Vox Concert Series: Big City Music, Small Town Vibe

By Brian Sauer

Could you ever imagine Central Wisconsin being part of a network of venues and listening rooms that host some of the most talented musicians you may not have heard of yet?  The musicians you hear on the radio didn’t just get there. Instead, before being discovered, they honed their music and people skills on stages in Los Angeles at The Hotel Café & Room 5, just outside Atlanta at Eddie’s Attic, in New York City at The Living Room & Rockwood Music Hall, in Nashville at The Basement & The Bluebird Café, in Chicago at SPACE, and closer to home at the Vox Concert Series in Marshfield.

For over the past decade, the Vox Concert Series has worked to create a space where people within the community can experience live music, not just hear it. The original idea was to create a room within the community that could transform to host rock bands, blues, bluegrass, jazz, singer/songwriters, classical music, kids’ shows and comedy acts.

The aim of the Vox is to provide access to quality, affordable entertainment in Central Wisconsin, with tickets ranging from free to $30 (depending on the nature of the event and caliber of the acts featured). I’ve hosted more than 200 events within the community, including partnerships with charity fundraisers, currently averaging 35-40 events per year. Events feature high quality, recognizable acts such as Sam Llanas (formerly of the BoDeans), Tony Lucca (finalist on NBC’s The Voice), Matt White (featured performer on The Bachelorette), Tyler Hilton (musician and movie/television actor: Walk the Line, One Tree Hill), and later this year, Howie Day (Top 40 Hit – “Collide”), Anna Nalick (Top 40 Hit – “2AM(Breath)”) and Teddy Geiger (musician and movie/television actor: The Rocker, Love Monkey)  to name a few. In addition to more famous names, Vox aspires to provide local musicians, very talented emerging musicians from Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, and musicians from various other countries (New Zealand, Canada, England, Finland) a welcoming stage in Central Wisconsin.

The Vox crew works very hard to make Vox an exceptional place to experience a concert – with intimate performances, crystal-clear sound, and without a bad seat in the room. Vox has been transforming Wildwood Station Pavilion into our 250-seat capacity listening room since 2008, but you’ve never seen it quite like this. Ticketed Vox concert events held at Wildwood Station include a reserved seating option, offering an up-front view of the stage and a table to set your drink. General admission seating also will be available.  Concert-goers are welcome (and encouraged) to bring their own beverages in personal-size coolers when allowed (posted on the website by each event).

When people think of Nashville (Music City, USA), most people think cowboy hats and honky tonks.  However, those who really know Nashville know it’s one of the best emerging artist scenes in the country – a community of artists making their own unique brands of diverse, organic pop music in the shadows of today’s slick commercial country music industry.  At the forefront of this community are 10 artists who have banded together to form Ten Out Of Tenn, a collective of incredibly talented friends who, as individual artists, have released over 30 albums, and had song placements in countless television programs.

Our next concert on May 2 features one of these talented artists.  Gabe Dixon is a member of Ten Out Of Tenn and was named one of the “Year’s Best” by Paste, American Songwriter, and in the year-end Village Voice critics’ poll. His songs have been featured on shows from every major TV network and his song “Find My Way” was the main theme song in the #1 Sandra Bullock film “The Proposal.”  Many of you may remember Gabe when he made his Vox Concert Series debut with Tony Lucca back in October 2012.

His new album, “One Spark,” (out in August) features members of Snow Patrol, Starsailor and a duet with the most awarded artist in Grammy history, Alison Krauss.  In addition to performing his own music, Gabe has played keyboards and sang backing vocals on nearly every track of Paul McCartney’s 2001 “Driving Rain” album and also performed live with Paul at the Concert For New York City, a September 11 fundraiser. Gabe also spent time as a member of the bands OAR & Supertramp.

Sharing the stage with Gabe Dixon that evening is Chicago based talent, Matthew Santos.     Santos has established himself as one of the most exceptional talents to emerge from the Chicago music scene in decades. With a voice consistently compared to that of the late Jeff Buckley and likened to a male version of Adele, he has been the subject of praise from such artists as Eddie Vedder, Kanye West, John Legend, and Rihanna. His highly acclaimed collaborations with Lupe Fiasco, including the single “Superstar” for which he received a Grammy nomination, have served to broaden awareness of Santos whose own style is a unique homegrown hybrid touching on alternative/indie-rock/ soul and folk genres.  With appearances on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, Craig Ferguson, TRL, and performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, Glastonbury, Bonaroo, and the Video Music Awards as well as on a 56-date tour with Kanye West, Rihanna, and NERD, Santos’ world underwent a drastic change with the worldwide success of “Superstar.”

Once “Superstar” frenzy subsided, Santos returned to Chicago to continue working with his band. He was nominated for “Best Rock Entertainer” at Chicago’s 2009 Music Awards. The band was named one of the Top Ten Bands To Watch by the Sun-Times, setting the stage for the release of 2010’s This Burning Ship of Fools.  The Chicago Sun-Times recognized Santos as an artist who is “organic and soulful and moody, full of interesting musical ideas and dripping with serious vocal talent.” Santos says the musical diversity that marks his work is “the conflict of being a human being vs. being a brand. A human has multifaceted tastes. I’m trying to be as colorful on my palette as I can.” The painterly metaphor is one both well-earned and underscored by personal experience.

Brian Sauer is an enthusiastic music lover, community supporter, and president of the Vox Concert Series. This hidden gem of Marshfield is celebrating 10 years of bringing big city music with a small town vibe to Central Wisconsin.  


Upcoming May Vox Concert Events:


Friday, May 2

Gabe Dixon & Matthew Santos

Genre: Rock / Pop / Soul

Wildwood Station (Marshfield)

Doors: 6:30pm Show: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $16-$25

Purchase tickets online at


Thursday, May 15

Shane Alexander & Aaron English

Genre:  Rock / Pop

Wildwood Station (Marshfield)

Doors: 6:30pm Show: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $16-$25

Purchase tickets online at


Thursday, May 22

Jillian Edwards & Michael Shynes

Genre:  Pop / Singer-Songwriter

Wildwood Station (Marshfield)

Doors: 6:30pm Show: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $16-$25

Purchase tickets online at


Saturday, May 31

Xoe Wise & Jayme Dawicki

Genre: Pop / Soul / Jazz

Columbia Park (Marshfield)

Show: 6:oo PM

Tickets: Free!

(Please consider bringing non-perishable food donations for local food pantries)

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