In Music

Alex Ballard and Sugarfoot are veterans of the Milwaukee music scene and were once named one of America's top unsigned bands by Musician Magazine.

Gig roundup: Ballard's back with Sugarfoot

Back when Milwaukee's Don't Records had a full stable of local bands of all kinds (disclaimer: including mine), Alex Ballard and Sugarfoot was one of the most promising.

After releasing the "Madeira" EP on the label in 1994, Musician Magazine called the band one of America's "Top 10 Best Unsigned Bands."

The group then released some CDs on its own, making a name for itself throughout the upper Midwest as a rock solid, American roots rock and roll band. But front man Ballard broke up the band in 1996, and reunited it two years later, only to split again – more definitively – in 2001.

Fast forward to 2012 and back in January Ballard and company played a Linneman's gig; it's first show in a decade.

Now, a mere seven months later, Sugarfoot performs at Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave., on Saturday, Aug. 25. Admission to the 8 p.m. show is $7.

Also on the bill is The Blinding Lights, a band fronted by Sugarfoot bassist Jeff Harrington.

I asked Ballard, what the band – drummer Victor Span and guitarist Jim Eannelli, along with Harrington on bass and Ballard singing and playing guitar – has been up to.

"There is a new record," he said. "We started it at Smart Studios (in Madison) and then went to five other local studios. Soon I'll be bringing it to my private studio, Top Secret Underground Bunker Studios, to finish it.

"One song dates back to the mid to late 1980s. Another song, "Million Words," was written before the last breakup of Sugarfoot, and was only played live a few times. Two other tracks were penned during this era but never performed live and the remainder of the songs I'd written post-Sugarfoot over the last 10 years. One newer song, "Lathe of Heaven," will be tracked, in addition to a song or two from Jim Eannelli.

Though Ballard declined to predict a release date for the new record, surely, you can expect to hear music from it at the show.

Some other gigs in town this week include:

The Rave hosts the Carnival of Madness Tour with Evanescence, Chevelle, Halestorm, Cavo and New Medicine on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $37 to $174 for VIP balcony experience.

Country singer Elizabeth Cook plays at Shank on Friday, Aug. 24 at 8 with Tim Carroll. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Murder By Death plays at Turner Hall Ballroom on Friday. Doors open at 7 and tickets are $13.

International chart-topping sensation Gotye headlines The Riverside at 7 p.m. Saturday. Missy Higgins and Jonti open the show, which will cost you anywhere from $39.50 to $59.50.

Meat Loaf plays The Riverside, too, the following night. Doors open at 7 and runs from $49.50 to $65.50.


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