Grammy-nominated Rick Monroe to play in Oconto Falls

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He and Scott Wilson to perform acoustic set at S&S

Stephanie Ortiz, Times Herald Correspondent

Rick Monroe has recorded four full-length albums and three EPs. He also has several charted singles and will perform with Scott Wilson at S&S Hometown Bar & Restaurant on Friday, Feb. 22. (Contributed photo)

Country music artist Rick Monroe and Scott Wilson of the rock band Saving Abel are performing an acoustic show at S&S Hometown Bar and Restaurant in Oconto Falls on Friday.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 the day of the show, and they are available at the venue, 211 S. Maple Ave., or Doors will open for the concert at 8 p.m.

Eleven-time Grammy-nominated Monroe is collaborating with Mississippi rocker Wilson for a series of acoustic shows in small Midwest venues for the Legacy of the Bright Minds Tour. The last time Wilson performed in Oconto Falls was at Happy Jacks to a sold-out crowd.

For this concert, special guest Tim Pszanka, originally from Sobieski, will kick off the music, and local band Jamie Fontaine & the Level will close out the night. Monroe and Wilson are friends who have worked together before, despite their different musical backgrounds.

“Honestly, with Scott and I, I don’t know what the audience can expect,” Monroe said. “We’re going to play together, do a writer’s round, take turns and have some banter.”

It is important for Monroe to establish connections with his listeners. He runs all his own social media and tries to talk directly with his followers. He is particularly looking forward to this tour because he believes acoustic performances help break down barriers between musicians and their fans.

“With acoustic shows, it is more about the songwriting. Playing with a band is loud and crazy. But during acoustic shows, you can explain the meaning and the audience can see the artist more,” Monroe said. “It is more intimate.”

Monroe and his band released a new album in September titled “Smoke Out the Window,” which fuses country, rock, folk and pop.

“I got to record with my touring band and was more involved in the song selection. A lot of the songs I wrote myself rather than co-writing. The album is a more organic sound, featuring different styles of music but having a cohesive sound,” Monroe said.

After Friday’s show in Oconto County, Monroe and Wilson will continue their tour in Sturgeon Bay on Saturday, followed by a concert in Appleton on Sunday. Monroe and his band also plan on coming back to Wisconsin for Country Fest and Brat Fest later this year.

While Monroe is based in Nashville, Tennessee, he said he feels at home in Wisconsin and always enjoys playing for the Midwest crowds.

“I look forward to Spotted Cow, squeaky cheese and brats. I think Wisconsin has eight to 10 of the biggest party cities in America, so you can’t go wrong with that,” he said. “Even if it’s cold, you get out and drink, so it is always a good time. Wisconsin and the Midwest have always been very good to us.”

Country music is more about a lifestyle, Monroe said. “The people that connect with country music live it. As cliche as bonfires and tailgates are, that is what people do. It is about friends, family and the country.”