John Sieger CD Release Party This Saturday

MP3 Download:
Semi-Twang – Salty Tears
Semi-Twang – Takes All Kinds
John Sieger – Warm Welcome in a Cold Town
John Sieger – Nashville 2-Pt. Tragedy

Yesterday, I was handed a history lesson. The subject? John Sieger: a singer/songwriter/helluvaguitarplayer from right here in Milwaukee.

The lesson came in two parts.

The first:
Semi-Twang’s debut album, Salty Tears. Sieger was not only a member of the band, but had a heavy hand in writing its songs.

The second:
Sieger’s brand new solo album, The Shaming of the True, to be celebrated (and released) this Saturday, May 31 at Shank Hall.

What I learned about Sieger: In 1988, John Sieger and his band, Semi-Twang, helped put Milwaukee on the map by gaining so much critical acclaim for their debut (Salty Tears), even Rolling Stone magazine’s David Wild lauded them as “a promising new entry in the American Rock Sweepstakes.” Keep in mind, too, this was back when Rolling Stone was still a highly respected music magazine– before it found itself abandoning credibilty in hopes of competing with Maxim and the countless other skin-heavy men’s magazines outselling it.

It’s the kind of album iTunes would categorize as “alt-country,” though neither iTunes, nor “alt-country” existed when this album hit airwaves. If you’ve never heard it, think: more ’80s-era Los Lobos than John Cougar Mellencamp. (FYI: I’m an enormous Los Lobos fan.) Only with less Mexican music influence. And the crazy thing? It was technically a side-project.

In the 20 years since, Sieger’s been hard at work, writing, performing and recording. Songs he penned have been recorded by everyone from Etta James to Dwight Yoakam. He’s performed (or still perorms) in bands such as El Supremo, Big Nick and the Cydecoes, and The Subcontinentals (featuring his brother Mike on bass and vocals). He even somehow finds the time to conduct a songwriting clinic at Cascio Music in New Berlin.

What I learned from this new album: The Shaming of the True doesn’t take long to remind you exactly how much Sieger molded Semi-Twang’s sound. Ever-present is the same healthy mix of Nashville heartache and R & B good-time, giving the album a vibe and spirit similar to that of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers. Especially on album opener “Warm Welcome in a Cold Town” and second-to-closer “Goodbye For Good.”And despite my affinity for the literary reference in “Goodbye For Good,” my overall favorite has to be “Nashville 2-Pt. Tragedy.” Sieger is joined by sweet-as-honey vocalist Rosie Flores for an outright Country duet as good as any I grew up listening to.

So, a reminder: If you’re looking for something to do this Saturday (and Lord knows there’s a lot going on), head over to Shank Hall to watch Sieger perform songs from this, and the countless other records he’s been a part of. He’ll be backed by his bandmates in the Subcontinentals. Tickets are only $10. And the show’s smoke-free.

For more information:
– John Sieger’s MySpace page

– The Subcontinentals’ MySpace page
– Shank Hall’s Web site
– Click here to order The Shaming of the True

John Sieger on Fox 6

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