos by Mike O'Brien

The air seems to get a little more energetic around the end of February as bands around the Chippewa Valley start channeling their favorite musicians in preparation for Decadent Cabaret. The three-day festival – in its 34th year – showcases ...

Vernon and the Blues

Shouting Matches return to play Coachella 2013

Thom Fountain, photos by Mike O'Brien

Possibly the most mysterious of Justin Vernon’s array of endeavors, side projects and appearances may see a bit more light this year. The Shouting Matches – the drunken, bluesy duo that has stayed the most local of any of Vernon’s groups – will be...

The Shouting Matches return to play Coachella 2013

Thom Fountain, photos by Mike O'Brien

Possibly the most mysterious of Justin Vernon’s array of endeavors and side projects and appearances may see a bit more light this year. The Shouting Matches – the drunken, bluesy duo that has stayed the most local of any of Vernon’s groups ...

Opening Shot | Nov. 29, 2012

photos by Mike O'Brien

For the third year in a row, Billy Angell organized Stage Fright: A Tribute to The Last Waltz – The Band’s legendary Thanksgiving Day concert from 1976, starring a cast of area musicians.

Stage Fright 3 (2012)

photos by Mike O'Brien

For the third year in a row, local keyboardist and music scene veteran Billy Angell organized Stage Fright: A Tribute to The Last Waltz – The Band’s legendary Thanksgiving Day concert from 1976, starring a cast of Chippewa Valley musicians ...

Lust for Blues V

photos by Mike O'Brien

Held on Sunday, March 11, this year's Lust for Blues benifit for the Chippewa Valley Blues Society featured Mary Cutrufello, Howard "Guitar" Luedtke, and Ross William Perry.

Decadent Cabaret 2012, Friday Night

photos by Mike O'Brien

Friday, March 2 saw one of the 2012 installments of Decadent Cabaret at the House of Rock. It was the second night of Eau Claire's longest-running locally-focused rock music festival, notorious for landmark moments and phenomenal performances ...

How are teachers trying to salvage music education?

Lauren Kurkowski, photos by Mike O'Brien

After the controversial shake up of Eau Claire School District music teachers a few years back – shuffling teachers from long-established programs into different schools and letting some people go – we all wondered about the future of local music ...