Wrenclaw – Red Rock Saloon Madison – 08/13/2015 – Isthmus Brews And Bands

Cindy surprised me with a night out to see some live music. She read about The Isthmus Brews And Bands show. A traveling music show that provides beer. Free!


This time around they were at The Red Rock Saloon downtown.

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The band was Wrenclaw. The beer… Leinenkugel’s. Tickets were free just for registering.

I’d never been to the Red Rock Saloon. It is definitely decorated for the country scene. There is a mechanical bull there. They do get props for having a great Johnny Cash graphic though.

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We arrived and got a wristband with 2 drink tickets attached. I was starving and we ordered food, which was very good. Great burger. The free beer went down good too. The following picture works for our “we were there” shot too.

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The band came onstage and started doing soundcheck. The sound was good and we had a good spot to view them from.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect and I assumed it would be honky tonky or super country based on the location and feel in the room. I mean there was a mechanical bull and wagon wheel lights in there, but immediately I was pleasantly surprised at what I was hearing.

The mix was good, props to the sound guy, and the vocals were clear the instruments were mixed great. The sound was what I would call down home rock. Country tinged but rocking with great soloing and a really laid back feel. They opened with “Lonesome Town”. They were playing against the Packer game on the screen to the right of the stage. Even they were checking it out. They did a song called “Pinecone” about the truck stop between Madison and Milwaukee that I have passed about a million times. That was hands down my favorite song of the night. The music was really good. For a random shot in the dark that Cindy picked for us, it was a winner.

Dan Walkner, the lead singer/guitarist looked comfortable and like he was enjoying himself onstage, jamming and soloing great. He played slide too. I think it was the first time I have seen some slide live. I was really digging it.

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Everybody on stage was tight, and the other guitarist took some great solos and a vocal too. The bass player was cool and silently grooving as all bass players do. I always get a kick out of bass players. From my vantage point I couldn’t catch much of the drummer, but everyone worked well together. They had a very clean sound.

I tried to get some better pictures but I had forgotten my compact camera and had to use my phone. The entire stage was bathed in a horrid red light which made the pictures look like a scene from Carrie.

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but… I did get the drummer and the percussion guy in a shot from stage front.

During the show Dan mentioned that they had CD’s and vinyl for sale, and at the break I came up and asked about it. He went to a small suitcase and retrieved an album for me. He said it was $15 and I gave him a twenty and told him to keep it (I support the arts!) but he went back to the suitcase and pulled out a CD and told me “take this too then” and that it was he and his father.

The album had “Lonesome Town” and “Pinecone” on it!

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White label. Awesome. I like the cover art too. Great picture. I listened to the album the next morning and loved “Pinecone” all over again. I remembered “Early Morning Rain” from their show too. The album was a perfect choice. Plus there was a digital download card included. Not sure where you can pick up this vinyl elsewhere, but if you are at a show, it is worth picking up.

The CD turned out to be very cool as well. It is just Dan and his father William.

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It was recorded at The Roxbury Tavern. I used to work with people who went there all the time. More local stuff. Cool.

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They do “Lonesome Town” together on here. “Old Gray Cat” is a great track too. I’m not gonna get all melodramatic, but it must be cool to have a CD with his father. What a great memento of that Father’s Day. The acoustic set is intimate and it has a real mellow and smooth sound. I really like it. It was a nice way to look at the music of Wrenclaw and the music that influenced Dan and his songs. The combination of album and CD was perfect.

Thanks for including the CD in my purchase!

Go out and see Wrenclaw if they come around, have a beer and enjoy.


    1. The show was cool and the record is awesome. I see you listed as Engineer and Mixer. Great job. Lonesome Town, Pinecone and Early Morning Rain are standouts. Thanks for the kind words and comment Brian. Michael

    2. P.S. Thanks for not burying the vocals. That is my biggest pet peeve about a lot of music I hear these days. I never had a chance to thank an engineer/mixer before. So… Thank you! Michael

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