Block Party Band Features

Sunday, 18 May 2014 |

Each day, we’ve featured a specific band that will be present at the WORT Block Party. Now: take a look at the complete line-up, and makes sure you make it to the 200th block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on May 18th to help celebrate community radio and great music!

Ken Lonnquist – 11:15AM – 12:15PM

Ken Lonnquist is a funny, enjoyable songwriter. He made up his first song at age seven, took up the guitar at twelve, and has been performing professionally since his college days at UW-Madison. He won a national audition and traveled widely as Minstrel for the Environment, writing and performing in schools and colleges about environmental concerns. He hit the college Singer-Songwriter circuit, honing his skills at improvisation and Topical Humor (heard on NPR, Air America, the CBC, Pacifica Radio). A series of recordings for adults and children followed. Recognition from Audubon, Parents Choice, American Library Association, Booklist, Childrens Music Web, Parents Guide To Childrens Media and others solidified his reputation as a Family Songwriter and Entertainer.

Oak Street Ramblers – 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Though their influences hail from much further south, the Oak Street Ramblers call home the East Side of Madison, WI. A bluegrass band in the tradition of Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and Hazel Dickens, the Oak Street Ramblers specialize in bluegrass stompers, classic country weepers, and originals that, lyrical content aside, wouldn’t sound out of place at a barn dance circa 1954.

Tight vocal harmonies figure prominently into the Oak Street Ramblers’ sound, and the group features no less than five singers ready to take the microphone at any given time. The band is comprised of Ian Alderman on guitar and dobro, Willie Jones on mandolin, Jeff Kunkle on bass, Betty Stattelman-Scanlan on guitar, Mark Schlutt on banjo, and Tina Thompson on fiddle.

The Ramblers started playing out at the legendary Wonder’s Pub in 2004, and they currently have monthly shows at the Alchemy Cafe and the Malt House. They have acquired a solid fan base and have been voted a favorite Madison-area folk/bluegrass band.

Son Contrabando – 1:45PM – 2:45PM

Son Contrabando is a latin music collective formed in early 2012 in Madison Wisconsin.
They are composed of a group of talented musicians from all over the planet, all with different influences and musical roots but sharing a same passion for Latin music. This makes Son Contrabando a difficult band to pin down to specific single genre.
Considered as a “Latin Fusion” band, Son Contrabando takes different Latin rhythms such as Salsa, Cumbia, Samba, Bossa, Afrocuban beats, rumba, etc and mixes them with more urban contemporary styles like Reggae, Ska, Blues, Jazz, Rock, accompanied with a strong message of hope, humanity and social revolution.

Saskia and Mt. Zion Roots Band – 3:00PM – 4:00PM

Mt. Zion Roots (formerly Mt. Zion Soundsystem) is the reggae band that will soothe your mind, uplift your spirits, and rock your world! Mt. Zion is a group of full-time artists who love reggae music and love spreading messages of hope and unity. Founded by singer-songwriter/guitar player Saskia Nassalang, Mt. Zion was inspired out of her tremendous love of reggae music and it’s inherent healing properties and her intense desire to share this healing energy with the world. Her voice has an authenticity that brings the wisdom of her lyrics directly to the listener, accentuated by her steady “heartbeat” rhythm guitar playing. The band has a solid rhythm section made up of St. Patrice Nassalang from Senegal, West Africa on drums, deep groove authentic basslines by the legendary David Robinson from Jamaica, and precise percussion by master drummer Lucky Diop, also from Senegal. Azeeza Islam, a well-known jazz vocalist, brings depth and harmony to the vocals and a warm presence that makes dancers of the audience. John Criston Widule is Mt. Zion’s newest member and plays keys, flute, and a trumpet that rocks this sound into another dimension. Truly a feast for the senses, heart, and spirit.

The Velvet Smash – 4:15PM – 5:15PM

The Velvet Smash is a lounge-a-licious band of musical masterminds from Madison, Wisconsin who embrace sybaritic 60′s classics, but fearlessly lounge-ify a wild mix of other tunes as well. “Mambo Italiano” and “Angel Eyes” sit comfortably in the set with Morphine’s “Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer” and Tom Wait’s “Jockey Full of Bourbon.” You’ll undulate to Astor Piazzola’s “Libertango” and melt to the longing melody of “Les Etoiles.” Stevie Wonder’s “Supersition” is at home with the Jungle Book’s “Trust In Me”, and who knew that “What Lola Wants” can be geniusly played as a polka?. This and much more is brought to you via powerhouse, sexy vocals backed by brass, vibes, hot rhythm, and accordion with enticingly strange forays into exotic percussion.

Listen to a music sample here.


The Family Business – 5:50PM – 7:00PM

Originally formed in 2005 while most of the band was still in high school, the Family Business has played hundreds of shows over the past nine years, including opening slots for Rival Sons, Blues Traveler, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and Black Stone Cherry. While the bands chemistry and instrumental prowess is heavily reflected in their studio works, it is even more apparent in a live setting. Mixing in the occasional ballad amongst a plethora of high energy rockers, the foursome effortlessly guides their audience through the peaks and valleys of their extensive repertoire.

Now in their mid-twenties, the band is hitting stride, writing and recording more than ever in their main rehearsal space situated above a cheese factory in southern Wisconsin. Its kind of fitting that were from Wisconsin and practice in a cheese factory. In reality, its just a big, open space that we feel comfortable in. Its a bit secluded so we can isolate ourselves and focus on writing, says Bassist Garrett Wartenweiler

Together with Wartenweiler, drummer Derek Hendrickson completes a rhythmic section that plays in intuitive accord. Perhaps their synergy isnt surprising given that their fathers played together for decades in a number of local rhythm and blues outfits. Its this history; together with their deeply rooted belief in the power of music and the importance of family and friends, which inspired the bands name. Rounding out the Family Business is guitarist Eric Ziegler, whose poignant and blistering guitar work provides an excellent complement to Whites soulful timbre at the forefront of the bands sound.”

- Sonic Bids

Interim Webmaster

rev. 52:104M