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Public radio next for Mudcat and the Bottomfeeders after Ashley and the Arts

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James "Mudcat" Grant performs under the pavilion Saturday while playing with the Bottomfeeders for the Big River Radio Wave during the Ashley for the Arts festival in Arcadia, Wis.

ARCADIA — People tapped their toes, clapped their hands and hollered for Mudcat and the Bottomfeeders — an Americana/rock band from Winona that fed off the crowd’s energy in the pavilion at Ashley for the Arts on Saturday.

James “Mudcat” Grant of Bluff Siding, Wis., led with vocals and guitar, backed by Tim Dallman on guitar and vocals, Michael Carlucci on bass guitar and vocals, and Allen Neuman on drums. The group performed original music as well as covers of favorites.

The Bottomfeeders’ next gig is on “Spectrum West,” a radio show hosted by Al Ross of Wisconsin Public Radio. The hour-long music and variety show is taped from live performances such as “The Big River Radio Wave” at Ashley for the Arts. This show will air Sept. 5 and 6 on WPR.

Grant also donates his time to Winona Area Senior High School as the mountain biking club’s head coach.

“I do it strictly for the passion of it,” he said of the sport, which he’s been competing in since 1989. He enjoys the endurance — the challenge.

“It kind of transfers into music,” he said, adding that the energy he feels when mountain biking is similar to how he feels on stage.

Mudcat and the Bottomfeeders welcomed Dallman and Carlucci on bass and electric guitars just six months before the performance at Ashley for the Arts this weekend.

“We’re just getting started,” Grant said.

The Bottomfeeders caught Ross’s attention at a performance in Alma this spring. Ross, whose radio show visits and caters to towns along the Mississippi River, is a self-proclaimed river rat — but he doesn’t take his shows to river towns just for himself.

“The audiences really feel it. That’s what’s cool about river towns,” said Ross. “River town people are as colorful as the river in the fall.”

Mudcat and the Bottomfeeders paused between songs so comedians could give the audience a few laughs. Comedian Mary Mack of Webster, Wis., has been coming to Ashley for the Arts for the past eight years.

“(The comedy is) just really representative of the people from this area,” she said.

During the show, Mack’s humor focused on topics Midwesterners find very relatable — the troubles of hitting deer on remote highways and how Midwesterners like to sell painted gourds. Another volunteer comedian took the stage and joked about cat fishing.

“A lot of the guests and the topics on the show are supportive of the people of this community,” Mack said.

“A lot of the guests and the topics on the show are supportive of the people of this community.” Mary Mack, comedian

“A lot of the guests and the topics on the show are supportive of the people of this community.”

Mary Mack, comedian

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