Mile of Music 2014 Preview – The Big Acts and More

Mile of Music 2014

It’s almost time for what has already become Northeast Wisconsin’s most anticipated music event.

Mile of Music kicks off it’s second year on August 7th.  Downtown Appleton will transform into an eclectic collage of singer-songwriters and independent bands.

So what can you expect at Mile 2?


Well for one thing – there will be more than 600 performances from more than 200 different artists. That’s pretty much double the music of the first year.

What’s great about Mile of Music is that you can enjoy it for free. You could certainly spend your weekend wandering the street and encountering whatever musicians happen to cross your path. But if you want to be absolutely sure you are going to be able to enjoy the performances you’re excited to see – the best thing to do is get a VIP Pass.

There are a lot of details surrounding this pass – so I suggest checking out the Mile of Music website. Basically, you get priority access to the top venues and biggest concerts –  including those held at Lawrence Memorial Chapel, and the first Mile of Music Jam, which will be a salute to Tom Petty at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel’s Grand Ballroom.

They’re calling the VIP Pass “the best way to experience Mile of Music” – and it certainly seems like an ideal option for serious music lovers.

6 of the Most Talked-About Bands at Mile of Music 2014

1. Autumn Defense

Fans of the band Wilco will want to make sure they catch The Autumn Defense in their Saturday evening performance at Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Their allmusic.com bio page explains their sound this way:

“Between noontime highs and slipping sunsets, the Autumn Defense create a sound which both embraces and resists the moods of autumn, and so defines their name”

The band features Wilco bassist John Stirrat as well as Pat Sansone who has also played with Wilco since teaming up with Stirrat. Described as a multi-instrumentalist duo – expect this pair show off their talents and close out the night in the most prestigious venue of the festival.

2. The Milk Caron Kids

The addition of The Milk Carton Kids was a pretty big announcement for Mile of Music.

They’re a a folk duo from California that are bound to remind a lot of people of some other folk music legends – Simon and Garfunkel. I’m sure Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan get that a lot – and I’m sure they take it as a huge compliment.

Fox Valley singer-songwriter Christopher Gold told WhooNEW these guys are on his can’t-miss list.

The Milk Carton Kids are scheduled to play Lawrence Memorial Chapel on Friday night.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, The Milk Carton Kids will not be performing due to vocal strain and doctor’s orders. Cory Chisel will be stepping in as the headliner for this event.

3. The Baseball Project

Here’s another band featuring members from familiar bands. The Baseball Project is what people call a supergroup – featuring established musicians who get together for a fun side project as friends.

Think – The Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

The Baseball Project features Steve Wynn and his wife Linda Pitmon on drums along with members of the band R.E.M. (Peter Buck and Mike Mills) as well as Scott McCaughey.

Wynn and MCaughey had the idea to form the band after talking at R.E.M.’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

They’ll be playing at Jones Park on Saturday night. And in case you were wondering – yes – they do actually sing songs about baseball. That includes a song about the ill-fate Major League career of Robin Yount’s brother, Larry.

4. The Record Company

In addition to well-known musicians, Mile of Music plays host to many emerging independent acts – like The Record Company out of Los Angeles.

This blues-based trio has been opening for acts like B.B. King and Buddy Guy – undeniable blues music legends. They’ve also played with classic punk rockers Social Distortion.

Catch The Record Company outside at Houdini Plaza on College Avenue during Mile of Music’s opening night.

5. Nikki Lane

Outlaw country is what this raven-haired crooner performs. Nikki Lane was at the first Mile of Music and is back for more.

It’s hard to think of many female artists who do the Outlaw Country thing – but Nikki Lane is doing it well. She’ll be singing in Jones Park early in the evening on Friday.

You’ll notice that the music video above features some stellar acting from a familiar face – Mr. Cory Chisel himself.

6. Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons

One of the great things about Mile of Music is the laidback feeling of friends hanging out making music.

Cory Chisel has made plenty of friends and he’s lured them to the Fox Cities to give Northeast Wisconsin a taste of real American songwriting.

You can certainly expect Cory to take the stage and share the microphone with many of the other Mile of Music acts. But will there be a big surprise again this year? The inaugural event brought Nora Jones to Appleton. However, rumors started leaking out far ahead of time. Perhaps this year their doing a better job of keeping things under wraps.

Unannounced celebrity appearances or not – there will be surprises at Mile of Music no matter what. Organizers call them “pop-up events.”  By the way – VIP Pass holders get special notifications about those events.

Of course,  there are a whole lot of Wisconsin bands including many Fox Valley performers. Wisconsin groups literally make up the majority of artists and the festival wouldn’t be nearly the same without them.

More Mile of Music Here on WhooNEW

Want to find out a little more about Mile of Music? Plus, check out our story from Mile of Music 2013 complete with a photo slideshow.

We’ve also written articles about other big acts coming to Appleton in August. Find out about returning artist Minnesota’s Caroline Smith in an article by music writer Zak Bruss. Last year, Zak also interviewed Chicago-based singer-songwriter Briar Rabbit who is the nephew of B.B. King.

Now we want to hear what you’re looking forward to most about Mile of Music. Leave us a comment below!

 

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