By Jim Moran
The Chain O’Lakes is no stranger to great musical performers, and this summer is no exception. On Saturday, July 26, you can hear one of the best harmonica wizards in the world, Andy Linderman, during his upcoming visit to central Wisconsin.
The Westside Andy and Friends Band will be playing at the annual corn roast at the Wheelhouse in Waupaca on Saturday, July 26. The five-piece band will include Andy on harmonica, Mel Ford on guitar, Steve Dougherty on drums, Dave Wood playing bass, and Barrel House Chuck on the piano. This lineup of accomplished musicians has a strong following in Wisconsin, and their reputation as phenomenal performers is well deserved.
The Westside Andy band, which has been playing for 20 years, originated in Madison and is a frequent act at the city’s Club Tavern. But if you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing the Westside Andy band, you’re in for a real treat.
I asked Andy what visitors to the Wheelhouse, located on the Chain O’ Lakes, can expect when they come to hear the band.
“They can expect to kick off their summer with some Chicago blues and dance their troubles away,” Andy said.
After reviewing their music (check out www.westdieandy.com), “dancing blues” might be the best way to describe the rhythm and beat achieved by this instrumental concoction. Andy has taught that harmonica to sing. During their live shows, four of the band members work the microphone with an arsenal of songs that will make you want to do more than tap your foot. According to Andy, “If you don’t like the blues, you have a hole in your soul. But I know from past experience that the vacationers at the Chain O’ Lakes, and the locals, have real souls with no holes.”
The first year the Westside Andy band visited the Wheelhouse was truly memorable.
“It was a thunderstorm like no other that day,” Andy recalled “Jeff [Maiman, owner of the Wheelhouse] had this whole party set up with the corn roast and all, but attendance was not what he expected [due to the storm]. That afternoon, we had some of the most fabulous pizza in the world, and he was the most gracious host, in spite of the results that day. I decided Jeff was the real deal. He is one of my best friends on the planet. And we love playing for the great crowds at this annual event. It is a very fun event to play, and I know we wouldn’t miss it.”
“Westside Andy is definitely a local favorite,” Maiman agreed. “I try to bring in the best bands I can for my seven yearly events. Rarely do I bring in the same band, but people really mark their calendars for this event because of the fun the Westside Andy band brings. I always look forward to having this group of friends back.
“This year will be kind of a reunion. The members of the band have collectively come together from different bands, so it will be great to have this group back together. I have become friends with all the members of this crowd-pleasing group of great musicians.”
The corn roast is free to the public, with no cover charge.
“It’s my way of giving back to loyal customers I have all year,” Maiman added.
The corn roast is held at the Wheelhouse Restaurant, located at E1209 County Rd. in Waupaca. For more information, check out www.wheelhouserestaurant.com.