Energy & Rental Assistance for Wisconsin Entertainment Industry Workers

Crescendo On Wisconsin is a statewide campaign committed to helping struggling Entertainment Industry workers stay safely in their homes by providing emergency energy & rental assistance during these difficult times.


Crescendo On Wisconsin Presents:


Chris Barron
(of Spin Doctors)
w/ special guest
Sam Ness



The zeitgeist is a moving target, and Chris Barron has always been a crack shot. The New York songwriter is no longer the debutant who set out on the circuit’s sharp end in 1988 with $100, a battered acoustic and a headful of the alt-rock anthems that would elevate Spin Doctors to global stardom. He’s a veteran approaching 50, living in a world changed beyond recognition, compelled to write the music that chronicles the here-and-now. As far back as he can remember, he’s had a hunger driving him onward, towards something just out of reach. In 2017, it propels him to Angels and One-Armed Jugglers (due out October 20 on Chrysanthemum Records), the culmination of a lifetime’s craft and a record both contemporary and classic.

Ask Barron for a pivotal moment from his journey and he’ll rewind the reels to a high-school music theory class, where a cherished teacher advised him to “learn the rules so that you can break them.” Almost four decades later, that same irreverent wisdom hangs over Angels and One-Armed Jugglers. In a cynical era of songwriting by committee, these eleven songs rip up the verse/chorus template, eschew the stock lyrical themes and crash thrillingly among genres, as this fascinating songwriter acts entirely on instinct. “I’ve taken stock of everything I’ve learned about music,” says Barron, “and I’ve got to a point now where I’m just following my nose. These songs range from old jazz standards to funky beer-hall folk tunes. But I’ve never really been that interested in genres. I’m just interested in songs. I think the reason it’s so eclectic is because the songs were chosen more thematically than based on genre.”

With the ever-questing Barron at the bow, the Spin Doctors were bound to have a fascinating evolution. A four-album hot streak in the ’90s established them as a heavyweight of the era, and since the line-up reconvened in 2001 (a reunion sparked by the imminent closure of the iconic Wetlands club, where they cut their teeth), there’s been acclaim for 2005’s Nice Talking to Me, before 2013’s If the River Was Whiskey reconnected them with the Delta-inspired tunes from early days in New York’s blues clubs. “I love being in the Spin Doctors,” says Barron. “We’ve been playing together a very long time — thousands of stage hours, time in the studio, time in vans — and I feel like we’re now in this really cool phase of our career. I have no intention of leaving the group. This solo project is really about learning and just expressing the broadness of my musicality. Because as a composer and a lyricist, I can’t fit everything I do into the Spin Doctors.”



At 24 years old, many people have a quick double-take when meeting Sam Ness. “His hair and beard conjure images of Jim Morrison circa 1969, and, like Morrison, Ness writes poetry that he sets to music and prefers the character of old European cities. But Ness isn’t as lost as Morrison was” (Wisconsin State Journal). But it’s not just his looks that often surprise. After leaving his small hometown of Sauk City, WI, Sam has already seen and lived more than most could in several lifetimes.

Sam started seriously writing his own songs at age 15, and started religiously playing 8 open mic nights a week in Madison, WI as soon as he got his drivers license. This landed him his first residency gig performing weekly at Madison’s Tip Top Tavern. While his family and friends urged him to pursue theater, Sam felt connected to his songwriting and needed to see it through first.

With several scholarships to study theater in New York, California, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Wyoming, Sam rejected them all when he felt called to take some time to travel. With his guitar, a rucksack, and a few hundred dollars, Sam was given a one-way ticket to Edinburgh, Scotland by a fan he had briefly met. After he landed, he quickly ran out of money. He befriended the staff at a hostel while he learned the craft of busking (street performing). After he spent months honing his skill, he hitch-hiked and hopped busses for almost a year across Scotland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland, sleeping in hostels, people’s couches, and occasionally in the street.

Sam returned home to Wisconsin shortly before he turned 19. He started building a following in his home, as well as recording his first full album, “Whispered on the Wind” which landed him the Madison Area Music Awards 2018 Alternative Album of the Year shortly after receiving the Madison Area Music Association Breakthrough Artist Third Place Winner 2017. He made a promise to perform for his livelihood, or starve to death, and so far he’s still playing music, and loving every moment of it.

Sam returned home to keep touring the following summer. Come Autumn, Sam got itchy feet again and decided to revisit his friends in the UK. He recorded a few ideas shortly before he left, then finished writing and mixing his sophomore album, “Lullabies & Faerie Tales” from his laptop during his journey. The album was nominated for several Madison Area Music Awards, and he was award the Male Vocalist of the Year 2019.

Knowing he couldn’t be on the road a while, in 2020 Sam took the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the last 1000 shows in the middle of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. He spent the winter isolated in a Cabin recording an album that was released in May 2021 called, The Cabin. Hitting the ground running, Sam left the cabin and played over 150 shows through the Summer of 2021.




Crescendo On Wisconsin Presents:


Brian Vander Ark
(of The Verve Pipe)
w/ special guest Christopher Gold

Brian Vander Ark is the lead singer and principal songwriter for the multi-platinum alternative rock band The Verve Pipe, recognized worldwide for their radio hits Photograph, Hero, Happiness Is, Never Let You Down, and the #1 smash single The Freshmen.
In addition to their success on radio, TV and film, sold-out concert dates throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, features in Rolling Stone, Interview Magazine and many more, and videos on MTV and VH1, Brian and the band have made numerous television appearances, including The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With David Letterman.
During breaks from his work with The Verve Pipe, Brian set out on his own to launch a multifaceted solo career that has included releasing four acclaimed independent studio albums - Resurrection, Angel Put Your Face On, Brian Vander Ark, Magazine as well as his most recent, a collection of cover songs called Planet Sunday Sessions, Volume1. He recently collaborated with actor/musician Jeff Daniels on an album of original songs, while also putting the final touches on the new rock album from The Verve Pipe, Parachute.
Brians reputation as a skilled songwriter and producer continues to grow. Challenged by the demand for a more personal fan experience, Brian created the Lawn Chairs and Living Rooms house concert series, performing over 600 intimate shows in the homes of fans across America. Hes also a sought-after featured speaker, telling his compelling story of success and reinvention to both motivate and inspire the management and staff of corporations, financial institutions, schools, non-profits, and more. Whether solo or with The Verve Pipe, Brian performs in concert throughout North America, including notable appearances at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center, Hangout Music Festival, Summer Stagein Central Park, and many more.
Christopher Gold is a Kentucky-born songwriter living in Wisconsin. Together with his band The New Old Things he has written and recorded folk songs, country songs, rock & roll songs, and everything in between citing a love for songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and anybody else whose work begins with paper and pen. He travels primarily as a solo act, carrying on the folk tradition of performances that blend music, storytelling, and humor.

Crescendo On Wisconsin Presents:


Glen Phillips
(of Toad the Wet Sprocket)
w/ special guest
Erik Kjelland of The Mascot Theory


Glen Phillips has always been a courageous and inviting songwriter. During his years as lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket, the bands elegant folk/pop sound and his honest, introspective lyrics helped them forge a close bond with their fans. Since starting his solo career, Phillips has pared his
music down to its emotional core, concentrating on the simple truths of love and relationships, with a profound spiritual understanding.

The Swallowed by the New album takes on lifes difficult transitions and delivers some of the Phillips' most vulnerable songs. I made this album during the dissolution of a 23 year marriage, Phillips says. A major chapter of my life was coming to a close, and I discovered early on that I had to work hard to get through the transition with compassion and clarity. These songs were a big part of that process.

The album was recorded in May of 2015 with producer/bass player Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams), Jay Bellerose (drums), Chris Bruce (guitar), Jebin Bruni (keys) and Ruby Amanfu (vocals). The sparse arrangements are centered on Phillips vocals and acoustic guitar.

Swallowed by the New is full of the inviting melodies that have always marked Phillips work, while his singing reaches a new degree of intimacy and immediacy. The arrangements hint at country, soul, folk, rock and classic pop, without ever sounding derivative. The emotions may be raw, but they are guided by Phillips steady vocals towards healing and renewal.

I enjoy the spontaneity of acoustic performance, where I can take the show wherever it needs to go and follow the lead of an audience instead of following a set list. Theres more talking, more stories, and more of a loose feel. The subject matter is on the serious side, but I feel like the perspective is ultimately positive. Life is about changes, no matter how we may try and pretend otherwise. This album is all about learning how to face change. - Glen Phillips


Erik Kjelland has been writing and performing music for over two decades throughout the midwest and has recorded over twenty albums of original music with various acts. Currently, Kjelland fronts the Madison, WI-based folk-rock band The Mascot Theory, winners of over twenty Madison Area Music Association awards. The band has played major festivals throughout Wisconsin including Summerfest, Freak Fest, and Mile of Music Festival, and have shared the stage with BoDeans, Vance Joy, Frank Turner, The Jayhawks, The Verve Pipe, Chase Rice, Kaleo, The Wild Feathers, Guster, Blitzen Trapper, Cory Chisel, Don McLean and America. Kjelland also won the 2017 WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) award for Best Male Vocalist in the state. His songwriting partnership with fellow Madison singer/songwriter Beth Kille has developed into the duo (and sometimes full band) Kerosene Kites. Alongside mega-producer Butch Vig, Kjelland also created and curated the Wisconsin Vinyl Collective project that released three vinyl (and CD) albums of previously unreleased original songs from artists with Wisconsin roots while raising funds and awareness for the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund charity. Kjelland also co-founded the Crescendo On Wisconsin Campaign, a statewide effort committed to helping struggling Entertainment Industry workers stay safely in their homes by providing emergency energy & rental assistance during difficult times.


Crescendo On Wisconsin Presents:

MONDAY, JULY 26, 2021

Leigh Nash
(of Sixpence None The Richer)
w/ special guest Hannah Busse

Growing up in the Texas Hill Country of New Braunfels, Leigh Nash officially started her music career singing country music and learning old country songs on the guitar when she was just 12 years old.
With a desire to be on the stage, she started calling clubs on her own to book herself to perform. Before long, the young teen was singing Loretta Lynn and Tanya Tucker songs, such as "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man" and "Texas When I Die,” on open mic Sunday nights while being backed by a middle-aged band of town locals. It was in the early 90’s when she met guitarist and songwriter Matt Slocum and together they formed the band Sixpence None The Richer, a famed pop group that went on to win numerous awards and accolades, including two GRAMMY® Award nominations.
In their career, Sixpence None The Richer recorded four full-length albums. Their debut, which released when Nash was just 16, was 1994’s critically acclaimed LP The Fatherless & The Widow. In the years that followed, the band released numerous timeless songs and huge radio hits, from the GRAMMY-nominated “Kiss Me” to “There She Goes,” among many others.
Leigh Nash also recorded the song "Need to Be Next to You,” written by famed songwriter Diane Warren, for the 2000 movie Bounce, which became Nash's first solo single. She also made guest appearances on albums from bands such as Los Straightjackets and Delerium. Nash eventually pursued a solo career and debuted her first album, Blue On Blue, in 2006 (One Son/ Nettwerk). She also became a member of Fauxliage and Movement Nashville.
Today, Nash is based in Nashville working as a touring solo artist and songwriter, and she continues to tour with Sixpence None The Richer. “Get Happy” is Nash’s latest release (2.14.20) and features the 20th Anniversary Edition of “Kiss Me” and a tapestry are new songs “God Gave Me Horses” (Leigh Nash/Connie Harrington), “My Love My Drug” (Leigh Nash/ Aaron Espe), “Something Worth Leaving Behind (Leigh Nash/ Jaida Dryer/ Park Chisolm), and Don't Let Me Die In Dallas (Leigh Nash/Tom Douglas).

Hannah Busse is a folk-pop singer-songwriter, recording artist, worship director, wife, and mom. Ranging from driving to quirky to reflective, Hannahs songs hold common threads of honest lyrics and captivating melodies driven from her piano. She writes about the inner life, culture, relationships, and parenting.

Named the Madison Area Music Associations 2018 New Artist of the Year, Hannahs repute as a songwriter and performer is on the rise. Hannah's music has been aired on Wisconsin Public Radio's Simply Folk, WORT FM's Her Infinite Variety, and Max Ink Radio, and has been praised in publications including the Isthmus and The Badger Herald. She has opened for the likes of Gungor, Sara Groves, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, and Brady Toops, and has shared the stage with numerous other artists such as The Sea The Sea, Beth Kille, and Emma Jayne.

A host of influences have shaped Hannah's music-making: a Midwestern upbringing with lots of singing around the piano. A progressive education at a Big Ten university. Years of leading community worship gatherings with combo bands and choirs. Classical training as a vocalist, pianist, oboist, and choir director. A love for old musicals. A spouse who introduced her to Weezer, Green Day, and Pearl Jam.

Underneath Our Surface, Hannahs debut solo EP, is a collection of songs about the hidden desires, wounds, and memories underneath the surface of our ordinary lives.

Hannah and her husband Will live in Madison, Wisconsin with their three exuberant little daughters.

A BIG THANK YOU to our COW Partner

Ward Brodt Music

for donating this beautiful Breedlove guitar to the Crescendo On Wisconsin Campaign. Artists who perform at COW events will be asked to sign this guitar, which will be auctioned off at a future event to raise money for COW/Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund.