The Midwesterners

The Midwesterners

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Rock - Roots/Rock n' Roll | Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Total Song Plays: 12,863   
Member Since: 2000
   Last Login: 6/23/2021

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The Winter Of '96 (The Story Of The Song) by R. Wiegel In 1996 I came off the road after doing 300+ shows a year with The Swing Crew and The Wisconsin Opry, for the previous six years. Even before that it had been 200+ shows a year. By now I had been performing in bands for around 30 years and my hearing was not in good shape. In fact, I even wondered if my playing days were done. So in the winter of 1996-97 I was hunkered down and reinventing my career when I wrote this song. I was also learning fingerstyle guitar, in hopes that I could play solo or duo and make more of my income in quieter venues. I think us Wisconsinites can relate to a sinking feeling in the dead of winter and wondering if spring will ever come, and holding close that hope that it actually will. So I tried to capture that feeling when I wrote this song. This video has come later, around 20 years later, and 15 years after I recorded the song. I always thought it was a good song to play around this time of year (February) but it never really got any airplay. I'm hoping the video breaths some new life into it. This was off of the second CD by The Midwesterners called 'Pretty Little Town', released in 2001. The first self-titled Midwesterner CD was released in 1991. (This is the 25 year anniversary of that CD.) Mark Haines and Dennis Reifsteck (The Swing Crew) played on both CDs, (Tom McCarty and Ernie Conner came on board a little later in 2002.) Mark and I 'hunkered' down at Coney Island Studios, recorded on 16 track analog tape, and mixed it at Smart Studios. Mark has drummed, collaborated, engineered or co-produced all 4 Midwesterners CDs but this one has his favorite sound. Spring did arrive that year, and with rest my hearing recovered some too, enough to afford me 20 more years of full-time performing.


R. Wiegel


photos and video by R. Wiegel