Category Archives: Blues Music

Altered Five

The Monroe Balloon & Blues Festival is proud to announce that the Altered Five Band will be playing live Friday, June 14th, 2019 8:30-10:00pm.

ALTERED FIVE BIO

“Ripping up the Midwest band scene for over a decade” – Living Blues

“An outstanding blues and soul band… barrel-chested frontman Jeff Taylor’s voice is gloriously gritty” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

JEFF TAYLOR Lead Vocals
JEFF SCHROEDL Guitar
MARK SOLVESON Bass
RAYMOND TEVICH Keyboards​
ALAN ARBER Drums

For 17 years, Altered Five Blues Band has been winning audiences with a swaggering stomp of bruising, barrelhouse grit. According to Downbeat magazine, frontman Jeff Taylor “sings powerfully” and “Jeff Schroedl’s live-wire guitar reaches the high bar of mixed invention and fluidity.” Blues Bytes magazine declares the group features “the funkiest rhythm section outside of Memphis.”

For its fourth album, Charmed & Dangerous, the Milwaukee-based quintet joined forces with Blind Pig Records, one of the world’s premiere blues labels. Produced by multi-Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge, and featuring guests on harmonica and backing vocals, the 13 tracks of original, contemporary blues prove worthy of the recent groundswell of acclaim. American Blues Scene proclaimed the album, “will be making huge waves… one of the year’s best!,” and the title track has been in regular rotation on SiriusXM’s Bluesville for more than a year. The band was nominated for a prestigious Blues Music Award in the category of Best Emerging Artist Album, and the song “Cookin’ in Your Kitchen” won Blues Song of the Year at the 2018 Independent Music Awards.

The group’s third album, Cryin’ Mercy, reached #3 in the iTunes blues store, hit #1 on the Roots Music Report blues album chart, and won Best Self-Released CD at the 2015 International Blues Challenge. The band was also named Blues Artist of the Year at the 2014 WAMI Award Show, and was recently asked to contribute a track (“Tightrope”) to a Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute album being released in 2019.

Charmed & Dangerous delivers blood-pumping blues with a fiery mix of deft songwriting and simmering musicianship. Taylor’s smoldering baritone howls in the opening title track, and breaths fire-and-brimstone on cuts like “On My List to Quit” and “Three Alarm Desire.” The soul-drenched “Eighth Wonder” and scrapyard shuffle “Mint Condition” showcase A5’s songcraft, while “Cookin’ In Your Kitchen” and “If Your Heart Went Public” prove you can still rattle the rafters with pure, stone-cold slow blues. The album’s third track, “Three Forks,” was inspired by legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson and features music, adapted with permission, from the seminal classic “Crossroads.” Hambridge also plays drums on all 13 tracks, adding even more energy and authenticity to the record. ​ “Charmed & Dangerous” won Song of the Year at the 2018 Wisconsin Music Awards.
​From day one, Altered Five dared to be different. The quintet formed in 2002 and earned a reputation for its inventive arrangements and distinctive sound. Isthmus magazine called the band “a rising blues unit” and OnMilwaukee.com declared, “The group delivers the element of surprise.”

Within a few years, Altered Five caught the ear of Cold Wind Records and, in 2008, signed a recording contract with the Minneapolis blues label. The debut album featured the band’s penchant for putting an earthy spin on numbers; the aptly titled Bluesified included roadhouse versions of ten popular songs. The group performed live on three television morning shows and honed its sound playing regular club, festival, and concert dates.

​​​In the ensuing years, Altered Five turned its attention to recording and performing its own material, and the 2012 release of Gotta Earn It drew rave reviews. Barrelhouse Blues called it “a great and powerful recording,” Downbeat commended its “solid songs,” Living Blues called the band “a tight, unified talent” and Big City Rhythm & Blues called A5 “Hands down, one of the best newer blues/R&B bands.”

The band’s third album, entitled Cryin’ Mercy, delivered the next chapter in Altered Five’s musical odyssey. The 11-song set is a fierce collection of original, contemporary blues fused with vintage soul, and the debut release for OmniVibe Records. With Hambridge at the helm, the band hit on all cylinders. “JT” Taylor’s powerful voice anchors the sound and drives home the message in songs like the roaring opener “Demon Woman”; the stinging strut of “Stay Outta My Business,” the vivacious shuffle “I’m in Deep,” the soul-soaked ballad “Find My Wings,” and sassy ”Counterfeit Lover.” The album earned the band two Blues Blast Award nominations and five WAMI Award nominations, including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year (“Find My Wings”). “Find My Wings” also made it to the finals of the International Songwriting Competition.

Bassist Mark Solveson anchors the rock-solid rhythm section with drummer Alan Arber, who joined the band in 2017, and Raymond Tevich melds his crafty keyboard work to top off the group’s signature sound. It’s been said that “the blues is a feeling,” so when the Minneapolis Star Tribune states that the band is a “righteous blast,” you know they play it right.

Check them out at: https://www.alteredfive.com/

2019 BLUES BANDS LINE-UP

Friday, June 14th, 2019 6:30-8:00pm:

Dave Potter Trio
featuring Madison Slim on harmonica



Friday, June 14th, 2019 8:30-10:00pm:

Altered Five




Saturday, June 15th, 2019 2:30-4:00pm: 

Birddog Blues Band




Saturday, June 15th, 2019 4:30-6:00pm:

Ivy Ford Band



Saturday, June 15th, 2019 6:30-8:00pm:

Dave Fields



Saturday, June 15th, 2019 8:30-10:00pm: 

Brandon Santini 

Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked a lot of questions regarding our Balloon & Blues Event each year and always refer people to our FAQ page. Here are the top 7, that may answer your questions:

          1. DO YOU OFFER BALLOON FLIGHTS?
            Sorry, our festival does not offer balloon rides to the public, due to the additional licensing and insurance required. We do recommend contacting a group like the WI Balloon Group at or Balloon Group of IL. These organization’s will help you find reputable and licensed balloon operators who can schedule a ride. Many will also have larger balloons that can accommodate several people, which can reduce the per person cost.
          2. IS THERE A COST TO THE EVENT?
            Admission is FREE to the Balloon and Blues Festival, but if you want to park inside the Green County Fairgrounds, the cost is $3. Our event able to run due to dedicated  volunteers and gracious local business sponsors. We of course hope that you will participate by purchasing parking, food, drinks, and other items while at the event as many of the booths are run by local non-profits and small businesses.
          3. WHEN DO THE BALLOONS GO UP AND GLOW?
            Hot Air Balloon Launches are scheduled for Friday & Saturday evening at 6:00pm., as well as Saturday morning at 6:00am.
            Hot Air Balloon Glows are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30pm on the Fairgrounds. (*Please note that flights may be postponed due to weather concerns. Please watch our Facebook and Twitter page for live updates.)
          4. WHAT BLUES BANDS ARE PLAYING? 
            We have some of the best Blues Bands in this region, and probably the country, in our humble opinion. This year we are pleased to feature: Dave Potter Trio
            featuring Madison Slim on harmonica
            , Altered Five, Birddog Blues Band, Ivy Ford Band, Dave Fields, Brandon Santini . For more information and schedule please visit our Blues Page.
          5. HOW MANY BALLOONS WILL BE IN THE FESTIVAL?
            We generally have between 12-16 balloons.
          6. CAN WE BRING OUR OWN CHAIRS AND ALCOHOL?
            PLEASE, feel free to bring in chairs, blanket or other items to watch the bands, have a picnic or watch the balloon events. BUT, Carry in alcohol is prohibited on the grounds! So, please do not bring alcohol into the grounds. We will have a licensed beer tent available for those who wish to partake
          7. LEASHED DOGS ARE WELCOME
            Please remember to pick up after your dog and that they must remain under your control at all times.