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Midwest Music Showcase #6: MD Mcnally/Lakewaves/As Oak

March 10, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 11:30 pm

Midwest Music Showcase returns with MD McNally, Lakewaves and As Oak!

On Crimes, the new EP from heartland songwriter MD McNally, soaring folk nestles upalongside choogling big-sky blues and mesquite-smoked ballads. Each track feels comfortable in its own stylistic skin, yet they are all cut from the same fundamental cloth. Shimmering guitars dance like starlings over subtly urgent rhythms. Stackedvocals shout raw emotion over churning, fuzzy melody, all wrapped in a silken sheen ofecho. A concise, compelling listen, Crimes is eminently engaging.

The follow up to his debut solo LP The Marvelous – described by V13 as “a record of soft, psychedelic ballads and traditional heartland rock n’ roll – Crimes feels like thework of an artist who had clear intent from the projects’ inception. “I don’t think anyonewould consider The Marvelous an experimental record”, says McNally, “but it was anexperiment to me. For Crimes, I found some freedom knowing ahead of time howsomething I put in might sound coming out.” Writing away at home in Wauwatosa, WI, McNally soon had a dozen tunes completed.

From those, he chose the five that together presented the most dynamic and compelling listen. He did well, as Crimes unfolds with a natural, comfortable rhythm. McNallyproduced the record, with the help of recording and mix engineer Ian Olvera (LucindaWilliams, Trapper Schoepp). Olvera also co-produced the title track. Devin Drobka(Field Report) performed all drums and percussion, and Justin Perkins handled the mastering.

While Crimes feels like a natural progression from The Marvelous, the recordsimultaneously feels like it is an evolution in McNally’s skill as a songwriter. “I don’trecall having any kind of a breakthrough” McNally laughs, “but I definitely felt moreconfident when I performed during the recording sessions.” Additionally, Crimes bringsthe acoustic guitar to the forefront, which happens to be the instrument that McNally hasfocused on through his career.


Lakewaves Trio is a Madison-centric, groove-based jazz/rock trio that crafts celestial originals with an eclectic, progressive, soundscape-y instrumentalism that’s pretty much guaranteed to get an intense response from your local community no matter where you are – an abandoned factory in south Milwaukee, a Motel 6 in Pittsburgh or a quincanera in East LA. And like their offbeat, Galifianak(ian) song titles allude to, the experimental music creates a fitting soundtrack to anything from bank robberies, impromptu dance parties or other cinematic activities.

Led by Graham Marlowe, an eccentric Wisconsin-based keyboardist/pianist, “synthesizer graffiti artist” and instrumental solo artist (Lakewaves), the Trio likes to follow its unusually gratifying formula of adapting “solo Graham (i.e., Lakewaves)” material into dreamy tangentials, reinventing vocal and non-vocal covers into uniquely arranged instrumentals and spontaneously composing to the vibe of the rooms they play to, to create an infectious, futuristic ambience you can treat your ears to for hours.


Formed in 2017 in Milwaukee, WI; as Oak is a home brewed DIY bunch drawing on a wide range of musical influences. With a roster that spans across multiple generations, they are a group slowly grown together in time. A confluence.

Founding members Jesse Frye (vocals and guitar), Jason Hillesheim (keys and saxophone), and Blake Lorino (guitar) began making music together from their parents’ basements on a 4 track recorder while they were in high school. A decade later, that love of making music together was rekindled and the trio started playing small acoustic shows. As the ideas began to expand, so did the band. Sean Maroney (bass and harmonica) and his long time collaborator Christian Ricco (drums) joined in 2018 to complete the circle. The 5 piece released their debut ep, Dream, in early 2021. This was followed by the 2022 stand alone track, GoodLand. A love letter to their home town.

Their sophomore EP, LAKE HOUSE SESSIONS, was released in November of 2022. The project stemmed from a series of live sessions that took place in the living room of a small family home in Southeast Wisconsin. The group spent 3 days there with the intent of recording performances in an intimate environment. No set list. Just a plan to get in a room together and see what kind of magic they could find there. What they left with is an immersive experience. One that drops the listener into that room. Into the moment where the music was made. With improvised instrumentals, smooth saxophone laced grooves, and hauntingly beautiful story telling; these sessions felt too special not to share.

From stripped down solo sets to five piece performances, as Oak invites you to come meet them in the moment. To see, together, what kind of magic we can find there.


The Cooperage
822 South Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204 United States


The Cooperage
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