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by ramerama on Jan 13th, 2015

This Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 11 am on WORT FM’s Back to the Country, music historian Bill Malone interviews Mac Wiseman, who was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. One of the cult figures of bluegrass and known as “The Voice with a Heart,” Mac was born Malcolm B. Wiseman on May 23, 1925 in Crimora, Virginia. He studied at the Shenandoah Conservatory, started his career as a disc jockey in Harrisonburg, Virginia and later became one of a handful of musicians who helped create the genre of bluegrass music.

by ramerama on Dec 7th, 2014

Dear Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival Friends and Family,

As the year draws to a close, the success of the 2014 Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival is on the minds of all of the board members. We are proud that every year we continue to host such a phenomenal line-up from the traditional music scene.

To present this festival takes time, planning and funding. As you are preparing for tax season, please consider making a tax deductible donation to support the mission of the Four Lakes Traditional Music Collective. Your donation will help secure the future of the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival and insure that we can continue to provide outstanding musical opportunities in the Madison area.

Send donations to FLTMC PO BOX 3299 Madison, WI 53704 or click on the Donate button on the left-hand-side of this page.

Due to a variety of scheduling factors, the 2015 festival weekend has moved… The festival will be August 14-15, 2015 so mark your calendars and tell your friends!

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday from everyone at FLTMC!
The FLTMC Board

by ramerama on Jul 28th, 2014

Founded in Austin, TX, in 2010, Loves It has already played hundreds of shows in the US, Europe, and Asia. Made up of harmony-driven songwriters Vaughn Walters and Jenny Parrott, the duo often switches between guitars, fiddle, and banjo, and plays with a respect for tradition and a determination to bring a modern voice to their favorite folk, country, gospel, and punk sounds.
Loves It will be playing Saturday afternoon on the main stage of the Sugar Maple Festival.

by ramerama on Jul 27th, 2014

The Drunken Catfish Ramblers, who will be closing this year’s festival, are, at their core, a street band. Although young in years, they have a lifetime of collective experience playing the streets of the world, the stages of the Montreal and New Orleans Jazz Fests, Merlefest, and more. They started years ago as a freight-hopping bunch of travelers swapping songs, bottles, and stories as they made their way east from California, but New Orleans was destined to play host to their signature sound. Their sets comprise a cross section of the best of American vernacular music, from delta blues to Appalachian stomps to early jazz and popular songs. They treat every song like a mint condition 78, so it’s no surprise that they sound like one, too.


by ramerama on Jul 26th, 2014


  1. The festival got its name from the sugar maple tree, the state tree of WI.
  2. Kids 17 and under get in free.
  3. There is free shuttle service Saturday afternoon for seniors from the Madison Senior Center, Attic Angel Place, and Oakwood Village University Woods.  Contact the centers for more information.
  4. The Sugar Maple Fest is participatory!  Bring your instruments and play along in the jam tent.  The jams are open to all ages and abilities.
  5. The Festival is sponsored by the Four Lakes Traditional Music Collective, a local non-profit dedicated to bringing traditional music and dance to the greater Madison area.  Your tax-deductible donation supports the music!  See www.sugarmaplefest.org for more info.
  6. Performers this year hail from Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Iowa City, Cincinnati, Memphis, New Orleans, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Austin and Nashville.
  7. Dave Landau is the only artist to play every single year of the festival. And the seven-year-olds dancing to his music year one are now in college and have to pay their own way into the festival!
  8. One FLTMC board member met her future husband at the late night campground bonfire jam.  (He proposed around the campfire the following year.)
  9. The idea for a traditional music festival in Madison originated in 2003 at the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in Marquette, MI
by ramerama on Jul 23rd, 2014

2003 Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee Lil’ Rev grew up in the shadows of American Motors Corp, Briggs N Stratton, and A.O. Smith in Milwaukee, WI (where he still resides today), so was inspired by the sights and sounds of an industrial powerhouse in flux. While Lil’ Rev is well-known for his ukulele and harmonica stylings, he is also a seasoned multi-instrumentalist equally adept at old time banjo, flat-pick guitar, and blues mandolin.

by ramerama on Jul 22nd, 2014

Although 25-year-old songster Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton has been legally blind since his teens, his ability to tap into traditional American music reveals a perceptiveness and focus that few others are able to achieve. A gifted multi-instrumentalist who specializes in traditional, pre-World War II music, Paxton plays the fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and piano, and his performances are filled with ballads (both sung and played), blues tunes, banjo tunes, fiddle tunes, rags, and more. TheCountryBlues.com declares that, “A fabulous new country blues talent as impressive as Jerron Paxton is not just rare, his extraordinary talent is almost surreal.” Ask this self-proclaimed “thorough musician” what he does, though, and he’ll tell you that “All I do is play music; I’m too lazy to work.”

Blind Boy Paxton will be playing this year’s festival on Saturday, August 2nd.



by ramerama on Jul 17th, 2014

The Tillers got their start in Cincinnati, OH, in August 2007 when they started thumping around with some banjos, guitars, and a big wooden bass, playing songs that were (mostly) older than their grandparents. The Tillers have been awarded CityBeat Magazine’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Folk and Americana Act in 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014, have toured throughout the US and Europe, and were featured in Tom Brokaw’s documentary about US Route 50. Musically, the band’s sound has proven to be an appropriate fit with a wide range of musical styles: traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock, and anything else they might run into.