Exploring Madison's Music Scene
Mar 18, 2013
04:28 PMLocal Sounds
Sexy Ester and the Pretty Mama Sisters at the Teens for Tunes Benefit
If you want to know anything about what is happening in Madison music, here is a name you need to know: Sexy Ester and the Pretty Mama Sisters.
This rock quintet has won numerous Madison Area Music Awards, including the coveted Artist of the Year award in 2012. The band consists of guitarist Adam Eder, keyboardist Roscoe Evans, bassist Brad Schulbert and drummer Jenna Joanis. Fronting the group is the vivacious vocalist Lyndsay Evans, wife to Eder and sister to Roscoe Evans. (Their former drummer was a cousin.) They are an unabashed throwback to '80s rock ‘n’ roll, and when you witness Evans lean back, raise one arm and deliver one of her muscular shrieks your jaw will hit the floor. To say she is the best female vocalist in the city, and likely the state, does not lend enough credibility to the term “best.” Here is a link to a recent profile written by Teri Barr. CD reviews can be found here and here.
Sexy Ester and the Pretty Mama Sisters are about to release a new CD, Monomania, which can be purchased here. They will celebrate the event at the Inferno nightclub on March 30. Locals Baristacide and Tiger Clutch will also appear, and local comedian Alan Talaga will play host.
The point of all this is not simply to promote one of Madison’s finest outfits but to tell another story.
On March 2, we held a fundraiser for the Madison Area Music Association at the High Noon Saloon (another name you need to know if you want to know Madison music). The event was entitled Teens for Tunes and featured performances by young artists and bands. The MAMAs love to spotlight these young people in order to highlight our charitable mission, yes, but also because they are just so damn good.
Sexy Ester was on hand to close the show, which saw performances from three outstanding youth bands: ADO, Modern Mod and the Daze (who will perform at the Madison Area Music Awards on June 23 at the Capitol Theater). Additionally, thirteen-year-old Ruby Henley and her even younger sister Ella performed a pair of songs with breathtaking poise. Sarah Corbin, who is fifteen, also braved the stage to perform two songs. All of these teens danced their hearts out to each other’s music and were clearly having the time of their lives.
When Sexy Ester hit the stage the excitement was at its peak. While watching Evans and band belt it out, I was struck not only by the fact that they are ready for wider attention, but the realization that Evans is a mentor. In fact, the whole event was organized around a comment Evans made about this particular lineup being a dream lineup for her. Evans already knows many of these band members because of her involvement in another local organization that is doing great work: Girls Rock Camp. The bands that performed at this event were equally divided between male and female with many of the females involved in Girls Rock Camp.
Here is video of Ruby Rain and Ella June Henley covering First Aid Kit's "Ghost Town" at High Noon Saloon.
Not only did these kids get a lesson in commanding a stage and putting 100% heart and blood into every note, they saw someone who cares about them. Evans got in their face as they crowded the stage. She pointed them out and gave them all praise between songs. It was clear from the band’s performance that the kids weren’t the only ones having a great time. Afterward, she took pictures with lots of the kids and fans.
These teens also got a more subconscious message, one of confidence and self-esteem. They know how much work it takes to create and perform music. This lesson in poise will motivate them not only to do better things musically, but to be better people. They will always remember this day and it’s likely that in the future they will be the mentors inspiring the next generation.
Studies show that music may stimulate other areas of learning, particularly language, math and science. While that may be true, there are other important effects as well. Music gives young people a sense of purpose that carries over into other parts of their lives. They will stay in school if they are involved in music; their lives will have more purpose and meaning; they will understand the feeling of accomplishment as they create and realize their musical ideas and ideals; if their parents are supportive they will honor family ties with greater enthusiasm.
These are the reasons why we do the MAMAs, and this is why people like Sexy Ester and the Pretty Mama Sisters are so willing to give their time and energy back to the community. Musicians know what music has meant to them, and they know that music can change the world if we all want it to.