Art Stevenson: Wisconsin’s Bluegrass Icon


By Eli Frieders | March 24, 2017

FacebookTwitterEmail

Listen Online

We might not have mountains here, but mountain music has been taking off in Wisconsin. Art Stevenson has been playing bluegrass in the Midwest for 25 years and for most fans, Stevenson is bluegrass in Wisconsin.

Stevenson has played guitar, harmonica, and sung regularly throughout Wisconsin since the early 1980s. His Wisconsin River Bluegrass Boys won dozens of awards in the 1980s and 1990s. 

The origins of bluegrass music can be traced to Bill Monroe, a Kentuckian who assembled a band of acoustic musicians following World War II. Country music was becoming electrified and Monroe hoped to counter that trend with his brand of music.

It was a style of music that spoke to Art Stevenson who attended one of the earliest bluegrass festivals in Wisconsin at Mole Lake. That festival began in 1976 and continued through 1993. Stevenson went on to form his own bluegrass bands but it wasn’t the only type of music that he played. Stevenson says that the interest in bluegrass in the 1980s and early 1990s wasn’t enough to sustain a career as a musician so he played other types of music as well. 

Since 1993, Art Stevenson and High Water have become Wisconsin’s best-known bluegrass show. The band’s sound comes from the close duet singing of Stevenson and his wife Stephanie. 

 

Eli Frieders

Eli Frieders is an advocate for Wisconsin’s vibrant music community
FacebookTwitterEmail
2018-02-10T23:12:15+00:00Tags: , |

Sign Up Form

Sign Up for Our Bi-Weekly Newsletter

Get your favorite Wisconsin Life stories, meet the crew, and go behind the scenes.

Our Favorite Collections

Storyteller Rodney Lambright II's comic series about the rich relationship between a single father, his young daughter and his retirement-age parents.
For the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we discover how Wisconsinites experienced the war both at home and on the battlefield.
Ice, cold and winter are an integral part of what it means to live in Wisconsin. "Ice Week" explores the many ways that ice defines us.
Food plays a central part in many holiday traditions. This series honors the foods and meals that make the day.
Escape winter with a look at some of Wisconsin's favorite sports and games.
"Living the Wisconsin Life" is an online series exploring the little things that make living in Wisconsin fun, interesting and meaningful.