The Water Street Jacks, a band made up of four Sauk Prairie School District educators, will be selling CDs for the first time at their June Tunes performance June 11.

The event runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Meyer Oak Grove Park in Sauk City. CDs will be available for purchase at the event, but they are also available online.

“This will be our third summer of playing gigs. Last summer was the first summer where we really played a lot,” said Water Street Jacks Lead Vocalist and Guitarist and Sauk Prairie Middle School Principal Ted Harter.

The band played most of its early shows at the Woodshed Ale House on Jackson Street in Sauk City before the bar known for live music closed in 2017.

Matt Brennan, who plays keys for the band, said he would describe the Water Street Jacks’ sound as a mix of a few different genres.

“Americana, I think that’s kind of our niche genre,” Brennan said. “Folk rock americana, a little taste of (old) country.”

Harter said “people who like Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers, Lumineers (would like Water Street Jacks) but there’s a lot of lesser known bands out there that we cover that I think influence our sound. The Wild Feathers is a good example.”

The band recently hit two milestones: performing at High Noon Saloon and being scheduled to perform at Summerfest.

The High Noon Saloon performance was live recorded for the CDs.

“It’s a daily text message stream,” Harter said of the band’s excitement over playing at Summerfest.

Harter said the band was grateful to have had the mentorship of John Hauser, the lead singer of the Love Monkeys and an agent for The Entertainment Company in New Berlin.

“He’s a band and music leader, and he’s been a mentor to us all the way along (with) Summerfest preparing and getting all our materials ready,” Harter said. “(It’s) more than 25 years that he’s been performing at or working with groups performing at Summerfest.”

Owen Murphy, who plays Mandolin for the band, said the Water Street Jacks often find themselves overcoming certain expectations that come with being a band made up of teachers.

“Being a teacher band, there’s a certain expectation,” Murphy said. “But as we got more serious… we kind of transitioned out of that idea… We’re not like a traditional cover band. We are covering songs, they’re just a little more obscure within the genre.”

As the band has performed, it’s picked up fans along the way.

“Our very first show at the Woodshed, there was a couple who said ‘You guys are now our favorite band in Sauk Prairie,’” Fester said. They’ve since been to every show.

In the future, Water Street Jacks hopes to do a studio recording of their music.

For now, the band is looking forward to performing at June Tunes.

“It’s going to be the kick off really to our summer,” Harter said. “Having Sauk Prairie be a live music destination is a dream that we all have, and I think it’s becoming a reality.”

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl or contact him at 608-697-6353


Juneau County Star-Times reporter

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