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New album raising money for marsh

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Music for the marsh

The latest project by Mike Starling brings together music and photos to support the Friends of the Marsh project in La Crosse.

A local record label is helping raise funds and awareness for La Crosse’s natural resources.

Momentous Records is teaming up with Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh on the release of Backwaters, the new instrumental music album by Mike Starling. The label is making the music available free to download for a limited time. In return, the group requests a donation to the Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh to help preserve local wetlands.

Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh will also be an integral part in the visual side of Starling’s new release. Marsh photography by John F. Sullivan and Roger Averbeck will be featured in the videos being produced for the album.

“John and Roger have spent many years capturing the beauty of the marsh and its wildlife, and we’re stoked to showcase some of their finest photography with my music,” Starling says. “It’s a natural tie-in since these new recordings were inspired by living here along the Upper Mississippi and our other local waterways. The La Crosse River Marsh is one of my favorite places to escape — I’ve spent a lot of time hiking and biking on the trails there.”

“Music created by local artists has a way of capturing the essence of our places, spiriting us back to the landscapes that define us,” says Chuck Lee, president of Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh, a volunteer-run nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, protect and enhance the marsh through action, advocacy and education. “This is why Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh is honored that Mike Starling and Momentous Records wanted to partner with us on the release of their new album.”

Starling is familiar to music fans in the Driftless Region. As a writer for the La Crosse Tribune, he covered the music and arts beat for many years, and produced and co-hosted the “From the Middle Border” show on Wisconsin Public Radio.

He also played in a number of original music groups including Buzz Butler, Bean Hoy, Betty Brain and the Joe Price blues band. His latest recording is Backwaters, a collection of guitar-based improvisations inspired by the waterways of the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

Learn more and make donations at

Stream and download the album at


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