Music roundup: Country music legend Milsap to perform at EPAC on Oct. 21

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Amos Lee, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, Orpheum Theater, 216 State St., Madison. Tickets: $25-$45. Call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, and at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, The Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $36-$56. Call 414-286-3663.

Singer-songwriter Amos Lee comes to Wisconsin next week with a reputation as an acoustic soul singer who incorporates folk, rock and blues in his sound.

The Philadelphia-based performer graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in English, but he soon gave up his job as an elementary school teacher to pursue a career in music. Lee began to learn guitar and write songs in college, and he started performing at the popular Tin Angel music club in Philly in 2002.

Lee broke onto the national music scene in 2004 when he toured with Norah Jones. Inspired by such artists as John Prine, James Taylor and Bill Withers, he performs a wide range of melodies and emotions.

Lee has released six albums since his self-titled debut in 2005, the year he toured as an opening act for Bob Dylan. His greatest commercial success came with the release of his fourth album, 2011's “Mission Bell,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and featured guest performances from Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and others.

In 2013, Lee released his fifth album, “Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song,” which peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 chart. Last year, he released “Spirit,” an album of 13 original songs that debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.

The Artimus Pyle Band, 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave., Madison. Tickets: $35-$75. Call 608-241-8633.

Artimus Pyle was the “wild man” drummer for the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1974 to 1977, and again from 1987 to 1991. He survived the 1977 plane crash that killed bandleader Ronnie Van Zant and several other members of the band.

He formed the Artimus Pyle Band in 1982 and released two albums (“A.P.B.” and “Nightcrawler”) before joining the Rossington Collins Band in 1979. He later revived Lynyrd Skynyrd in '87 and toured with the group until 1991, when he quit over frustrations with the band's use of drugs and alcohol.

A few years later, he reformed the Artimus Pyle Band with new members. The band has released two albums, “Live From Planet Earth” in 2000 and “Artimus Venomus” in 2007.

The five-piece group has since evolved into a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute act, featuring Pyle on drums, Brad Durden on keyboards and vocals, guitarists Scott Raines and Jerry Lyda, and Dave Fowler on bass guitar. It has opened for The Rolling Stones, The Who and the Marshall Tucker Band, among others.

Deer Tick, 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $25. Call 608-255-0901.

Deer Tick's upcoming Madison gig will feature two sets that reflect the band's latest work, “Deer Tick Vol. 1” and “Deer Tick Vol. 2.”

Released earlier this year, the albums are products of the band's two approaches to its music—acoustic and introspective, and loud and raucous. The first volume features the four-member band in an acoustic setting, while the second turns up the heat with an electric version of its songs.

The band will perform two sets at the Majestic, the first acoustic and the next electric. Lead guitarist Ian O'Neil said the different approaches represent two sides of the band, and Deer Tick didn't want to limit itself to one sound.

The band has released seven albums since its 2007 debut. McCauley began to form Deer Tick that year, enlisting the help of two brothers, drummer Dennis Ryan and bassist Chris Ryan, to record the band's debut, “War Elephant.” Deer Tick recorded its second album, “Born on Flag Day,” in 2008.

O'Neil joined the band on lead guitar the next year, and the band released its third album, “Black Dirt Sessions,” in June 2010. It recorded its fourth album, the loud and raw “Divine Providence,” in 2011 and the notably quieter “Negativity” two years later.

Ronnie Milsap, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, Edgerton Performing Arts Center, 200 Elm High Drive, Edgerton. Tickets: $75. Call 608-561-6093.

Country music singer Ronnie Milsap was born with a genetic disorder that left him essentially blind, but it didn't stop him from becoming a gifted pianist and vocalist who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

After attending a school for the blind in his home state of North Carolina, Milsap decided in 1964 to pursue a career in music. The next year, he signed with a New York-based record company and met Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder—two other blind pianists, singers and songwriters. By the late '60s, Milsap had moved to Memphis and was working as a session musician, playing piano on songs recorded by Elvis Presley.

Milsap recorded his first album as a solo artist in 1971 and moved to Nashville. There he met county star Charley Pride, who encouraged him to focus on country music. In 1974, Milsap toured with Pride as an opening act and had two No. 1 singles: “Pure Love” and the Kris Kristofferson composition “Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends,” which won Milsap his first Grammy Award.

In 1975, Milsap released a single, “(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time,” and scored another No. 1 hit with “Daydreams About Night Things.”

He became one of country music's biggest stars in the mid-1970s with a string of No. 1 singles that included the Grammy-winning “(I'm a) Stand By My Woman Man” and “What a Difference You've Made in My Life.” His biggest hit of the decade came with the release of “It Was Almost Like a Song” in 1977.

Milsap has had a distinguished career that has scored hits in pop, country and adult contemporary genres and resulted in numerous awards, including seven Grammys.

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