Road Trip Part 2: Charlie Parr, Liz Draper, Kyle Ollah and Clancy Ward play with The Sapsuckers in Soldiers Grove

You know the John Keats’ line – Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter – from Ode on a Grecian Urn? Keats didn’t live during COVID19; I’m here to tell you that heard melodies are sweeter. We were reminded of that Sunday night (Jul 26) at The Yellow -BelliedSapsuckers in Soldiers Grove.

We went to see Charlie Parr, Liz Draper, Kyle Ollah and Clancy Ward play with The Sapsuckers in a field. I don’t know if there were 50 people (musicians and production crew included). It felt very safe being outside and with distancing. But it was live music, a real show and somehow we got front row. Maybe because we didn’t have lawn chairs and people thoughtfully let us move up. Also up front was shading more quickly and I might have looked like I was going to burn up if I didn’t get shade soon.

It was so hot, so humid. The weather report in the morning would have kept weaker music fans home but we were happy to make the drive. We pulled up just in time. I had my first meal of the day in hand – Wisconsin Gas Station beef jerky and cheese curds, potato chips and Wonderstuff beer. It tasted wonderful. And the music washed over us like a charm.

Liz, Kyle and Clancy had just finished a multi-day boat tour (Pontour) of popup concerts down the Mississippi to raise funds for NAACP Defense Fund. I had seen them days before on their launch show in St Paul. In fact Charlie joined that show for a few songs too. Clearly, I’m a fan. So I knew seeing them would be just what the doctor ordered for my pandemic ennui. And it was perfect. The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers were new to me. I loved their very twangy music and the humor in their song. They spoke about a song channel – writing a song based on lines from a novel. The lines are skating on being over the top in the most charming way. They have a series of shows coming up over the next few weeks at their place in Soldiers Grove. Definitely worth checking out – it will feel like 2019!

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