ARTIST NEWS

THE REFUGE PROJECT: Momentous Records artist John Paulson has released his third CD of original big band jazz, The Refuge Project.  Featured artists on the recording include Adam Meckler (trumpet and flugelhorn) and the addition of jazz vocalist Janette Hanson of La Crosse, WI on the title tune “Refuge,” a work inspired by Dr. Paulson’s repeated trips to the Trempealeau Federal Wildlife Refuge in western Wisconsin.  A Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board helped to produce the album and fund a capstone concert coming up January 20,  2024 at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota. Visit the paulsonjazz.com website for ticket info and details on more upcoming Paulson performances. Physical CDs are available via Momentous Records.

ACOUSTIC ROOTS-FUNK… WITH TROMBONES! Momentous Records artist Mike Starling is on a mission. The La Crosse songwriter has been busy sifting through boxes of old cassettes and tapes searching for neglected, lost musical gems.

The latest product of this audio scavenger hunt Is Don’t Read the Between the Lines, a collection of seven songs that got their start back in the mid-‘90s and have now been finalized, re-energized and remastered.

Starling laid down the original tracks in a couple live-in-the-studio recording sessions with guitarist Hans Mayer and drummer Dave Purcell. Trombonist Mark Lakmann is featured on four tracks. The album debuted at a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Planetarium show on Nov. 9, 2023 and is now available on Bandcamp. Visit mikestarling.bandcamp.com to listen to the album, read song lyrics and get more info.


EVERYDAY ROAD RELEASE PARTY: Momentous Records Kit Mayer celebrates the release of his new album Everyday Road with a show at the Muse Theatre, 1353 Avon St., La Crosse on Saturday, Aug. 12. Kit says the night will include "a full playing of new album and more with the help of the Pack and some other wolves. This will be a fun show as the official release of the project with special guest Matt Monsoor. The Muse Theatre is a great intimate venue in an historic North La Crosse church." Doors open at 6 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at Instrument Repair of La Crosse, Dave's Guitar Shop, Drift Mercantile and Turtle Stack Brewery. Featuring 10 new original songs, Everyday Road is available now from Bandcamp and Kit's website.


photo: Deb Nahrgang

JAZZ IN WINONA: Momentous Records artist John Paulson will present a free pre-concert talk on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 1 pm at the Winona Friendship Center, 251 Main St., Winona, Minn. In addition to discussing upcoming concerts and recordings, his presentation will include a comparison contrast between his music and the popular big band jazz of earlier times as well as a brief description of how he writes and arranges music for his own band.

On the following weekend, the 20-piece John Paulson Big Band will be performing their mix of original, contemporary jazz in back-to-back concerts at the Winona Art Center will celebrate 10 years of successful concerts, recordings and educational residencies. The concerts are set for Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 pm and Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3 pm.

Visit the paulsonjazz.com website for ticket info and details on more upcoming Paulson performances.


IN MEMORY OF... Momentous Records artist Kit Mayer has released his latest music video to mark the anniversary of a certain infamous day in U.S. history (yes, Jan. 6). The song is Roll Out Mama, and it's a live recording of the song from his album Stone's Throw. Backing up Kit at the live show at Leo and Leona's are Jeff Sherin, Mark Davini, Hans Mayer and Terry Nirva. Diane Breeser stars with Kit in the story part of the clip. The video was shot and edited by Momentous artist Brett Huus with  lighting by Jason Underferth and additional audio/video tech by Ed Smerud.


JOHN PAULSON BIG BAND 10TH ANNIVERSARY: To celebrate a decade of performances, workshops and recordings, the John Paulson Big Band will perform anniversary concerts at the newly renovated Winona Art Center February 4-5, 2023. In November 2012, Paulson's newly formed big band blew the roof off the old church that held the Winona Art Center. That concert led to the completion of the group’s first two CDs, available on Momentous Records. 

In addition, Paulson and drummer Rich MacDonald will work with student jazz groups as artists-in-residence at Caledonia High School in October 2022. The John Paulson Big Band will give a free concert Saturday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m.  Opening the show: the CHS Jazz Band directed by JPBB trombonist Dustin Moburg. The Caledonia residency and Winona Art Center concerts are made possible through grants from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in cooperation with a private foundation. 

Learn more about John's music on his Momentous Records artist page.

CD RELEASE SHOW: Leo and Leona’s is hosting a release party for Momentous Records artist Kit Mayer on Friday, April 15. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the live music venue in Newburg Corners, Wis. Kit and his band will be playing songs from his new album Stone’s Throw, released on Momentous on Dec. 18, 2021.

Directions and more info at leonandleonas.com


STONE'S THROW: Just in time for the holidays, the new album by Momentous Records artist Kit Mayer has arrived. The CD includes 10 new songs by Mayer and is available at kitmayer.com. Backing Kit in the studio are top local musicians Jeff Sherin, Mark Divini, Terry Nirva, Joe Hauser and brother Hans Mayer. Greg Balfany, leader of the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra, also wrote a horn arrangement for one of the tunes, performing the part with Jeff Krauklis and George Von Arx. Momentous artist Brett Huus is also featured on backing vocals along with Irene Keenan Jr., Nancy Stoll Caucutt, and Ariane Lydon.

Kit posted this note on his Facebook: "Hey friends, I'm pleased to report that I have a brand spanking new CD. It's officially here and available to anyone who can find me. There are plans in the works to make it easier to obtain as well as streaming capabilities. I personally like a physical product that I can carry around, put on in the car and read the liner notes, look at the artwork and generally handle. So that part is here! I hope sometime in the spring to have an actual release party/event with a band and will post that information when it's known."


QUIESCENCE: The first track from the production team Starling-Huus (aka Momentous Records artists Brett Huus and Mike Starling). Titled Quiescence, the 7-minute instrumental is an improvised, free-form jam recorded in one take, totally unplanned and off the cuff. No overdubs, no punch-ins, no post-production trickery. Just a bass, a piano, a loop... and the energy the musicians were feeding off of in that moment. "This track is all about the restorative power of nature, music and friendship," Starling says. The release is dedicated to the memory of their friend Gene Purcell (1960-2021). Listen to the track at Bandcamp


MAYER REMASTERED: The Mayer Brothers Band is one of our most popualar acts here on Momentous Records. So we are excited to announce that we just completed a remastering of Kit Mayer's debut solo album Sporting Life for release in the 21st century. Recorded with a stellar group of backup musicians called the Careful Flies, the 12 tunes on this classic recording are now available on streaming services for the first time. You can also get it on good old-fashioned physical CDs from us or at Mayer Brothers gigs. Visit Kit's artist page to learn more.

WE'VE GOT DOC: Momentous Records is proud to announce the addition of John Paulson to our artist roster. The Minnesota-based composer and saxophonist's entire back catalog is now available from Momentous. His original compositions and arrangements are featured in quartet, quintet and big band settings, including his latest release Five Years On. Visit John's artist page to learn more.



STARLING IN THE NEWS: The release of the Backwaters album by Momentous Records artist Mike Starling is generating a lot of media interest.

"Starling's latest gives life to the beauty of the La Crosse area through collaboration of music and photography," writes Maeve Miller in an review for lacrosselocal.com. Mike was also interviewed for the La Crosse Local podcast.

And, Lindsey Ford of WXOW-TV News 19 interviewed Mike and Chuck Lee, executive director of the Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh, about their collaboration on the Backwaters video. You can watch that story on the News 19 website


MUSIC FOR A CAUSE: Momentous Records joined forces with Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh on the release of Backwaters, a new album of guitar-based instrumental music by Mike Starling. Nature and wildlife photography shot at the marsh by John F. Sullivan is featured in the first video for the new album, whose music was inspired by the many rivers and backwaters of the Driftless Region.

“Music created by local artists has a way of capturing the essence of our places, spiriting us back to the landscapes that define us,” says Chuck Lee, president of Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh, the volunteer-run nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, protect and enhance the marsh through action, advocacy and education. “This is why Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh is honored that Mike Starling and Momentous Records wanted to partner with us on the release of their new album.”

The music is available for a limited time for free at mikestarling.bandcamp.com in an effort to encourage donations to the Friends of the Marsh. Learn more at Mike's artist page.

25 YEARS OF SNARK! Momentous Records has teamed up with Nine Volt Media for a fond look back at one of the most fun and adventurous original music bands to emerge from the Driftless Region in the last two decades. Bean Hoy was the brainchild of La Crosse music journalist Mike Starling, and served as an outlet for his wry, topical tunes about subjects like road constructioncruddy jobs and the joys of beater cars and Wisconsin winters. "Like Dave Barry backed by the Violent Femmes," Ted Johnson once wrote in LAX Magazine. Bean Hoy took the stage in everything from acoustic duo to 8-piece rock band with a brass section called the Horns of Vengeance. Twelve of the band's most popular tunes have been remastered for the new Momentous release It's a Big Dumb World: A 25th Anniversary Collection. Casey Virock, Hans Mayer, Mark Lakmann, Jim Vogt, Jason Knox and Bob Mueller are just a few of the top-notch Wisconsin musicians backing Starling on the recordings. The album is available exclusively at beanhoy.bandcamp.com. Learn more at the Bean Hoy artist page.



HOT MINNESOTA BIG BAND! Momentous Records is proud to welcome the newest addition to our artist roster: the JazzMN Orchestra. Just released: The Commission Project, produced by drummer/educator Rich MacDonald (pictured above). The seven original compositions on the CD were commissioned by MacDonald with the goal of presenting a wide variety of big band styles. MacDonald and JazzMN Orchestra artistic director Doug Snapp began meeting on the project in January 2017, at which time it was decided that they would include it as part of the JazzMN concert series. The live premiere was March 10, 2018 at Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The recording was done the next day at Creation Audio in Minneapolis. Cool fact: Momentous Records artist Karyn Quinn is the bassist on the recording! Learn more and watch a sample video on the JazzMN artist page.



HOLIDAY GRASS: Don't miss out! Book your tickets now for the perennially popular holiday concerts by Momentous Records artists String Ties. Shows are set for December 19 and 20 at the Pump House Regional Arts Center in La Crosse. You'll hear selections from the band's Momentous Records release Yuleties plus more of the quartet's take on everything from traditional bluegrass to newgrass music. Buy tickets and get more info on the Pump House website.



DANCE OFF THAT TURKEY! The Mayer Brothers Band will be at Leo and Leona's in Newburg Corners Nov. 24. Their calendar is filling up fast for 2019 – check out the band's official website to see where they'll be playing. Further incentive to go: Stay Out of the Rain, their debut album on Momentous Records, is available exclusively at the band's live gigs.


BEAUTY ON THE WATERS: Momentous Records artist Terry Nirva was featured on WKBT-TV's Talk of the Town segment on Sept. 27. His photo exhibit Beauty on the Waters is on display at the Pump House Regional Arts Center through Nov. 3. On the musical side, make sure to check out his drumming on the album Stay Out of the Rain by the Mayer Brothers Band on Momentous Records.

FRIDAY OPENING: Besides being the drummer for Momentous Records artists the Mayer Brothers Band, Terry Nirva is also an accomplished visual artist. His photography will be on exhibit at the Pump House Regional Arts Center Sept. 12-Nov. 3. There will be an opening reception Sept. 14 from 5 to 7 pm. Get more details (and a sneak preview of his art) at the Pump House site.


SIDE BAND NEWS: Hans and Kit Mayer of the Mayer Brothers Band are reuniting one of their first groups for a special one-night concert Sept. 7 at the Grand Ballroom in La Crosse. The band is called Northern Comfort and features Hans on guitar, Kit on banjo, Jim Gillespie on guiitar and harmonica, Terry Bull on bass and Brett Champlin on drums. This group of musicians hasn't played together in nearly 40 years, so it should be a treat. You can hear the latest album by The Mayer Brothers Band on Momentous Records. It's called Stay Out of the Rain and is available at band gigs.


SEPTEMBER JAZZ: Several upcoming shows featuring Momentous Records artist Karyn Quinn on bass:

• Jump For Joy: A Jazz Concert for All Ages, Westby Area Performing Arts Center, Sept. 5
• Night And Day: A Celebration of Cole Porter with Dave Marck Jazz Quartet, Sept. 11, Winona State University Performing Arts Center; and Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre, Sept. 12
• La Crosse Jazz Quartet with Greg Balfany, Luke Thering and Rich MacDonald, Charmont Hotel, Sept. 14
• The "Original" La Crosse Jazz Quartet with Greg Balfany, Chris Frye and Tim Henke, Root Note, Sept. 18

You can get more details and sign up for email updates at Karyn's artist site. And don't forget to check out Great Days, the excellent trio album she recorded with Wayne Hawkins and Todd Strait for Momentous Records.



I AM SPIRIT: You can hear Hans Mayer (bass) and Terry Nirva (drums, percussion) of the Mayer Brothers Band on the latest video by singer-songwriter Bill Miller. The song is from Bill's new album New Rain. Hans and Terry can also be heard on the Mayer Brothers Band's first full-length release on Momentous Records, Stay Out of the Rain.


BOOM! Momentous Records artist Bjorn Berg will be performing with his band Blue Collar 40 at Country Boom this summer. The two-day music festival is set for July 13-14 in West Salem, Wis. Check the Country Boom Facebook for the full lineup and latest news. Meantime, don't forget to check out Eyes of My Mind, Bjorn's first album of original songs on Momentous Records.


BLUEGRASS UNDER THE STARS: Momentous Records artists String Ties are the headline act at Moon Tunes on Thursday, July 12. The show starts at 5:30 at the Riverside Park bandshell in La Crosse. Wayne, Dan, Tom and Larry will also be playing at the new Dash Park Music Series in Onalaska on Tuesday, July 10. And if you haven't heard it yet, don't miss hearing their smokin' hot debut album on Momentous Records.


WE GOT A CURE FOR THE SUMMERTIME BLUES! Momentous Records artists The Mayer Brothers Band kick off a busy summer with a show at Saxon Hall in Brownsville, Minn. on June 9. Next day they go downriver for an afternoon show at The Other Place (O.P.) in Lansing, Iowa. Back in La Crosse for Moon Tunes at Riverside Park on June 14. Hans Mayer and Terry Nirva will also be at this year's Moon Tunes kickoff concert backing Bill Miller on June 7. Check out the Mayer Brothers Band website for more summer gigs.


BEHIND THE MUSIC: The Momentous video team interviewed Kit Mayer for this short video promoting The Mayer Brothers Band. Thanks to T.J. Peterslie for opening up the Grand Ballroom in downtown La Crosse for our interviews with the band members! Keep your eye on this space for more interviews with other band members and other Momentous artists.


photo: Jim Lund
A JAZZ-PACKED MAY: Momentous Records artist Karyn Quinn and her bass are all over the La Crosse area this month. On May 4, she backs Tom Wopat at Leo and Leona’s. May 5 she's with the Don Scott Blues Band at Piggy’s Blues Lounge. There's a May 6 afternoon show with the 3rd Relation Jazz Quartet at the La Crosse Public Library, and two days later at the Root Note. She's back at the Root Note with the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra May 15, then with the La Crosse Jazz4tet at the Charmont Hotel May 25 and Safe Passage at the Starlite Lounge May 26. For times, check her artist website event calendar.


THEY'RE WITH THE BAND: You can hear two members of The Mayer Brothers Band on the latest music video from Nashville-based artist Bill Miller. Hans Mayer plays bass and Terry Nirva is on drums on the song "Underneath a Blue Sky," recorded at Actual Sound Studio in La Crosse, Wis. Hans and Terry have a long working relationship with Bill and are featured on Raven in the Snow and other studio albums.


A TRIBUTE TO SOME OF OUR MUSICAL HEROES: Terry NIrva and Hans Mayer of Momentous Records artists The Mayer Brothers Band will be part of a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tribute band doing a fundraiser concert for the La Crosse Area Family YMCA on Friday, April 27 at Piggy's Ballroom. Songwriter Eddie Allen opens. More info on the musicians playing is on the Mayer Brothers Facebook


MID WEST MUSIC FEST! Momentous Records artists The Mayer Brothers Band make their first appearance at the Upper Midwest's premiere music festival. They play Saturday, April 14 at 8:30 at the Court on Main in La Crosse. Click on the pic above to get the full schedule for this year's fest.


photo: Jim Lund
MOMENTOUS SONGWRITER AT COULEE REGION SONGWRITER SHOWCASE: Kit Mayer of the Mayer Brothers Band steps out Friday, March 30 for a songwriter showcase at the Court Above Main in La Crosse. Also on the bill: Mark Joseph, Matt Mahlum, Mike Caucutt and event organizer Gregg Hall. Show starts at 7:30 pm. Kit will be backed by bandmates Tom Gibbons and Mark Davini. The full band gets together for a show at the Trempealeau Hotel at 8 pm on Saturday, March 31.

JAZZ FROM THE VAULT: Here's a clip of Momentous Records artist Tom Gullion live at at the Brink Lounge in Madison, Wis. on Nov. 25, 2014. Tom's latest Momentous release is Time It Is.

BILL'S BAND: For his next La Crosse area gig, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Bill Miller is tapping into the talent of several Momentous Records artists. Dan Sebranek of String Ties and Hans Mayer and Terry Nirva of the Mayer Brothers Band will hit the stage with Bill at Leo & Leona's Tavern & Dancehall in Newburg Corners, Wis. on Saturday, Feb 24. The show starts at 7:30 pm. Get more details and directions on Leo & Leona's website. Bill is currently touring in support of Look Again To The Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited, a collaborative effort in which Bill sings the title track. Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle and Kris Kristopherson are among the other artists featured on the Joe Henry-produced disc.


SATURDAY NIGHT! Powerhouse singer Irene Keenan Jr. (above) is on the bill with Momentous Records artists the Mayer Brothers Band at the Grand Hotel Ballroom in downtown La Crosse on Jan. 20. Show starts at 7:30. Expect to hear plenty from the album Stay Out of the Rain in the Mayer Brothers' part of the show. And remember, the band's live gigs are stiill the only place to buy their new CD!

THE TIES THAT BIND: Momentous Records artists String Ties played a role in the new album Ginkgo by singer-songwriter Johnsmith. String Ties’ Larry Dalton is featured on upright bass and Dan Sebranek contributed harmony vocals. That’s Larry above with Texas-based producer Tom Prasada-Rao during the recording sessions at Sound Strations in La Crosse. Check out some samples at johnsmith.com. Gingko is the eighth solo album by the Trempealeau, Wis.-based singer-songwriter.


RAIN, SNOW OR COLD, Momentous Records artist Karyn Quinn will be laying down the bass at a number of live shows in La Crosse this month. She'll be performing with the 3rd Relation Jazz Trio at the Root Note on Jan. 9, 23 and 30. Shows run from 7:30-10 pm.

On Jan. 26, catch Karyn with the Safe Passage Jazz Quartet at the Starlight Lounge from 8 pm til midnight.

At 7 pm on Jan. 27, she'll be playing with the Greg Balfany Jazz Quartet for a Juvenile Diabetes Fundraising Gala at the Cargill Room.

And if you haven't already heard it, now is a great time to check out Great Days, the excellent trio album she recorded with pianist Wayne Hawkins and drummer Todd Strait for Momentous Records.

JIM'S JAZZY JANUARY: Momentous Records artist Jim Piela has a busy start to 2018. He'll be playing with Michael Sarian and the Big Chabones on Monday, Jan. 8 at Club Bonifide in New York (map). Watch Jim in a preview of Sarian's new album in the video above. Also in January, you can catch Jim with:

  • Brazil Trio +1: Sunday, January 7 & 21, 5-8 pm, Cafe Argentino in Brooklyn map
  • Planetary People: Wednesday, Jan. 10, 7:30-8:30 pm, The Groove in New York map

In the meantime, check out Jim's two Momentous Records releases Non Fiction and Space Cadet at his website jimpiela.com.

JOY TO YOUR WORLD! Looking for last-minute stocking stuffers? How about a CD by one of your favorite Momentous Records artists? Head on over to our Merchandise page for a complete list of our releases and links to where you can buy 'em. Happy holidays from all of us at Momentous!

HOLIDAY GRASS! Celebrate the season with Momentous Records artists String Ties: Tom Pfaff (banjo), Larry Dalton (bass), Dan Sebranel (guitar) and Wayne Beezley (mandolin) bring their annual holiday shows to the Pump House  Regional Arts Center in La Crosse on Wednesday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. See the Pump House website for ticket info. And don't forget, you can also bring a little bluegrass Christmas cheer into your own home with the String Ties Yuleties album.

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SATURDAY NIGHT! Momentous Records artist Tom Gullion will be performing with the Rodrigo Villanueva Conroy Quartet this weekend in Milwaukee. Tom will be playing sax with the drummer's quartet at the Jazz Estate starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. Can't make the show? Check out Tom's two most recent recordings on his Momentous Records artist page.
CATCH KARYN: Momentous Records artist Karyn Quinn has a busy December schedule. She'll be playing bass with the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Swingin' Yuletide concert at UW-La Crosse. On Sunday, Dec. 3, she'll be at Leo and Leona’s in Newburg Corners with singer-guitarist Tom Wopat and pianist Jeremy Kahn. That show starts at 5 p.m. And, there will be a La Crosse Jazz Orchestra Reading Session at the Root Note in La Crosse from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

In the meantime, you can hear Karyn on the Momentous release Great Days.

SATURDAY NIGHT! A Night of Dylan and the Dead at the Court on Main in La Crosse featuring Momentous Records artists The Mayer Brothers Band doing a tribute set to Bob Dylan songs. They'll be joined by Greg "Cheech" Hall and his Deece is Dead band doing a Grateful Dead set. Tickets available at Deaf Ear Records, Tree Huggers Co-op, Pearl Street Brewery, Instrument Repair of La Crosse, Old Town Strings and online at dylandead.bpt.me.

JAZZ AT THE ARK: For all of you jazz lovers who weren't able to catch the show, here's a video of Momentous Records artists Tom Gullion and Karyn Quinn (with drummer Keith Leinart) and their rendition of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" recorded live at The Ark in Viroqua, Wisconsin on Oct 7, 2017.


THE BROTHERS BACKSTORY: Randy Erickson wrote a nice article about Hans and Kit Mayer for the Nov. 17 edition of the La Crosse Tribune.


SATURDAY NIGHT! Join Momentous Records artists The Mayer Brothers Band as they celebrate the release of their new album Stay Out of the Rain at Leo & Leona's in Newburg Corners. The fun starts Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. ​
MOMENTOUS RECORDS WELCOMES THE MAYER BROTHERS BAND! The group's first video, produced by the Momentous video team, debuted Nov. 14 on YouTube. It's a live performance of Hans Mayer's song "Goin' Home," recorded at the Pump House Regional Arts Center on Oct. 14, 2017. 

Get all the latest news on the Momentous Facebook.