Last week we explored Greg Ziesemer’s story and how he came to be a proud Madisonian. This week we pick up the other half of the story with his wife, Kriss Luckett.

Kriss’s first experience with Madison actually preceded her relationship with Greg. She and a previous partner were camping at Clifty Falls and ventured downtown for a cup of coffee. Much to their surprise and delight, the coffee shop had a singer playing original music. (The Red Roaster still continues this tradition with The Chestnuts playing every first Friday at 6 p.m.)

“What an awesome little town,” Kriss remembered saying. It wasn’t long after this that Kriss and Greg started performing as a duo in Indianapolis where they lived, though they weren’t dating yet. And this was also about the time Greg was frequenting Madison to visit an old friend and play solo gigs at Thomas Family Winery.

“Greg actually called me from the Winery one night,” Kriss said. “He told me how cool Thomas Family was to play, and also how vibrant the music scene was here in Madison. He said it felt like a big city music spot.”

“So I came down with Greg to play as a duo at the winery, it was 2003. And the response was great,” Kriss said. “We started playing covers of popular hits because we assumed that’s what people wanted to hear, but pretty quickly people started calling for our original songs.”

“Soon after that, around 2005, Greg and I started dating. And we were coming to Madison so much on weekends we decided to buy a house, to save on motels if nothing else,” Kriss said. “I got a job here, and Greg moved his furniture restoration business. We got married and I had our son, Jack, about 10 years ago.”

As it happens, Greg and Kriss don’t perform in Madison as much as they used to.

“We’re playing more back up in Indy, oddly enough,” Kriss said. “A lot of festivals, house concerts, things like that.

“The venues in Madison don’t focus on original music as much as they used to, not like back in the days of Joey G’s,” Kriss continued. “Joey really built the roots of the music scene here and he showcased a lot of local songwriting talent.”

Speaking of songwriting, Kriss is enjoying a very prolific period right now.

“I have about 25 new songs that I’m waiting to record and start performing. Plus more are coming all the time,” she said. “I’m kind of maturing as a songwriter, moving past simple love songs and getting more into life experience and stories.”

I asked Kriss to share a little morsel of her new songwriting, and she obliged.

“I’m working on a new song titled ‘Somedays,’ and the chorus goes ‘Sticks and stones are made of the bones from others’ painful past.’ The phrases just come to me at the oddest times. Sometimes even in my dreams. I feel like songs are sort of gifts.”

Gifts we can all enjoy every time Kriss Luckett and Greg Ziesemer perform their special brand of Americana musical magic.



HOT TIP OF THE WEEK:

At the old Ross Theater in Scottsburg they are having regular live music under the banner Ross Country Jamboree. You can Google for a complete schedule, but this Friday and Saturday they have country star Gene Watson opening for Greg Perkins Band. Gene’s signature song is “Farewell Party.” Tickets for this show are higher than usual at $35. Friday at the Thomas Family Winery looks like fun with “Fiddle Wizard” Brian McClure doing St. Paddy’s Party duties. Dancing is sure to ensue!

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 charlie@madisoncourier.com


THIS WEEK IN MUSIC - March 14, 2019

Thursday, March 14:

Off Broadway Taproom — Wes Smith

Friday, March 15:

Thomas Family Winery — St. Paddy Party, Brian McClure

Off Broadway Taproom — Flatland Harmony Experiment

Moose – Senior dance, with Steel Country (6 p.m.)

Scottsburg Ross Country Jamboree — Gene Watson & Greg Perkins

Saturday, March 16:

Off Broadway Taproom — LLC

Thomas Family Winery — Ragged Arse Tinkers

VFW — Southern Compromise

L&L Lounge — Joker’s Wild

Moose — Diamondback

American Legion —Still Country (no smoking)

Scottsburg Ross Country Jamboree — Gene Watson & Greg Perkins

Sunday, March 17:

Off Broadway Taproom — Davy or Darryl

Tuesday, March 19:

Louisville Palace, Experience Hendrix Tour