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March 28, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm


One of the more prolific and hard-working young songwriters working in the Americana genre, JOHN STATZ has released seven studio albums, and performed all over North America (including Canada and Mexico) and Europe, all in just a shade over a decade. Throughout that time he’s been writing the kind of songs that float through your mind and stay nestled in your thoughts long after listening (American Songwriter) and it’s been said that his songwriting can stand beside the best and above the rest (No Depression). Along the way John has attracted the attention of the likes of Americana scene heroes Jeffrey Foucault and Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown), who separately produced his last two records. This latest is produced by fellow Denver songwriter Megan Burtt, whose instincts and backing band help bring forth an entirely new sound from Statz. The title of The Fire Sermon was taken from the third section of T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Wasteland, the name of which was borrowed from a sermon given by Buddha, in which he denounced the fires of passion, hatred, and infatuation with which the senses burn, according to Eliot’s endnotes. At the very end of the Fire Sermon section Eliot simply repeats, “Burning burning burning burning.”

John Statz was given a guitar by his grandmother when he was 15, which turned out to be perfectly timed for a teenager who, after ten years of piano lessons, had lost interest in classical music and had taken to learning John Lennon and Elton John tunes, first trying out his singing voice and turning towards rock and roll. Spending the rest of his high school years in southern Wisconsin attempting to play and sing like Neil Young and Cat Stevens, it wasn’t until Statz was 19 and attending university in Oshkosh that he began writing songs. The spark lit after attending a show at the storied Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin featuring Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey, who quickly became heroes, and, much later on, fast friends and colleagues. The first record, Dusk Came Slow, was engineered by a friend enrolled in the university recording program, and what followed for John has been 11 years of touring everywhere from Bellingham to Budapest, Fairbanks to Mexico City, all the while becoming a stronger songwriter, and a more compelling performer.

HAYWARD WILLIAMS is a veteran singer/songwriter from Milwaukee, WI. With six full length records under his belt, Williams is set to release his latest effort: Pretenders.  This record is yet another swan dive into the deep end of the Americana/Soul world that Hayward tends to reside in.

Growing up in Wisconsin in the 80’s and 90’s convinced Hayward Williams to search for something more out there in the world. Foregoing higher education, he joined a band and learned much about what to do and what not to do in the Midwest music scene. Playing in pubs for many years , getting thick skin and finding a notably sharp tongue, avenues opened up to Williams. Headlining European tours, major US festivals and a few trips to Australia later, Hayward has carved out an impressive niche in the folk music business.

Williams’ previous release, The Reef, was produced by venerated songwriter, friend and collaborator Jeffrey Foucault. Utilizing an impressive rhythm section of Billy Conway (Morphine) on drums and Jeremy Moses Curtis (Booker T, Levon Helm, Session Americana) on bass, The Reef is an unequaled Americana record with soaring vocals and hooks that dig in deep.

“The surprisingly soulful voice of Milwaukee-based singer/songwriter Hayward Williams emanates from a slight, almost unassuming figure, yet that voice is imbued with so much power, it’s difficult to imagine it coming from anywhere other than midway between Memphis and Muscle Shoals… The Reef is an album to return to again and again.” – Allan Wilkinson, Northern Sky Magazine (UK)

Pretenders was recorded in October of 2016 at Midwest Sound in Rockford, IL under a full moon and the care of Dan McMahon and Jeremy Koester. Hayward and J. Hardin would co-produced the album. Charles Koltak, who played drums on Williams’ Haymaker (2012) teamed up with Jeremy Moses Curtis in the rhythm section. Corey Matthew Hart of Madison, WI (Lost Lakes) would lend his talented voice and guitar work to the project during one late night session. Finally, Brooks Milgate would send his B3 performances in remotely from the east coast adding a layer to the project that would fit in with any Al Green classic.

Often dark, always honest and in the groove, Williams continues to break new ground in new traditional folk rock. There’s a ghostly spirit that floats through the songs on “Pretenders.” Williams is a wary caretaker of those spirits. His songs brim with the smoke and mirror lyricism of Leonard Cohen—with the rocker’s heart of Neil Young.” -Andy Moore ISTHMUS (Madison, WI)

Please call 920-563-9391 to reserve.


March 28, 2018
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm