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May 13, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm


ZAK TROJANO is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, a finger-style guitar player, a fly-fisherman, and a beer drinker. He watches more than he talks, the guy at the end of the bar nursing a drink while the afternoon light angles in, letting the conversation pile up around him like snowfall.

He grew up in New Hampshire, outside of town in a cabin built by his parents. His father was a drummer who held down a regular country gig, and nights after work he would loosen his tie and show his son the finer points of Ginger Baker and Elvin Jones. In New Hampshire they drove around in trucks, and Prine and Dylan cassettes showed up in most of those trucks. Zak made Eagle Scout, got his knots down. Then it was college and out, wandering the country from the desert Southwest to Great Plains until he ran out of money, washing windows to work up the bus fare home.

After a while it seemed like he ought to write some songs, and he did: heavy songs with a light touch; an AM radio throwback voice and an intricate finger-style technique framed by a drummer’s rhythm and sharpened by years of immersion in the work of players as various as John Fahey, Merle Travis, and Chet Atkins. In over a decade writing, recording, and performing music professionally – sharing studios and stages with his band Rusty Belle, or supporting touring acts like Chris Smither, Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault, and Peter Mulvey – Zak Trojano has evolved his own thing: a warm baritone paired with an old Martin guitar, floating above spare lines of cello and lap steel, horns and brushes, with a deceptively simple lyricism that on repeated listening shows that the fellow at the end of the bar doesn’t say much, but he’s worth hearing.

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.


May 13, 2018
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm