Greg Ziesemer’s best friend growing up in Indianapolis was a kid named Mark Cicenas. They were teenage runnin’ buddies, fellow songwriters, and bandmates. But as often happens, Mark got married and moved away. Little did Greg know his old friend would someday alter the trajectory of his life.

Fast forward about 20 years, and Greg is owner of a busy antique furniture restoration company in Indy.

“The Indiana State Museum sent me down here in 1998 for a couple weeks to restore the furniture at the Lanier Mansion,” Greg said. “I was staying at the Whitehall B&B, but I was pretty bored in the evenings.

“Then one night I remembered, wasn’t Madison the town where my old friend Mark moved? He married Susan White. So I looked him up in the phone book, he answers, and I say ‘Mark?’ and he says ‘Hey Greg, how you doing?’ Just like that! We hadn’t talked in 20 years and he knows my voice from one word.”

Greg and Mark rekindled their relationship, including their old songwriting collaboration. On one of his visits from Indy to Madison, Greg picked up a gig at Thomas Family Winery and started to engage in the local music scene. He also started to bring his friend and new performing partner Kris Luckett for duo shows at the Winery.

Then around 2008, Madison reached out and grabbed Greg and Kris for keeps.

“By this time Kris and I were a couple, coming down from Indy on weekends,” Greg said. “Out of the blue Kris gets offered a job at the old Artful Living interior design shop here in Madison. She took the job, we moved here that year, got married that same year, and our son Jack was born the next year.”

Greg and Kris have been a professional duo for 17 years now, having played from Chicago to North Carolina to Nashville and all points in between. And as you may have heard lately, Greg is also involved in a new band called Steamship with Robert Reynolds, Darryl Hewitt, and Mark Bear.

Greg has a vision for the Madison music scene. “We have to focus on original music if we want to stand out,” Greg said. “Original music is what elevates it from just a performing community to a true creative community.”

“We have so many great music craftsmen here,” Greg said, slipping into the vernacular of his furniture restoration profession. “Jimmy Davis, my wife Kris, the Chestnuts, Rusty Bladen, Robert Reynolds and Amy Noel. Plus Joel Curtis has just moved here.”

“It’s got to be original if Madison is going to elevate to the next level,” Greg insisted. “That’s what will set us apart. And I feel like we need to educate the community about the importance of supporting and sponsoring live, original music.”


The Madison Performing Arts Foundation is bringing a great show to Trinity United Methodist this Friday. Celtica is a Celtic band, as the name suggests, and it has a dynamic and authentic sound. The six-piece band will be playing keyboard, hammered dulcimer, field organ, hurdy gurdy, bowed psaltery, harp, guitars, fiddle, bagpipe, penny whistle, Irish bouzouki, bodhran drum and mandolin. Admission is free, show time is 7 p.m.

Charlie Rohlfing is a stalwart of the RiverRoots Festival committee, a campfire guitar strummer, and a partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening. Find him out and about or at

This Week in Music

Thursday, March 7:

Off Broadway Taproom — Arlie Box

Friday, March 8:

Trinity United Methodist — Celtica

(see “Hot Tips” for details)

Off Broadway Taproom —

Jordan Wilson Coalition

Moose — Senior dance,

with Steel Country (6 p.m.)

Saturday, March 9:

Off Broadway Taproom —

The “Famous” Amy Noel

Thomas Family Winery — The Rashers

VFW — Stacy and the Wildcards

Village Lights Bookstore —

Tom Schneider, piano (3 p.m.)

Sunday, March 10:

Off Broadway Taproom — Davy or Darryl