Meloy rolls into town Wednesday

Like democracy? What about the Decemberists? Perhaps just the letter “D,” in general? If your answer to at least two of the questions was a “yes,” celebrate the joy of alliteration by clearing your schedule this Wednesday, April 23, to come check out Colin Meloy at the Barrymore. Meloy, currently on hiatus from his troupe and touring across the nation in support of his first solo album, “Colin Meloy Sings Live!,” released earlier this month. Meloy is joined by the non-threatening singer-songwriter Laura Gibson for the show, which is also serving as a fundraiser for the Madison-based non-profit Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution.

Meloy has been filling venues and garnering glowing reviews throughout the spring with his deeply personal and nuanced sound. Recent shows in Boston and Toronto have turned the spotlight on Meloy’s gift of storytelling through music, which has taken on an added, perhaps slightly softer, dimension with becoming a father (to a son named Hank with girlfriend Carson Ellis) little more than two years ago.

“… It’s a cliché, the songwriter having a baby and then writing these weepy saccharine ballads about how wonderful it is to be a father,” Meloy told The Hook earlier this month. “I actually found I was writing more darkly and more violently in some way. I used to sing him a battery of songs every night. Recently, for whatever reason, he doesn’t like to be sung to and likes stories to be told to him, so I’ve been making something up. Of course, he’s a really easy audience; he’s kind of a pushover.”

Liberty Tree, a “new organization with old roots,” is rooted in the belief that “American revolution is a long tradition whose greatest promise is democracy,” and provides support to pro-democracy campaigns through policy research, publications, legal assistance, consultative services, and the convening of pro-democracy organizers. The organization is currently gearing up for a number of events educating and providing networking opportunities for activists and advocates, including June’s Democracy Day conference and a community organizing retreat, as just two examples.

Tickets for the show, beginning at 7:30 PM on Wednesday at the Barrymore, are still available for $20 from the venue at 241-8864 or online.

– Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern

New Pornographers benefit AIDS Network

Tomorrow evening, Monday, April 21, Madison music fans will be in for a treat when the “power-poppy” New Pornographers — featuring Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Kurt Dahle, Todd Fancey, Carl Newman and Blaine Thurier — play the Orpheum Theater. The Pornographers are touring in support of Challengers, an album that the group consciously made with a more organic, less synthetic sound in mind, bringing in a full string section.

The band, whose name was derived from a Japanese film titled “The Pornographers” and has drawn comparisons to a Jimmy Swaggart quote calling rock and roll “the new pornography,” will unfortunately be without the accompaniment of the iconic redhead Neko Case, as reported by Madison’s own Muzzle of Bees. Case reportedly took a bad fall while on tour in Washington, DC, and despite attempting to play the following the two shows, has chosen to leave the tour and recuperate from her injuries. Nevertheless, the show is sure to be a memorable one, as the Pornos are accompanied by the also-wildly-talented Okkervil River as their openers.

Monday’s show will also serve as a benefit for the Wisconsin AIDS Network, with $1.00 from every ticket sold going to the Madison-based office. AIDS Network’s mission is to provide support, education and opportunities for well being to everyone touched by HIV/AIDS in south central Wisconsin and has been providing care and prevention services to the area since 1985. As the media’s focus has often shifted the focus of HIV/AIDS news coverage to focus on the African continent, where the disease has reached epidemic levels, many may not be aware that HIV continues to pose a threat to national and local public health.

“For Prevention, our biggest obstacle is complacency,” said Shawn Neal of AIDS Network. “When we go out and talk about HIV & AIDS within communities, many members of high risk communities [including but not limited to men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users] do not see themselves as being at risk. They know HIV exists, but don’t believe they could become infected.

“Those who have survived the 1980’s and early 1990’s when HIV infection was at its peak have now become relaxed in being safe. There isn’t that fear anymore of becoming infected. It’s easier to educate someone about HIV who doesn’t know about it and is concerned, then to change the already belief by many that it happens to ‘those’ people that they don’t associate with.”

AIDS Network has also encountered the recent stress of funding cuts limiting the scope of services they can offer to the over 350 clients they serve. Recently, the Emergency Financial Aid (EFA) program was cut entirely. EFA provided essential transportation or grocery vouchers for the organization’s clients, most of whom live in poverty. Without the program, clients face hardship in being able to get to medical appointments and to meet basic needs such as food, heat and electricity.

The impact of HIV/AIDS on south central Wisconsin (view recent, statewide statistics here) reaches far beyond the lives of AIDS Network’s 350 clients, including an estimated 800 HIV-diagnosed individuals in the area who don’t utilize AIDS Network’s services and even more individuals who are currently HIV positive without knowing so. These were numbers that Neal found to be particularly of note when asked to address skeptical readers:

“A person who tested positive for HIV didn’t believe all his or her life that he or she would be HIV positive one day. The dangerous thing someone can do is be ignorant that HIV is in his or her community, among his or her friends and/or is always in front of their face even if they claim to not see it. I meet people all the time that say they don’t know anyone who is HIV positive as they stand beside someone who happens to be positive. HIV is a virus that people are still discriminated against for having and so is still very undercover.”

If you’d like to help a very worthy cause in addition to some kick-ass music, be sure to come out to the Orpheum on Monday evening. Tickets are still available for $22 in advance or $25 on the day of the show.

– Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern

X show benefits WORT

This Friday, March 21, the Barrymore Theatre will play host to X, celebrating their 31st anniversary with a national tour including all of the band’s original members — John Doe, Billy Zoom, Exene Cervenka and DJ Bonebrake. Formed in 1977, X is known for revolutionizing definitions of the punk genre with their work, including the groundbreaking 1980 album Los Angeles, for which the band received the unique distinction of an Official Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles.

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The show is also unique as the latest of a series of True Endeavors shows benefiting a community organization. In this case, one dollar from every ticket sold will go directly to WORT 89.9 FM, Madison’s premier community sponsored radio station.

Like X, WORT is also a recent thirtysomething, debuting on the airwaves on December 1, 1975. The station is a product of the efforts of many, with over 2200 individuals contributing annually to help offset station costs and hundreds of others volunteering to maintain the station’s programming. The station has grabbed a niche in Madison as a home to the interests and support of the “uns” of society, as John Ohliger described in a 1994 speech at a station meeting: “The unabashed, unafraid, uncensorable, unconventional, uninhibited, unorthodox, unpretentious, unstinting, unsung, untiring, and finally, definitely, unique.”

Despite continued support from the Madison community, the station has faced its fair share of obstacles, particularly with the influence of new laws being put into the books by the Bush administration, such as the 2007 Media Ownership Act.

“The current administration has succeeded in cutting the budget for publicly-funded stations, thus stifling creative and independent voices in favor of fewer and fewer points of view,” describes Sybil Augustine, WORT music director. “Corporations are allowed to monopolize many TV and radio stations, as well as newspapers, in the same markets. We are sliding down a very slippery slope.”

To purchase tickets for the X anniversary show at the Barrymore, visit BarrymoreLive.com. To find more information on how to contact representatives and stand up against oppressive and pro-corporate media legislation, visit FreePress.net.

— Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern

Let us introduce ourselves..

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a music lover. So are we.

True Endeavors is an independent music promotion company based out of Madison WI. We have lived in this community for many years., and are dedicated to the idea that live music matters — perhaps now more than ever.

We are an independent promotion company. When you support locally-owned businesses, you are putting your money back in to the community and in to the hands of local entrepreneurs who are dedicated to the community. In fact, True Endeavors has done several benefits for various local non-profits over the years, and are looking forward to expanding our outreach efforts.

Independent music promoters are also important because they keep huge corporations from taking over the music scene. As an independent company, we are often willing to take risks for artists or music lovers that large corporations would stay away from. Our bottom line isn’t just based on profit, nor are we simply about exploiting the musical flavor of the month.

What is a promotion company? A promotion company is responsible for the negotiation of contracts with the agents of bands who are touring. We book the venue as well as promote and host the show. Often the artist’s agent contacts us, but..if fans express interest in certain artists we will research whether or not the band is on tour and if that tour can be routed through Madison.

That means we care about what people are listening to and we want your feedback! No, this does not necessarily mean we can get your favorite band to town, but it does mean we’ll look in to it. We’d love to hear back from music fans- please post your questions, comments, and requests on this blog!