Lena Elizabeth

Mid West Music Fest launches new intimate songwriter shows


Jake Ilika
Jake Ilika

Mike Munson
Mike Munson

Echo of the Bluebird celebrates original music

Mid West Music Fest is launching a new initiative to support songwriters presenting original music. Since its inception in 2010, MWMF has brought hundreds of established and up-and-coming artists from all over the region and country to both Winona and La Crosse, Wis.

Echo of the Bluebird builds on the organization’s support for original music through writer-in-the-round sessions at some of the listening-room venues that are associated with Mid West Music Fest. “We realize that the festival and our communities really benefit from opportunities to interact with artists. We want to celebrate these writers’ accomplishments, and invite people into the songwriting process,” said MWMF Creative Director Parker Forsell. “We have been building relationships with really creative and original artists for over a decade and we look forward to continuing to shine a light on their new and original music.”

The first in the series featured Palmer T. Lee of the The Lowest Pair, an Americana folk duo based in Olympia, Wash.; Lee Henke, former principal songwriter in the dynamic bluegrass band The Last Revel; and Jaybone Bell, who shed his college band a few years ago, got his Master’s in library sciences from UW-Milwaukee, and had two children with his wife Amber before moving back to Winona last year.

On December 6, MWMF will team up with Winona’s newest listening-room venue, Burke’s Music House, to present Echo of the Bluebird: Jake Ilika, Lena Elizabeth, and Mike Munson. Ilika and Munson have many years of touring together and playing in venues all over the country. Ilika is originally from Winona, but now lives in the Twin Cities area. While area residents may be familiar with these two artists, seeing them in this unique format will be a new twist on their shows.

Lena Elizabeth is a rising star on the folk-Americana scene in the Twin Cities. She has played Mid West Music Fest twice, but will be presenting her music in a new way as part of this intimate format with the two other songwriters.

Come hear how these writers got into music, when they received their first instrument, and who they look up to as songwriters. Hear them play old and new songs, and even fragments of works in progress.

The event will be held on Friday, December 6, at Burke Music House, 226 East Third Street, Winona. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $8.


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