“Better to light a candle (or lamp) than to curse the darkness.” ~Chinese Proverb


There will be plenty of string-pulling around here this weekend, so don’t make us pull any more to get you to come hear some fine music.

Friday night December 5 Madison’s BIG BANG STRING THING will take over the stage. Energetic, contagious, and flat out fun, BBST weaves a sizzling thread through multiple genres to deliver a tapestry of award-winning original music. Veteran musicians BOB WESTFALL, MARY GAINES, and CHRIS WAGONER can electrify acoustically.

Saturday night December 6 the NEW PIONEERS play. This five piece bluegrass ball of fire and string featuring vocals, banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass and mandolin appears here regularly on the 2nd Thursday of the month, but about once a year, in December, we deign to give them a weekend gig. Its various members have been involved with traditional music locally, regionally, and nationally for many years, and they keep on pleasing so we keep having them back.

If you are around Fort during the day Saturday, come check out our Winter Farmers and Art Market in 5 locations downtown, all on or just off Main Street south of the bridge. *Soulful Toad *Soap & Pepper *Jonas Office Building *Vermillion (downstairs) *First Congregational Church . Shop ’til you drop some money to support our local artists and foodies.

Next week begins the winter madness known as the Lamplighter Sessions, the brainchild of madman PETER MULVEY. They are done in the half round with three to four musicians, one of them usually being Peter Mulvey, rotating songs & stories and musicianifying and magicianifying together.

Peter Mulvey explains it thus:

“People, this is the heart of what I do. I love to get musicians together and to play music in its raw, conversational form. To listen, to jump in without knowing exactly what comes next, to be surprised and enlivened. This is the holy grail for me: to play music as though it’s happening offstage, for pure joy and discovery and communication between friends and strangers. And over the past decade or so, first in the winter at my hometown Cafe Carpe, and then over the past three years at my home-away-from-hometown ClubPassim, I’ve found a way to tease this kind of offstage music into an onstage situation: The Lamplighter Sessions. It changes every year, but then, don’t we all? Trust me, you should get to one of these shows if you can. Lightning will strike.”

Search the website for details of each night, and reserve seats (new system through Brown Paper Tickets) if lightning striking appeals to you. The Redbird shows on December 17 and 19th sold out quite awhile ago. Some others are moving in that direction.

People who want tickets to the sold out shows have been posting comments on the Brown Paper Ticket site for those events. If you cannot use your tickets, check out those messages.

There are some great shows between Christmas and New Year’s as well.

We do not have a plan for New Year’s Eve yet, but you can count on us to come up with something compelling for you as you quietly put the old year to rest and usher in the new one, so don’t make any bold plans yet.