By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jun 02, 2009 at 8:40 AM

It was bold for Willy Porter to play his new release, "How to Rob a Bank" (Weasel Records) in its entirety at his nearly sold out May 1 show at the Pabst Theater.

Few had heard the new tunes and passionate fans always want the "classics," not the new stuff. Yet, Porter more than pulled it off, showcasing his clever, wise and insightful songwriting on a home stage in front of a crowd that has watched him grow, strengthen and succeed through the years.

Equally solid is his seventh release, which officially hits today. It, like many of Porter's discs and songs, captures life. From the funny marriage melody, "I Didn't Bring it Up" (co-written with Paul Cebar), to the self portrait, "Too Big to Sell," it's a disc full of styles, forms and probably -- most importantly -- a little estrogen.

Yes, estrogen. Porter recruited the women of Los Angeles-based Raining Jane for vocal harmonies, cello, sitar and percussion on many of the tracks.

Now don't take this the wrong way, Porter didn't necessarily need the female boost, but it really makes the record sing, especially on the wonderful tracks "Lemon Tree" and "Wide Open Mind."

I've already written about the title track, and I really think it has a chance to break Porter out of his happily-under-the-radar status. It's a humorous, would-be bank robber's pre-heist confessional done with wit, humor, personality and a bit of "these current economic times" irony.

The entire disc is backed by Porter's usual band of Dave Adler (keyboards), Steve Kleiber (bass) and Dave Schoepke (drums / percussion).

Willy Porter
"How To Rob A Bank" (Weasel Records, 2009)
1. Learning the Language
2. Colored Lights
3. I Didn't Bring It Up
4. Hard Place
5. The Lemon Tree
6. Wide Open Mind
7. How To Rob a Bank
8. Too Big To Sell
9. Fear Only Fear
10. Psychic Vampire
11. Barefoot Reel

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.