Options To Increase State Park Funds, Best Wisconsin Music Of 2016, Divorce Rate At Lowest In Decades

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Divorce rates in the nation are an almost forty-year low. We discuss what factors might be contributing to that significant decline. We take a look back at some of the best music to come out of Wisconsin this year, and we talk to an environmental reporter about a new report featuring options to increase state park funds.

Featured in this Show

  • Department of Natural Resources Offers Funding Options For State Parks

    In 2015 Republican legislators ended all state support for Wisconsin’s parks in the budget, leaving parks to survive on only fees. This budget action left the state parks with a structural deficit of $1.4 million per year. Earlier this month the Department of Natural Resources created a report to lawmakers that outline options to generate more money for the parks. We talk to an environmental reporter about these options and what kind of reaction they’re getting.

  • The Best Wisconsin Music of 2016

    We talk to a music writer about some of his favorite Wisconsin-made music of 2016.

  • From Rock To R&B: Wisconsin's Best Music Of 2016

    Wisconsin music lovers were able to beam with pride after Eau Claire indie-folk experimentalists Bon Iver received their third Grammy nomination for their recent studio album, “22, A Million.” But the group from western Wisconsin – who won the Grammy for best new artist in 2012 – isn’t the only musical talent coming out of the state.

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s music critic, Piet Levy, joined WPR’s “Central Time” to talk about up-and-coming Wisconsin artists whose musical styles range from folk to rap to neo-soul. Here are some of his recommendations:

    Dead Horses – Oshkosh

    All I Really Need to Know”

    With roots in folk music, Dead Horses has a sound that is heavily influenced by the band’s frontwoman Sarah Vos.

    “She’s a really strong songwriter,” Levy said. “Her songs are very beautiful, very painful and kind of sad.”

    The band has grown since its inception in Oshkosh, and Levy praised the latest album which had producer and Wilco drummer Ken Coomer as a collaborator.

    “These songs are so strong,” he said. “Really beautiful, really well done.”

    Trapper Schoepp – Milwaukee

    “Settlin or Sleepin Around”

    Schoepp’s music contrasts with a lot of the popular folksy, Americana music coming out of Wisconsin. Levy described the 25-year-old singer-songwriter’s sound as heavily influenced by Tom Petty’s music.

    “It’s very kind of roots rocky,” he said.

    When Schoepp made his debut in 2011, Levy said his confident and witty songwriting and production skill stood out, but it was on his latest album, “Rangers & Valentines” that Levy said Schoepp honed in on his sound. The album also had input from the McRary Sisters and Brendan Benson, who was best known for working alongside Jack White as a member of The Raconteurs.

    “Ultimately, despite all the guests and bells and whistles … at the center are some really clever, sharp, instantly accessible and sweeping songs. Schoepp is just such a strong songwriter,” Levy said.

    Trapo – Madison

    “She Moved On”

    At just 18 years old, Trapo’s music is already getting nods from the indie music and rap blog Pigeons and Planes, which regarded him as “one of rap’s rising stars.” To Levy, what stood out about the young rapper’s style is his ability to seamlessly transition from one genre to another.

    “He’s really able to go from pretty strong and intense verses and rapping … to R&B-style soulful singing,” he said.

    Trapo started performing publicly at just 14 years old, after coming under the influence of his uncle who he described as a talented rapper and freestyler.

    “From a young age he was kind of destined for this,” Levy said.

    Lex Allen – Milwaukee

    “Cream and Sugar”

    Described on his website as a neo-soul pop singer similar in style to Janelle Monae and Pharrell Williams, Levy said the Milwaukee-based artist has yet to release a full album but is worth keeping an eye on.

    “All of these little songs that he’s done have been really strong. He’s got really great stage presence,” said Levy.

    A member of another Milwaukee-based artistic venture, the multi-genre collective New Age Narcissism, Allen has drawn on fellow NAN member, WebsterX’s talent to craft his popular single “Cream and Sugar.”

    “He’s working on his full length-album which is coming out in 2017…(and I) can’t wait to hear it,” Levy said.

    B-Free – Milwaukee

    “No More”

    On her sophomore album, “Ode 2 A Luv Affair,” B-Free’s songs tell the story of a woman going through the various stages of a romantic relationship, Levy said.

    “It’s in the vein of Jill Scott, about a woman going through a difficult relationship and kind of finding recovery at the end,” he said.

    Levy added B-Free’s own challenge of almost losing her voice and having to get vocal chord surgery was an experience that further enriched her album.

    “That album, I think, is especially rich because she’s able to get out these words, that, for a while there, was touch and go as she could,” he said.

    REYNA – Milwaukee

    “Spill Your Colours”

    Led by the Banuelos sisters, Vic and Gabby, who were formerly part of the pop-rock group Vic and Gab, REYNA’s song “Spill Your Colours” feels like a blast from the past.

    “There’s definitely 80s influences in this pop group,” Levy said.

    Since Vic and Gab’s farewell show a year ago, he said the sisters have worked with industry songwriters and have rebranded and returned as REYNA, which has a more dynamic sound.

    “They’ve released four songs so far, and all four of them are just superb,” Levy said.

    Melvv – Cedarburg

    “Goodbye” (Feat. MOONZz)

    Melvv is the stage name of electronic music artist Jeffrey Melvin, a University of Wisconsin student and DJ who already boasts 40,000 followers on SoundCloud.

    “He’s largely done instrumentals and remixes,” Levy said, adding that “Goodbye” is one of his first songs with a pop element, which is likely one of his most popular, too.

    “(The song) just exploded and was number one on HypeMachine,” said Levy.

  • U.S. Divorce Rates Drop to Nearly 40-Year Low

    A new study from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research shows that divorce rates in the United States are at an almost 40-year low. A family studies expert tells us why fewer people are getting divorced and more people are getting married.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Lee Bergquist Guest
  • Piet Levy Guest
  • Stephanie Coontz Guest
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Haleema Shah Producer

Related Stories