The Fall Art Tour: Immersed in Wisconsin art in-the-making, and the gorgeous splendor of the Driftless region


Traveling companion Ann Peterson takes in the gloriously expansive vista from the property of Dodgeville artist Lauren Thuli. All Photos by Kevin Lynch, except as noted.

MINERAL POINT — Our car wended over and under the undulating curves of the Driftless region of Southwestern Wisconsin as we began the adventure of searching out artists studios nestled in picturesque nooks of the landscape. The term “driftless” murmurs ancient mystery and geological fact: a region virtually untouched by flattening glaciers during The Ice Age. The region also lacks the characteristic glacial deposits known as drift.

Ann Peterson and I had embarked on this season’s Fall Art Tour, the first time I had partaken in this since moving from Madison back to Wisconsin’s East Coast over a decade ago. 1


What a rewarding choice. Our very first stop reaffirmed the hoary adage that the greatest artist of all is Mother Nature. Not yet having my camera cued up, I can’t do justice to the two artists sharing the studio space of this first stop, Lauren Thuli and her brother James Koconis, two friendly artists adept at degrees of abstraction in oil painting. Lauren was especially accommodating, demonstrating to us how she blends beeswax and oil paint to get the particular tonal and textural effects that distinguish her abstract impressionist style.

But the key to this visit’s experiential climax was a sign outside their rural Dodgeville studio, shaped in an arrow, adorned with the words “spectacular view.” Down a slight slope several Adirondack chairs stand near the edge of an outcrop. When we walk to that edge, half of this part of the world seems to unfold expansively before our eyes, a stereo-visual effect, like the Biblical Red Sea parting before us. The land flows across our eyes in breathtakingly sumptuous waves, bursting with greenery turning golden. It allows us to feast on the magnitude of autumn glory in a full 180° spectrum. These first three photos (above and below) attempt to capture that in (left to right) sequence.

This seemingly ageless tree on the property near the previous vista location, typifies the abundance of amazingly mature, sometimes gigantic, old trees in the Driftless region. Note the width of this trunk by seeing the people standing beside it.

We were struck by the maturity of the trees in the region, and the buildings, for that matter. The Art Tour is a bit like taking a Time Machine travel back to the 19th century, when so many of Mineral Point buildings were erected. The town was was settled in 1822 by Cornish miners, a couple decades before Wisconsin achieved statehood. It’s among the oldest towns in the state.

Yet the time machine analogy only goes so far, as most of the artists are clearly 20th- and 21st century-style and beyond. 2 The most vivid example of the latter, among those we visited, is John Walte, in Dodgeville.

Entering his studio I spied a realistic image across the room and said, “Is that Edgar Allan Poe?”

“Yes, that’s Poe but that’s NOT my artwork!” a disembodied voice called out. The image was a reproduction poster which The Voice seemingly likes for the tragic drama of Poe’s life and the spectral magic of his writing. The Voice wasn’t the Wizard of Oz, it was somebody a bit wizardly but much smarter than that lovable but bumbling movie character. He was digital artist John Walte, hidden in an alcove created largely by computer towers and terminals.

When I found him and expressed interest in his digital art, Walte’s eyes lit up like a wired video-game demon, and he launched into a mind-bending discussion of how such artwork plays out as an inquiry into perception, cognition, illusion and physics. That hardly does justice to Walte’s heady soliloquy (with a few nudges from me) but I wasn’t taking any notes on this trip, nor recording anything aside from photos, for this photo essay.

His partner, painter Pamela Callahan, has un upstairs studio that I enjoyed in slightly different terms. Some of her work reminded me of a more lyrical, colorful, gestural abstraction of Philip Guston’s primitivist late style. But this is a photo essay so I’m minimizing my commentary…

John F. Walte is a brilliant, scientifically-gifted artist who specializes in cutting-edge digital art. And at a drop of a hat, he’ll tell you all about the abstruse theories and realities underlying his creative exploration.

Apologies for this crooked photo of a John Walte digital artwork. But that angle sort of accentuates the mind-bending, trippiness of his digital dreamscapes and futuristic auras. This piece is titled “Pseudo Kleinian Mod 2  v 4.0.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

Pamela Callahan in her studio with her 360-degree painting column.

Three motifs of a new Pamela Callahan painting in genesis.

Classic fall harvest scene outside the Walde/Callahan art studios, in Dodgeville, located along Otter Creek, at

A hint of Stonehenge in the ruins of an ancient stone granary built in 1876 on the property of ceramicist Carol Naughton in Dodgeville.

Ceramic artist Carol Naughton in her studio display area. I purchased the fourth plate from the right, on the table beside Carol (see also below).

The sun sets on our first day of the Fall Arts Tour, outside the Carol Naughton studio, near Dodgeville.

The barn ruins at the Naughton Studio set the clock backwards again and having returned to Mineral Point for the evening, time seemed to reverse itself again. Among many buildings in Mineral Point that have survived generations since the 19th century is the repurposed Mineral Point Hotel, where we stayed. The hotel owners have transformed it into a wonderfully eclectic blend of Victorian, art-deco and French decor. Ann called it her favorite hotel, ever. (See photos below) Then walking back to the hotel, from our Italian dinner at Popolo, a nearby restaurant, she declared this “the most romantic trip we’ve ever taken.” OK, we’ve never been to Europe. But no doubt, there’s something magical about the Fall Art Tour in Southwest Wisconsin.

The Mineral Point Hotel where we stayed, is utterly charming, even transporting.

A view of dusk through a window in our room at The Mineral Point Hotel.

A feature of our Mineral Point Hotel room was this small attached balcony, elegantly overlooking the street and the staircase inside. I spent some sleepless time reading in the balcony Saturday night. Among the balcony’s details were four oversize black ceramic chess pieces on the deep window ledge.



Artist Diana Johnston throws the umpteenth clay bowl of her long career, at Brewery Pottery, a limestone former brewery building in Mineral Point, now an artists studio and retail art and gift shop.
Comical pewter pet refrigerator magnets in the Brewery Pottery gift shop.
Brewery Pottery’s large kiln (at left) for firing ceramics.

Built in 1850, the original Mineral Point brewery building was hit by a tornado in 1878. That may account for this exposed brickwork in the back of Brewery Pottery’s current kiln and firing room, in background (reverse view of previous photo).  

Tucked away in a quiet Mineral Point neighborhood is humble, affable but gifted artist Clyde Paton. Here he displays his India ink rendering of the studio of the noted Mineral Point ceramic sculptor Bruce Howdle, who died a few years ago.
Clyde Paton prompted a brief search on Howdle’s online legacy. His work often grew to epic scale relief murals.
I recall him from my last Fall Art Tour trip here, too long ago, so I end with another quick “Time Machine” reverse gear to honor that artist.
Though his Bruce Howdle Studios Facebook page still lists 1K followers, I’m uncertain if Howdle’s studios are still open in any capacity.
The late Bruce Howdle working on one of his ceramic murals. His Mineral Point studios also offered pottery throwing classes (with part of a Howdle mural visible in upper part of that photo.(above). Photos courtesy Bruce Howdle Studios.
1 The annual October art tour encompasses four nearby towns — Mineral Point, Dodgeville, Baraboo, and Spring Green, allowing a tour of the stunning autumn landscape as you search for artists studios throughout the region. The tour brochure has a detailed map. We relied mostly on virtual navigator “Siri.”
For more information on the 2022 Fall Art Tour visit their site, and plan ahead for next fall:
It’s a romantic, adventurous gift with a special someone, or for anyone wanting to enjoy Wisconsin’s natural and artistic bounty.
2 We sampled a only small portion of the tour’s studios. Among the four towns, there were 49 studios open for visitors.

The Atlantic’s own editor-in-chief explains why it is my favorite magazine

The cover of the print edition of the November 2022 The Atlantic. Courtesy The Atlantic

Not long ago, I said to a friend who, like most people today, does most of his reading online, that The Atlantic is the last magazine I would still subscribe to, if all others fell to the wayside by choice or circumstance.

I don’t normally tout publications per se in this blog, but The Atlantic has been my favorite for quite a long time, and now it’s editor has written a piece in the November issue that helps to explain why it is worthy of being a person’s favorite.

Much of this has to do with the publication’s storied history, having been born as an abolitionist magazine shortly before the Civil War. But current editor Jeffrey Goldberg opens his piece called “The American Idea” with an 1861 letter from Julia Ward Howe, expressing her melancholy and insecurities to the editor at the time. The editor, James T. Fields, was wise enough not to touch the copy of the poem she submitted with her letter. He gave it a title and published “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” on the first page of the February 1862 edition. “(Howe received, in return, a $5 freelance fee and immortality.)”, Goldberg adds drolly.

He goes on to point out that The Atlantic, in its 166th year of continuous publication, also published for the first time, “Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and the first chapters of W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk, Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, and Rachel Carson’s meditations on the oceans, and Einstein’s denunciation of atomic weapons, and so on, ad infinitum.”

Further, The Atlantic‘s founding mission statement (reproduced in Goldberg’s article) was signed by various luminaries including Ralph Waldo Emerson, who appeared in the first issue; Oliver Wendell Holmes, who came up with The Atlantic‘s name; Nathaniel Hawthorne, who would become the magazine’s Civil War correspondent; Herman Melville (Moby-Dick), and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin), America’s most popular author at the time.

Goldberg’s only expressed regret about that time is that, given that Moby-Dick is his favorite American novel, that  Melville never found a way to contribute. That would be my sentiment exactly regarding Melville, who ended up publishing short pieces for Harpers, another long-time American magazine.

I have many reasons why the current magazine is my favorite, partly for it’s intelligence, it’s allegiance to no group, party or clique, and its cultural and political range. “We always try very hard to be interesting. That is a prerequisite,” Goldberg explains.

They succeed, too, which is why, even though some stories are long “thumbsuckers,” they almost invariably hold my interest and, if I don’t finish them, it’s my failing.

Here is Goldberg’s introductory article in the latest issue in full:

p.s. As for your blogger, I submitted an article once — about Wisconsin guitar innovator Les Paul, Bob Dylan and Michael Bloomfield — to The Atlantic and, though chagrined, I was honored to receive a personalized, hand-written “no thank you” note from an editor from the magazine. The article was eventually published in Here’s the note. which I valued enough to frame.



Milwaukee trumpeter Eric Jacobson’s quintet celebrates the album release of “Discover” this weekend, at Blu

May be an image of 6 people, people playing musical instruments and text that says 'CLĄY SCHAUB Blu REGGIE THOMAS DAVE BAYLES 7PM OCT. 21 & 22 Eric Jacobson Quintet GEOF BRADFIELD CD release party "DISCOVER" BRUCE BARTH RIC JACOBSO ERIC JACOBSON ORIGIN RECORDS'

CD release party: for Discover by The Eric Jacobson Quintet, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct 15, Blu nightclub, Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee. Admission is free. 

Eric Jacobson is as accomplished and striking as any trumpeter in the upper Midwest. He has the brash, forceful power of a hard-bopper like Lee Morgan and the harmonic sophistication of a Freddie Hubbard or Woody Shaw.

That’s the leading edge of why attention must be paid by modern jazz fans of most any persuasion to his new Origin records CD release Discover, and his two-night CD-release performance at Blu nightclub, in Milwaukee, on Friday and Saturday.

Blu regularly has top-notch local and touring jazz artists, but the venue is also notable for the most spectacular view of any music venue in the city, situated at the top floor of the 23-story Pfister Hotel tower, overlooking downtown Milwaukee, the Hoan Bridge, and the lakefront, with the Calatrava Windhover Hall of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the War Memorial Center, all visible from Blu’s sky view windows. In the evening, the view becomes noirishly glamorous.

Eric Jacobson has performed with Grammy© Award Winners Phil Woods, Benny Golson, Brian Lynch, Tito Puente Jr., and Eric Benet. He is a top-call trumpeter for high-profile gigs in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago. Jaconson performs in the windy city at the Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, Winter’s Jazz Club, and Andy’s Jazz Club with some of the top Chicago groups including The Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Chicago Yestet, Bakerzmillion, and Mark Colby’s Quintet.

He’s also Jazz Education Director of the Milwaukee Jazz Institute, after having spent many years on the faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. (continued below)

Eric Jacobson

The CD release party will feature Chicago saxophonist Geof Bradfield, bassist Clay Schaub, and drummer Dave Bayles, Milwaukee’s premier straight-ahead jazz drummer.

Bradfield, who played on Discover, has recorded on more than 50 albums, including eight as a leader. The DownBeat Critics Poll has named Bradfield a Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist and Arranger multiple years.

Quite notably the gig will also include two pianists, Bruce Barth, who also played on Discover, on Friday; and Reggie Thomas, on Saturday, both acclaimed players from from the East Coast. The bandstand should be burning and swinging, among other luminous qualities. And admission is free.





Peter Mulvey and SistaStrings imagine a promised land right on our own soil


Singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey (center) is touring with SistaStrings (Monique Ross, cello, and Chauntee Ross, violin) and drummer Nathan Kilen. Courtesy The Bluegrass Situation

Peter Mulvey & SistaStrings will present album release performances at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 8 at The Bur Oak in Madison, and at 8 p.m. Sunday, October 9 at Colectivo Coffee Backroom, 2211 N. Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee. 

For tickets and the full tour schedule, visit:

ALBUM REVIEW: Peter Mulvey & SistaStrings Love is the Only Thing (Righteous Babe Records)

If only we had more people of power and influence with the spiritual wiles and wisdom of singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey. We’d be doing much better than barely muddling through as a society, even risking our democracy. Mulvey’s new album, with the marvelous Milwaukee string-playing duo SistaStrings, delivers a variety of truths and revelations and invokes extraordinarily capacious compassion.

Album cover courtesy

First comes exquisite overtones on his acoustic guitar, introducing the traditional “Shenandoah,” yearningly lovely, feeling like a ritual blessing.  “Soft Animal” ensues, with an idea from poet Mary Oliver, which evokes the “soft animal” within each of us, slightly Emersonian in its sense of inner sacredness, even as a breathing creature. Mulvey brings that animal vividly to life, with the Ross sisters’ violin and cello boosting it with warmly vibrant utterances, here and consistently throughout.

“Oh My Dear (The Demagogue)” pulls back the curtain of illusion but doesn’t simply point fingers: “What kind of storm blew through?/ The demagogue, the general, the priest/ who needed you most but loved you the least.” Then it shifts from rhetorical second to first person: “I couldn’t hear you while I was out in the wind/ I traded your life for my original sin.”

“Old Men Drinking Seagram’s” candidly scrutinizes the facile discriminations, bred of cultural isolation (or misinformation?), of the haves towards the have-nots. Why is it, the more people have, the more they resist, with a hollow righteousness, sharing it?

Then, funky and caffeinated, “You and (Everybody Else)” eloquently bemoans another current reality, people addicted to “staring at a screen”: “They gave you everything that you could want/ now you’re sitting there hungry like a ghost…full of nothing that you want/ you and everybody else.”

“Pray for Rain,” epigraphed with a James Baldwin quote, is the most pointedly political song: “Now the better angels have fled this field/ and the people sway to a devil’s song/ every bittersweet seed has come to fruit/ common mercy deserts the throng…” But notice how often Mulvey traffics in mythically terms rather than gratuitously naming names. This allows us to consider the historical roles of all humanity in our great failings.

Mulvey switches gears to the profoundly personal on “See You on the Other Side,” which grapples, finally affirmatively, with the murky metaphysics of death. Yet that ties in with poignant power to the album’s most moving piece, “Song for Michael Brown,” the young black man infamously shot and left dead in a trail of blood on a Missouri street, which inspired the Black Lives Matter movement. Here, Mulvey and his extraordinarily simpatico accompanists plea for compassion for everyone involved, of all colors and persuasions, “and most especially for the next child we know will fall.” And then, as if imploring a wailing wall: “I know God loves us. I know God loves us. I know God loves us. I don’t know how,” sung with raw passion.

Its gravitas buoyed by hope, this amounts to one of the most humanely open-hearted songs I’ve heard in recent years. As elsewhere, the song conveys the intimacy of deep feeling in its textures of fine engineering, recorded live at Cafe Carpe, the almost-famous little Midwestern engine of singer-songwriting that always could.

Peter Mulvey. Courtesy The Bur Oak

The album ends with the title song (written by Chuck Prophet) with the refrain, “Love is a hurting thing. Ah, but love is the only thing!” Throughout the album’s fetchingly hilly melodies, the tender textures of Mulvey’s scarred soul seem palpable in his voice. Sage-like, he poetically renders ideas revealing that compassion has many colors and many coats, and surely there’s at least one to fit any listener, to make their heart grow stronger, and warmer. Mulvey, long an iconoclastic activist, embodies such broad possibilities.

Canny and knowing of darkness and hatred, he remains persuasive, with extraordinary grace and street-smart artistry, which leaves no one left behind because, in the world he still envisions, love has long coattails. This is song-making of a high, healing order, just for these times.


Growing Hope for America: An anniversary revisit to the 25th Farm Aid in Milwaukee

It’s one day removed from the date but I am honoring the anniversary of a great concert in Milwaukee history by posting my review of Farm Aim 25,  at Miller Park on October 2, 2010.

October 2, 2010 

Farm Aid 25 Does Heavy Hauling for America’s Family Farmers

MILWAUKEE — It took a quarter of a century for the players in this farm system to make it to the majors.

But Farm Aid 25 proved it ain’t no game though, heck, it was at least as fun as any Brewers outing, to judge from the 35,000 who rocked Miller Park Saturday, along with the many dedicated musicians who filled the ten-hour event.

Farm Aid 25 at Miller Park. Courtesy

The first Farm Aid drew 78,000 in Champaign, Illinois in 1985. Today it’s the longest-running concert benefit in the U.S, having raised $37 million over those years. And co-founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp – who all performed Saturday with style and passion – have been stars for decades. So the event’s 25th anniversary in its first major league stadium only served to remind people of a team effort as heroic as a two-outs, walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

The hero’s stance is somewhat different now. Farm Aid now does heavy work on the promotional tractor hauling the local sustainable food movement to public awareness. They’re helping push for organized family farming and healthy food choices as refurbished tools for economic revitalization of America through “family farm food systems” based on alliances, economic stewardship and well being of community and public health (see for more information on this)

They still proselytize for the ongoing plight of America’s family farmers in the face of corporate farming’s razing of the small farm business model. In the pre-concert press conference, Neil Young, Farm Aids’ resident corporate gadfly, asserted that big-business farms “create and spread disease and are inhumane to animals” and ravage the ecosystem.

Yet, as perennial good guy Nelson says, “We started out trying to save the family farmer and now it looks like the family farmer is going to save us.”

Farm Aid to mark 25th anniversary at Miller Park

Farm Aid co-founder Willie Nelson at Farm Aid 25 in Milwaukee

With a majority of this huge throng appearing to be under 30, the message seemed to connect with the generation that must take up the mantle of leadership.

Many of them sang along from memory to lyrics of musicians old enough to be pa or grandpa. While Mellencamp did his harrowing farm tragedy saga, “Rain on the Scarecrow,” even a young stadium security guard sang along, with his back to the stage and eyes diligently scanning the crowd.

Yes, there’d been plenty of tailgating beforehand, which kept attendance at a slow trickle-in though the early afternoon acts like Randy Rogers, Robert Francis, Jamey Johnson and the Blackwood Quartet. Among those, the act too many missed was Johnson, whose Moses beard and hair hang as long as his foghorn voice resounds deep, seeping into the darkest caverns of the heart, with deftly self-deprecating storytelling. His Depression-survivor song “In Color” deserves to be a widely-covered classic, though I doubt anyone could deliver such craggy authenticity as does Johnson.

Though now middle-aged thick and lovable-attire slob, Mellencamp can still ignite and work a crowd – into what Quakers call (not so) gentle persuasion: At one point he asked all of the cell-phone toting fans to immediately call a friend to “thank them for supporting Farm Aid.”

He even grabbed one fan’s phone and thanked a doubtlessly startled “Steve,” on the call’s receiving end.

Farm Aid co-founder John Mellencamp at Farm Aid 25. Courtesy

By then, the crowd seemed primed to attack the back forty, after a bracing but short set from Milwaukee’s own seminal roots rockers The Bo Deans, and a beguiling one from Philadelphia folk-soul troubadour Amos Lee, and another by the appealingly high-energy alt-roots rock Band of Horses, who are galloping up record charts these days.

Milwaukee’s own, The Bodeans, at Farm Aid 25.

Yet the crowd perked up for the almost effortless charm of two young pop music phenoms, Norah Jones and Jason Mraz. The line-up’s only female act, Texas-raised singer-songwriter-pianist-guitarist Jones recently relocated to New York. She captivated with her sophisticated new look – punky page boy and fishnet stockings — and fluent eclectic flair, shifting from her sultry sweetheart mega hit “Come Away With Me” to Johnny Cash’s honk-tony beer lament “Cry, Cry, Cry” to her own increasingly dark and thoughtful originals.

Norah Jones at Farm Aid 25. milwaukeejournal-sentinel

By contrast, Mraz seems like his own brand of endless sunshine with a voice as boyish as Paul Simon’s but stadium-impact strong and with songs carrying a high melodic calorie count. He woos the listener like the boy Romeo next door, or the strapping young farmer down the road. He actually runs an avocado farm in California when not doing music or surfing. Too cool.

Between the Jones and Mraz sets, Jeff Tweedy — leader of the immensely popular and arty roots-rock band Wilco – delivered a curiously tepid solo set that suggested his true gifts are as a musical conceptualist/bandleader/songwriter.

You get the stylistic gist here — Farm Aid welcomes virtually all American music genres under its big farmer’s market tent. And to wit, many fans also partook of the outdoor Homegrown Market and chatted with farmers about their issues and tasty wares even through cold wind and some rain. That interaction is part of the important underlying purposes of this musical harvest.

Back inside, time-conscious bandleaders too infrequently introduced their faithful band members. But the show rarely dragged with Willie Nelson stepping in to add his “Texas herb” aroma to the sets of Jones and Lee, and with contemporary country star Kenny Chesney showing gleaming vocal pipes and sporting a New Orleans Saints cap instead of the expected ten-gallon hat.

And few complained about nepotism when Willie’s son Lukas Nelson scored a set, because he’s inherited the old man’s showmanship. No knockoff though, the younger Nelson’s style strives to virtually channel the ghost of short-lived blues rock guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. His guitar-string biting impressed some, but made you wonder if Willie feeds the kid enough.

Dave Matthews, the Gen-X rock star who joined the Farm Aid board of directors in 2001 and is the fourth perennial headliner, started his duo set with guitar ace Tim Reynolds by unleashing Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” which felt like a man reliving the song’s wild tale as a primal-scream dream. His intensity cranked the crowd up to a level that Mellencamp rode masterfully.

Yet, for this baby boomer, and surely many others, this all climaxed with Young’s set. He remains an uncanny blend of wizardly yet unpretentious song-storyteller/melody-spinner prone to deft feedback theatrics and spontaneous speeches. Few seem to care about farmers as much as he does. But an eloquent riff on being an aware consumer for small farm support –“read the label” is his mantra – immediately lost any hint of browbeating when Young launched into “Long May Young Run.” This is a gloriously warm-hearted salutation to a friend he last saw alive “in Blind River in 1962.” The winsome melody and sentiment seem to suggest – with a new line crucially added to the original lyrics – that the never-forgotten friend was a farmer.

Farm Aid co-founder Neil Young at Farm Aid 25. milwaukeejournal-sentinel 

Young’s always had a quirky a genius for balancing his fiery social consciousness with mournful, humane soul. Accompanied only by his own scruffy-scarecrow presence and solitary electric guitar, Young’s “Ohio” still seared into memories of the Vietnam war-era killing of four Kent State University student protesters by National Guard members.

Of course, Farm Aid always provides the salve of Willie Nelson to top off even reopened psychic wounds, and to send everyone home buzzed on musical vibe. That’s from toking up on ol’ Willie, twirling his smoky, behind-the-beat phrasing around another blessedly-crafted song. His concert-closing set ranged from tough blues-rock led by son Lukas, to reggae rhythms, to “one for Waylon.” On cue, all the headliners joined onstage to sing “Good-Hearted Woman,” a comfortable-as-worn-blue-jeans song by Nelson’s fellow progressive-country “outlaw,” the late, great Waylon Jennings.

Concert epics like this don’t get much more golden.

It was well after 11 p.m. and co-sponsor Direct TV had been telecasting the concert since Mraz’s set at 5, so one hoped the ideals and passion of this extraordinarily well-conceived and executed effort may spread like the winds of change, rather than like locusts or chemical farming-borne disease.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, long may Farm Aid run.


This review was originally published in, Madison edition

For videos about the Milwaukee event, go to