Best of Milwaukee 2022: Milwaukee Music

Acoustic Musician

Evan Christian

Chicago-born, Milwaukee-raised musician Evan Christian studied flamenco guitar in Madrid, Spain. He mixes blues, soul and R&B with what Jelly Roll Morton coined the “Spanish tinge.” With his trademark bowler hat, Christian has been a regular performer at the Jazz Estate, the East Side club of which he has been rumored to become part owner. (Blaine Schultz)


Catelyn Picco

Jake Williams

The Nightinjails

Old country band

Rebel Grace

This group of five seasoned local musicians teamed up in 2010 to become favorites in the alt-country scene along with a number of other genres. Their take on contemporary country music has developed a growing list of fans across the state. Check them out and rock out. (Harry Cherkinian)


Dan Lepien

Jim Gaff Band

road crew

Bluegrass Band / Folk Band

The Whiskey Belles

Last year purists scoffed at characterizing the Whiskeybelles as a Bluegrass band. This year pearls have been clutched in the name of folk music. Where will this madness end? Let’s just agree that with music based in traditional country, the female trio, who never take themselves as serious as all that, are familiar faces at local outdoor festivals. How would you define their sound? Maybe join them on a cruise in February to settle it once and for all. (Blaine Schultz)

Bluegrass Finalists:

Chicken Wire Empire

Dairyland’s Finest String Band

Zach Pietrini

Finalists Folk:

paddy grass

The Midnight Purchase

blues band

Altered Five Blues Band

The rhythm section of bassist Mark Solveson and drummer Alan Arber deliver the music with plenty of horsepower. Jeff Schroedl’s guitar lashes like the backside of a whip and Jeff Taylor’s commanding vocals drive home the hard-time lyrics. Keyboardist Raymond Tevich adds detail on piano and organ. Holler if You Hear Me was recorded in 2021 Nashville by Tom Hambridge, whose production credits include acclaimed bluesmen such as Buddy Guy and James Cotton. (David Luhrssen)

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Ivy Ford

Jonny T-Bird and the MPs

Milwaukee Blues Rock Collective

Club DJ

Mr. New York

While he may be named for The Big Apple, Mr. New York knows how to rock a party in Milwaukee properly. On any given night, you can find him spinning at one of Milwaukee’s premier clubs, with an open-format mix that leans on whatever the atmosphere calls for. With big city flare, Mr. New York will get any club in the city moving. (Allen Halas)


DJ Breezy


Ruther Krueger

Cover/tribute band


The Toys are a local institution in Milwaukee and rightly so as they celebrate their 25th anniversary. You name it, they play it. From ’80s dance and rock hits (waaay back in the 20th century) to country and all things current, The Toys offer something for everyone. (Harry Cherkinian)


Failure to launch

FM Rodeo

smart mouth

Electronic artist

Immortal Girlfriend

The duo of brothers Kevin and William Bush continue to push themselves and the subgenre of chillwave music to Milwaukee’s masses. Immortal Girlfriend have quickly become one of Milwaukee’s most buzzed about bands and added some massive singles to their catalog this year, with standouts “Beams (I Know You Like Me)” and “Someone Like You.” (Allen Halas)




Travvy Trav

jazz combo

Milwaukee Jazz Institute Ensemble

The Milwaukee Jazz Institute takes great pride in continuing the tradition of jazz throughout the city. Their Ensemble has many performance opportunities, with musicians at all skill levels encouraged to get involved. The legacy of the city’s jazz scene is in the good hands of these talented performers, who will continue to share the gift of jazz with generations to come. (Elizabeth Lintonen)


Ellen Winters Group


JRyan Trio

No seat belts

metal band

Still Stayer

Milwaukee’s heavy rock and metal scene becomes more robust with each passing year, and rockers Still Stayer made their mark on the scene this year with their impressive Everend EP. The band brings dense melodies, spacious atmosphere and hard-handed vocals, and have all the power of a well-seasoned act. Still Stayer are just one of the standout bands making plenty of noise in the city but—according to our readers—have proven themselves above the rest. (Allen Halas)


Bray Road

Imperial case

Without Annette

Music Producer

Alaria Taylor

With numerous songwriting awards under her belt already in both regional and national competitions, Alaria Taylor has shown a commitment not only to her own music, but to enhancing the careers of those around her as well. In addition to producing music, Taylor is the Milwaukee director of Chick Singer Night, a nationwide showcase that gives a platform to female artists. (Allen Halas)


Mitch Cooper

space crime

Travvy Trav

Polka ribbon

The Squeezettes

Reigning champions three years running, The Squeezettes lean into Milwaukee’s ethnic musical heritage and give it a fun update. Anchored by Mike Chaltrey’s distinct sousaphone and drummer-vocalist Michael Eells; Driven by the twin Milwaukee-centric Baldoni accordions of Linda Mueller (lead accordion) and Pamela Scesniak (rhythm accordion), this polka-inspired group blends humor and tradition. Where else but Milwaukee would you find such a high-energy band fronted by ex-burlesque chanteuse-turned-old-school torch singer, Chanel le Meaux? (Benjamin Dover)


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November criminals

Rap/hip hop artist


While there are many different lanes within Milwaukee hip hop, D’Aych chooses to move in one completely his own. His 2022 efforts include releasing an EP, as well as Mogul in the Making, an audiobook that puts his eyes on success only. Those releases are just the latest in a discography now dating back five years, with an ever-evolving sound captured along the way. D’Aych is only looking upward, and now has one more notch in his belt on the way to emerging on a larger scale. (Allen Halas)


Blakc ships

Street team hustle and bustle

Taiyamo Denku

rock band


With high energy on stage and the chops to back it up, Tigera are a band that you will not forget once you’ve seen them live. Quickly emerging to become a well-known name in local rock music, the band combines elements of power pop and classic rock, with plenty of catchy elements along the way. From stages on one side of the city to the next, the band has been turning heads, and are surely on their way to great things. (Allen Halas)


Betsy Ade and the Well Known Strangers

Blue Moon Assault

Diet Lite

fall back

Vocalist – Female

BD Greer

BD Greer’s electrifying voice has graced many stages this year, and her musicianship is an inspiring force. Invoking nostalgia for the days of Aretha Franklin, her voice boasts a rich tone color that is unmatched. BD Greer’s commitment to the art of performing makes this jazz singer a must-see for any Milwaukee music enthusiast. (Elizabeth Lintonen)


Betsy Ade

Catelyn Picco

Shanti Lleone

Vocalist – Male

AJ Kartz

First time Best of Milwaukee winner AJ Kartz is leader and founder of The Late Nites, the Milwaukee seven-piece neo-soul/funk fusion band. The sprawling group plays original music, their song “Tonight” is smoothness personified. (Blaine Schultz)


Adam Fettig

Dan Lepien

Jake Williams

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