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Angie on TMJ4 Segment, “Paramount Records’ history in Ozaukee County”

Vocal Demo: Midnight Train to Georgia

Vocalist: Angie Mack Reilly

Educational: R & B Super Hits, Hal Leonard
R & B Vocal Demo

Blues Research Female Entrepreneur Paramount Records

Angie Featured in Delta Download Mississippi Blues Blog

A Note from Blues Writer Denise Leisz

“Angie Mack Reilly lives on the Mississippi Blues Trail—in Grafton, Wisconsin—home to legendary Paramount Records. The Paramount label introduced such blues greats as Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Tommy Johnson, Ishmon Bracey and Henry Townsend, who today are among the most important figures in early 20th-century American music. More about Angie and her work at

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Angie on Sessions with Sandy through Milwaukee’s Riverwest Radio 7.26.20

music history Paramount Records

Grafton Wisconsin History

Embracing The Legacy Of The Blues / From the South To The North by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman Part 2. Grafton, WI and Paramount Records

Embracing The Legacy Of The Blues / From the South To The North

By Michael “Hawkeye” Herman

Part 2. Grafton, WI and Paramount Records

originally published in the international BLUES FESTIVAL GUIDE 2006

also published at

History, dreams, meaningful coincidences, timing, synchronicity, networking, and the blues, can come together to transform a community.

Grafton, Wisconsin is a town of 11,000 inhabitants approximately 25 north of Milwaukee on US 43. In recent years, the town has struggled with its identity in the shadow of nearby communities that had achieved status, economic growth, and recognition as tourist destinations as a result of capitalizing on their local history. Port Washington, a few miles to the northeast, has a long, colorful history as a Great Lakes port and has a restored downtown nestled against a lovely harbor. Cedarburg, just a few miles to the southeast, draws throngs of weekend tourists who walk the main street spending their dollars in shops, restaurants, and galleries that are housed in carefully maintained 19th Century Americana buildings. Grafton has long been considered an anonymous working class town that you have to drive through in order to get to and from Port Washington and Cedarburg. How could Grafton, with seemingly little local history to promote beyond the legacy of the lime kilns in Grafton’s Lime Kiln Park, find its identity, capitalize on it, and step out into the sunlight with its own sense of civic pride?

Angela Mack is a musician/music teacher who moved with her family to Grafton from Madison, WI in 1996. She has a passion for African American culture, music history, and a desire to bring arts to her new home community. A few years ago, she received a letter from a record collector. The letter had been sent to many Grafton residents. It was from a record collector who was in the area looking for old Paramount 78 rpm records. This was the first time she had heard about the Paramount Records that were produced and recorded in Grafton. She didn’t believe it, thought it was a chain letter, and threw it away. Later, she was researching Grafton history on the Internet, and sure enough, it was true. There had been a very important and influential record production plant, Paramount Records, in Grafton.

Angela became obsessed with knowing more about the history and importance of Paramount. The more she learned, the more confused she got. “Why wasn’t this a big deal in Grafton?” She became intrigued with finding out the history of Paramount Records.  Embracing The Legacy Of The Blues / From the South To The North Angela found that Grafton was more than just a footnote in America’s musical history. In the early 20th Century The Wisconsin Chair Company in nearby Port Washington manufactured furniture. The manufacturing of wooden furniture led the company into the production of wood cabinets for record players. The production of the record cabinets led them to produce Paramount Records in cooperation with New York Recording Laboratories (NYRL). Under the Paramount label, they released a continuous flow of jazz, gospel, and outstanding blues recordings. The blues recordings were marketed under the Paramount 12000/13000 “race” series. Between 1929 and 1932, NYRL operated a recording studio in Grafton. The host of seminal blues artists whose music was released on the Paramount label includes Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Blind Blake, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James, Willie Brown, Louise Johnson, King Solomon Hill, The Mississippi Sheiks, Tommy Johnson, Henry Townsend, and many others. Paramount released twenty-five percent of the blues recordings that were marketed during this era, and dominated the blues marketplace. Due to the stock market crash and failing economy during the Great Depression, Paramount began to decline. They ceased recording studio activities in mid 1932, although they were able to ship records until late 1933. Paramount then went out of business.

Now Angela understood why she had received a mass-mailed letter from a record collector seeking old Paramount 78s. Vintage blues enthusiasts and collectors get very excited at the prospect of acquiring old Paramount recordings. Those old 78s are the most sought after of blues recordings. They can be sold at auction for large sums of money. Finding a previously thought to be ‘lost’ Paramount record is a milestone in the life of a record collector, as well as a milestone in the documentation of American music history. In the words of Paramount Records historian, Alex van der Tuuk, “The importance of the record company and its studio cannot be underestimated. Charley Patton is considered King of the Delta Blues, partially based on his recorded output recorded in Grafton.”

The flames of Angela’s passion for African American culture, music, and history were fanned and the Grafton link to Paramount was just the catalyst that was needed to put her interests into action. She spent time at the old Paramount factory location watching the Milwaukee River tumble over the rocks, musing over the last few brick remains of the foundation of the building, and re-read the small roadside sign that marked the historic site. Later, the idea that there should be a blues festival in Grafton at Lime Kiln Park to honor the legacy of Grafton and the blues came to her in a dream.

She took her idea for a blues festival to the Village officials. Village President, Jim Brunnquell, says, “It took several more communications from Angela before I truly realized what a historical treasure the Village possessed.” He was now intrigued by the idea. Grafton was in the middle of a major downtown redevelopment effort. In addition, they were looking at marketing tools to attract and retain business. One quality that was needed was an identity, a hook, or concept that they could build their presence.  The ‘lost’ legacy of Paramount Records just might be the keystone that was needed to achieve all of these municipal goals. Brunnquell pursued the concept with Village officials, and he pointed Angela to the Grafton Jaycees for the possible production of a blues festival.

In early 2005, she got in touch with Alex van der Tuuk, author of “Paramount’s Rise and Fall, A History of the Wisconsin Chair Company and its Recording Activities.” Via very long distance, (van der Tuuk lives in the Netherlands), he offered Angela input, information, and moral support. Alex suggested that Angela’s husband, Patrick, start a Paramount web site to gain support from others and to begin networking. They got the web site up and running, and Alex and Angela doggedly started doing outreach to everyone they knew.

At this point, Angela posted a message online at The Blindman’s Blues Forum seeking advice, guidance, and support for her efforts to raise the Paramount/blues consciousness in Grafton. This writer saw her post on that forum, took a great deal of interest in her cause, and responded. I began advising and mentoring her toward her goals. Little did I know at that time how involved I would be in the Grafton/Paramount process, and how far all of these projects would progress in less than a year.

Meanwhile, local chef/restaurateur, Joe Krupski, was planning for a restaurant somewhere in the downtown area of Grafton. He was aware that there was a market need for dining in that area. His eyes kept turning towards a building sitting on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue/12th Street and Bridge Street–right in the heart of downtown Grafton. The building at 1304 – 12th Avenue had been vacant for quite some time, so he figured the owner would be very open to any idea that might work. He began constructing a business plan around this building in November 2004. He learned from the owner that the building was the first county courthouse and that it was nearly 160 years old–the oldest commercial building still standing in Grafton. He became interested in learning more about the building so that he could incorporate that into his business plan. He visited the public library in Grafton to do research. While looking through the Grafton archives, he noticed a few statements about a record company that existed in Grafton. He had an idea of incorporating some of Grafton’s musical history into the restaurant to make it a more interesting place to visit. (A Hard Rock style café concept with a Paramount Records theme.) He was learning more and more about Paramount/NYRL and had started collecting 78s and other memorabilia to incorporate into the restaurant. He read Alex van der Tuuk’s book on the history of Paramount. Krupski got excited about bringing Grafton’s heritage back in a venue that could also help educate the local population about an important part of their hometown history. His restaurant would definitely have a Paramount theme and to get the Village onboard, he needed to educate them on this wonderful history that was being ignored. He purchased more copies of van der Tuuk’s book and gave them to the Village President and Planner along with a CD set of all of the blues music recorded in Grafton by Paramount, as well as a full copy of his business plan. Since he was searching for capital to fund the restaurant, he also gave out copies of the book to local bankers. He approached the Grafton Chamber of Commerce where he was told that another person, Angela Mack, was e-mailing the Village asking them why they hadn’t done anything with their musical heritage and was insisting that they do something about it. He was given Angela’s phone number and e-mail address, but he did not contact her immediately due to so many other concerns regarding his business plan.

Finally, Krupski locked in an offer with the owner of the building and found funding to begin construction of the Paramount Restaurant. It was during the period of time that he officially approached the Village about doing the project was when he first met Angela Mack and her husband, Patrick. As they talked about the Paramount Records history, they knew the Village was starting to also have their share of thoughts on the Paramount concept since the Village officials had always fielded complaints that “Grafton doesn’t have a theme like Cedarburg or Port Washington.”

While Krupski was pushing forward with his Paramount-themed restaurant concept, Angela connected the Grafton Area Live Arts (GALA) to bring an “Embrace the Legacy” concert series to the GALA concert hall venue. The concert series would focus on performers who could educate on Paramount history and perform songs recorded by Paramount artists. She approached Scott Oftedahl, former Grafton High School band director and current principal of Kennedy Elementary School, about bringing a blues educator to Grafton to raise the awareness of school children regarding the history of blues music and Grafton’s blues legacy. Oftedahl was more than receptive to the idea. While Angela made arrangements with GALA for the first “Embracing The Legacy” concert, Oftedahl organized plans for a combined blues education presentation/concert for all of Grafton’s elementary school children. Over 500 elementary students would be bussed to the high school auditorium for the one-hour morning blues presentation/concert on Sept. 30th, 2005. In the afternoon, the 4th grade students at Oftedahl’s Kennedy Elementary School would have a private one-hour session with the blues educator. The concert at the GALA venue would be that same evening. A Paramount history discussion panel was scheduled for Oct. 30th at the Cedarburg Arts Council.  Participants in the panel discussion would include Paramount historian, van der Tuuk, and other knowledgeable Paramount Records devotees.

I was pleasantly surprised and most grateful when Angela Mack and school Principal, Scott Oftehdahl, requested that I participate in their plans by being the blues educational presenter, as well as the performer for the first GALA “Embracing The Legacy” concert. I eagerly anticipated my visit to Grafton, the school presentation, the concert, and to visiting the Paramount historic site.

Steve Ostermann of the local Ozaukee Press staff did a superb job of publicizing all of the Paramount ‘resurrection’ efforts, including covering my visit to Grafton. “Michael “Hawkeye” Herman had Grafton school kids bouncing in their seats. In between the boogie beat, he also taught them a few things about the blues — the profound influence it has had on music they listen to every day and the vehicle it offers for expressing their emotions. Herman’s hour-long program drew praise from students, parents and educators alike. Scott Oftedahl, Kennedy Elementary School principal, said Herman’s appearance introduced students to historically important American music and showed them how relevant it remains today. We’re very fortunate to have him come here.”

The evening GALA concert was a sell out. The audience was superb. During the concert I explained to the crowd, “Grafton and Paramount Records are responsible for much of the American blues music that came out of the 1920s and 1930s. You have a great opportunity here to show people what this history is and why it’s so important. It’s not only important for students to learn about, it’s important for the community to realize what they have. You have a sleeping giant, and it’s finally starting to wake up.” An enthusiastic full house of local residents showed up at the Cedarburg Cultural Center the following day for the afternoon Paramount panel discussion.

At about this time, local Jaycees members, Kris Marshall, Ellen Zacharias, and Peter Raymond were instrumental in founding a blues society. The group used the “Let’s Get Started/How To Create A Blues Society,” article that appeared in the 2005 issue of the Blues Festival Guide as an aid in founding the Grafton Blues Association. They immediately undertook responsibility for producing the first annual Paramount Blues Festival in cooperation with the Grafton Area Jaycees. The festival will be held on Sept. 23rd, 2006 at Lime Kiln Park, in Grafton. Marshall and her committee have pulled out all the stops in planning the all day event. The festival will feature nationally recognized blues artists and local bands, including: Albert Cummings, Nora Jean Bruso, Hawkeye Herman, David Evans and Joe Filisko, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, and The Steve Cohen Blues Band with Greg Koch. Educational workshops will be presented by well known blues historian/author Gayle Dean Wardlow, and fellow historian/musicians, David Evans and Joe Filisko. Alex van der Tuuk will be on hand to sign copies of his book and discuss the history of Paramount Records.

Angela and Patrick Mack, Jim Brunquell, Joe Krupski, Melissa Schmitz, and others, founded GIG (Grooves In Grafton), to further support and retain the history of all of the genres of music that Paramount recorded in Grafton. GIGS will present exhibits, park history displays, and educational programs “to educate, increase the awareness of, and preserve the music recorded and pressed in Grafton, Wisconsin by the New York Recording Laboratories.”

Grafton city officials, including Village President Brunquell, had been planning to spur development in the center of downtown by providing tax-incentive financing packages to businesses locating in the downtown area. They already had their eyes on plans for the construction of a downtown plaza which would help bring people back to the area. With the newfound interest in Paramount and the possibility of the Paramount-themed restaurant going in, city officials embraced the Paramount concept for the downtown Paramount Plaza. Paramount Plaza will include a saxophone-shaped fountain spewing water from the horn, and sidewalk decor inlayed to resemble piano keys that will create a Paramount Recording Artists’ Walk Of Fame, featuring the names of artists who recorded in Grafton and the approximate recording date.

Joe Krupski is in the midst of refurbishing the old courthouse building, near the future Paramount Plaza, into The Paramount Restaurant. The building was the Bienlein Hotel in the 1920s where Paramount’s artists may have stayed the night while recording in Grafton. Krupski hopes to have the restaurant up and running before the Sept. 23rd date of the Paramount Blues Festival.

Beginning March 1, 2006, the Ozaukee Bank in Grafton, a major sponsor for the Paramount Blues Festival, will host monthly exhibits presented by Grooves In Grafton (GIG) to enhance visibility for the festival and inform the community about their Paramount Records heritage. The fire of interest in local history and Paramount Records is now lit and beginning to grow. People are excited that Grafton is, at long last, getting an identity and has something to be proud of. Local folks are coming forward begging to get involved. They are excited about the opportunity to participate in something bigger than themselves that educates, entertains, and brings a sense of identity and pride to the community.

The efforts of numerous individuals interested in educating the town about their unique contribution to America’s musical history opened the eyes of many others who immediately recognized the potential to build a theme for Grafton around this important legacy. Within the next year, the face of Grafton will dramatically change. Paramount’s long kept secret legacy will finally have its chance to shine. Coming out of anonymity, the town of Grafton is embracing this legacy and is now passionate about Paramount.

In the March 2 edition of the Ozaukee Press, Steve Ostermann reported, “When blues musician and educator, Michael “Hawkeye” Herman, came to Grafton last fall to perform at schools and in concert, he spoke to local residents about their community as “a sleeping giant.” ‘Grafton,’ Herman told his audiences, ‘has chance to acknowledge its place in American music history and let the rest of the world know about a rich legacy that has long been overlooked by the general public.’ Herman’s words–which echoed the sentiments of area educators who invited him to appear locally–have not fallen on deaf ears. Since his visit last September, a growing number of residents have embraced missions publicizing Grafton’s musical heritage. The result of their efforts is the formation of groups that are organizing a blues festival, park history displays, educational programs, and a variety of other activities they hope will teach, enlighten, and entertain. The collective goal, volunteers said, is to pay tribute to the Paramount blues artists and other musicians who recorded for the former Wisconsin Chair Co.’s music division.”

History, dreams, meaningful coincidences, timing, synchronicity, networking, and the blues, came together to transform a community. For information on Grafton’s Paramount Blues Festival:

For information on Paramount Records history:

Much thanks to Michael “Hawkeye” Herman and the Blues Festival Guide for allowing Ozaukee Talent to re-publish this article.  Angela Mack (now Angie Mack Reilly) can be reached at 

Blues Research Paramount Records

TR Rongstad Interviews Angie for Grave Stories Feature on Blind Blake

Blues Research

Angie Gets Interviewed by Poet Z.M. Wise: Co-Editor of Transcendent Zero Press


About Z.M. Wise

​Long version: Z.M. Wise is a proud Illinois native from Chicago, poet, essayist, occasional playwright, seldom screenwriter, co-editor and arts activist, writing since his first steps as a child. He was selected to be a performer in the Word Around Town Tour in 2013, a Houston citywide tour. He is co-owner and co-editor of Transcendent Zero Press, an independent publishing house for poetry that produces an international quarterly journal known as Harbinger Asylum. The journal was nominated Best Poetry Journal in 2013 at the National Poetry Awards. He has five books of published poetry, including: Take Me Back, Kingswood Clock! (MavLit Press, 2013), The Wandering Poet (Transcendent Zero Press, 2014), Wolf: An Epic & Other Poems (Weasel Press, 2015), Cuentos de Amor (Red Ferret Press, 2015), and Kosmish and the Horned Ones (Weasel Press, 2018). His debut play, Bottles of Emerald for the Demon Queen (Transcendent Zero Press, 2019), was published in late December of 2019. His sixth book of poetry, Illinois Infinitarium (Cherry House Press, 2020), will be published in the summer months of 2020. Other than these books, his poems, lyrics, essays, and book reviews have been published in various journals, magazines, and anthologies. The motto that keeps him going: POETRY LIVES AND LONG LIVE THE ARTS! Mr. Wise will make sure to spread that message and the love of the arts, making sure it remains vibrant for the rest of his days and beyond. Besides poetry and other forms of writing, his other passions/interests include professional voice acting, singing/lyricism/songwriting, playing a few instruments, fitness, and reading.  Besides poetry and other forms of writing, his other passions/interests include professional voice acting, singing/lyricism/songwriting, playing a few instruments, fitness, and reading.

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Additional resources talked about in the interview:




Album: Momentum (Ambient Pop) by Angie Mack Reilly

Listen Here

Here is an instrumental album that I self produced in 2005 called “Momentum”. The goal is to perform this album on a nice stage with live musicians, singers and an orchestra preferably sooner than later. If anyone can or wants to help me make that happen, let me know.  It would entail securing a venue, rehearsing with the musicians and paying the musicians.

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“Just Talking: A Chat With Angie Mack Reilly 2.29.20” Ben Merens and Riverwest Radio


Blues Research Female Entrepreneur Paramount Records public speaker

Angie is Interviewed by The World Music Foundation About Music History

Much thanks to John Gardner of The World Music Foundation for capturing this very important story that has global influence!

Listen to the Music Podcast Here

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Liquid Sunshine: Angie Reviews Immortal Girlfriend 4.22.16

“Liquid Sunshine”

by Angie Mack Reilly written 4.22.16.  Photo taken by Angie in April of 2016 in Grafton, WI

Intentionally delayed publishing until 11.12.18

Will and Kevin are brothers from Milwaukee who are hoping to produce their EP this summer. Will is the older brother who writes most of their original songs as well as performs on keys and lead vocals. Kevin plays the drums and bass as well as arranges songs with his brother.

The two performed a “private concert” for me last Saturday which was quite a gift.

Immortal Girlfriend puts on a private show for Angie Mack Reilly in Grafton, WI before music career takes off.

Their music is highly original with a tight groove, smooth melodies and uplifting lyrics. Listening definitely put me in a better mood. Their performance for me was ambient and fresh yet surprisingly full for two musicians. I couldn’t help but move along to their positive and percussive sounds full of lyrical fluidity. These guys are going places.

Will and Kevin consider themselves as being self-taught. However, they come from a highly musical family with their father Ron being a bassist and their mother Leona a guitar player. Thanks to their cousin who lived with them growing up, Will remembers going to sleep to the sounds of Tupac, Biggie Smalls and other rappers. Will has memories of growing up in the 80s listening to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit on his brand new “Walkman”.

Their grandfather, Theodore Franks was a multi-talented man who played the guitar and piano in Texas. Their sisters sing and there are even more musicians on their father’s side. Their uncle, Dehner Franks, is a professional and nationally touring songwriter, pianist and minister.

Will and Kevin also minister in music at Epikos Church in West Allis. Both brothers admit that they have risen to a higher level of musical excellence under the leadership of Michael Morgan at Epikos. In 2006, Morgan was in a band called “Northern Room” that opened for Bon Jovi at the Bradley Center. Musicians wanting to play at Epikos have to perform a successful audition.

Immortal Girlfriend on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Will and Kevin have begun a new tour featuring some of their original titles such as “Portia”, “Avid”, “Temple”, “Adrift”, and my favorite of theirs, “Passage”. They have most recently played at Mo’s Irish Pub and Frank’s Power Plant in Milwaukee with great fan reception. Others have described Will and Kevin’s sound as being somewhat like The Cure’s “Burn” or like Sting from the Police.

Words cannot describe my love and care for the “Bush Family”.  Will and Kevin’s parents and I used to play music together at Spirit Life Church in Mequon in the 2000s on a very regular basis.  I’ve also played with Will and Kevin.   Even though I don’t see them several times a week anymore, they will always be family to me.  Because of this, I am sharing. 

Being ill as a musician can be extremely devastating.  I’ve been there.  I know others who have been there.   There is something special that “I know” about Will.  Not only is he like family to me, doggedly hard-working and an amazing musician.   Above all, Will Bush is a voice.  A voice.  A voice.  A VOICE.  A VOICE.  And his heart is beautifully full of love…..

His voice, his message, is pertinent and life-giving.

Ladies and gentleman, let’s rise to the occasion.  These young men are strong leaders.  Thank you in advance.  


Immortal Girlfriend at Summerfest 

Immortal Girlfriend on JSOnline

Immortal Girlfriend on Soundcloud



2005: Angie Interviews Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt Descendant


Exclusive Interview with Angie Mack Reilly 

Date:  6/17/05 by phone

Name: Fred Bolden
Born: 1951 Boston, Massachusetts
Retired police officer

A: How are you related to Skip James?
F: Skip married my second cousin (my mother’s first cousin). He’s related by marriage. Skip’s wife’s name was Lorenzo Hurt. I’m really a Hurt.

A: How are you related to Mississippi John Hurt?
F: He’s my grand uncle. (My grandfather’s brother)

A: Do you remember meeting Skip James for the first time?
F: Oh sure….Oh sure….I’ll never forget that…down at Newport. You see, Son House got drunk and was supposed to play that gig in 1964. (Newport Blues Festival) I remember that like yesterday. Skip was so nervous….so nervous…..[laughing] Skip was so nervous that he was shaking like the leaves on a tree.

Reverend Robert Wilkins had to calm him down. He was a performer also. Ever heard of Bob Dylan? He was there, too. Tom Huskins almost threw him out. Howlin’ Wolf was there. They called the tent “Bluesville”. Skip and Misssissippi Fred McDonald were really nervous. When he got on stage that was the highlight of his career. He did this little thing with his left hand. Then he sang, “I’d rather be the devil than to be that woman’s man…..” He did it in that falsetto that sent chills up and down my back. It still does today. The crowd just went wild. He did about 4 or 5 songs.

The highlight of his whole career was the Newport Festival. There were thousands there. I was fascinated by the microphones that picked up his sound. I still have dreams about it. I never saw anything like that before, you know. He had on a preacher’s hat…black, winged tip shoes, a jacket, and a rectangular button with “KIN” on it….meaning he was a performer. That meant that you were part of the staff or a performer.

A: Was Son House there?
F: No. [laughing] Dick Waterman took him somewhere to sleep it off….probably Freebody Park.

A: Who taught Skip how to play?
F: I think Skip taught himself. But there was Little Brother Montgomery and an unknown guy….Henry Stuckey. And don’t forget during WWI, they were in Jackson, Mississippi and he met my Uncle Mississippi John Hurt. I think it’s from my Uncle’s influence. My Uncle used to hang out down there.

A: You mentioned that he didn’t like playing other people’s songs……….
F: That’s right.

A: Do you think it’s because he couldn’t play them?
F: No. No. And I’ll tell you why. You know why? He said, “I can play all those songs, but I want to do my own thing.” Skip said that to me, because we were sitting in the living room. We used to sit in the living room all of the time. He, Lorenzo, and I. I asked him once to play C.C. Rider. He said, “That’s Mississippi John Hurt’s song…….”

A: You said that Son House came to your house and played. What did he play?
F: Well, yes….I remember him and John Hurt doing one song, Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Blind Snake Moan”. They got really tore up. They were drinking that blues. Son House did “Preaching Blues”….it’s one of my favorites. … and there’s “Empire State Blues…” He used to work for that railroad. It’s about the Empire State Railroad.

A: What do you remember about Skip’s personality?
F: He was quite….almost mysterious……full of spirits….He could be both…..He could be lively…..Down in Newport…..he was so nervous….he was scared $#@less. [laughing] That’s probably the quietest I ever seen him. He could rub people the wrong way. But I was on his good side. I never gave him any argument. I tell you the truth, he liked those %$#@houses and drank a lot. He didn’t drink too much at his house when I was there, though. Not like my Uncle John. My Uncle John always had a pint on him even when he was playing. I asked my mom as a young kid what that was. She said, “It gave him the spirit”……[laughing]

A: What made him mad?
F: Yes….there was a young 17 year old kid with a guitar. He said, “Skip, I learned how to play a song just like you play it….” Skip got mad and said, “I done been and gone from places you’ll never get to……” He got mad all of the time… conversation…yeah….like….those guys that found him. They were handling him for awhile. Skip was mad at John Fahey because they took his money and were squandering it at his expense. So Skip got away from them. He said, “They took my money and squandered it.” A lot of those guys they rediscovered….they embroiled them in money problems. The rediscovered blues guys felt cheated. They had no way of assessing what they were really worth. They weren’t prepared to be rediscovered and didn’t know how to deal with it. So they didn’t deal with it well.

When they found Skip in the hospital, he didn’t remember anything. He had to be taught again by blues enthusiasts who mastered his licks.

A: What made him sad?
F: He was a hard hearted man. He had a heart like stone.

A: Did he ever tell any stories?
What kind of stories?

A: Any.

F:  Oh sure…..A lot of stuff he did when he was a young guy….his travels to Texas. (Austin or Dallas?) He said, “With money you can see and buy anything you want”. He told me the story how he got rediscovered. Bill Barth, Henry Vestine, and John Fahey. John went on to be famous, you know. They found Skip in Tunica, Mississippi in the hospital there. A couple of other guys were looking for Son House and they found Son and Skip on the same day. Can you believe that? They came into the hospital and played Skip’s record from the Grafton days.

I did talk to Skip about the Depression. He had to eat at the soup kitchens. Yeah, he went back to his parents. Most black people were hit hard back then and fared the worst I’m afraid.

A: Where did his dad live?
F: I think Bentonia, Mississippi. That’s the place you want to go. Skip had a school down there. He had several musicians down there who were influenced by him and played a lot like him……some great guitar players down there who recorded there.

A: What can you tell me about Skip parents?
F: No…..I tell you the truth…..It’s really really really mysterious……I didn’t think to ask him….I didn’t know how famous he was. I thought he was a regular. He had a lot of recognition. There was a lot written about him.

They [Skip and Lorenzo] had an adopted son named Bobby. I didn’t get along too good with him. He was a homosexual and he tried to hit on me….right there in Skip’s house. I haven’t seen Bobby since 1969 or 1970

A: You mentioned a notebook of songs that Skip had…….Do you know where it is?
F: Skip and his wife are both dead. I don’t know where it is. They let me have his bedroom when I stayed there. I was there for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you know. They were both very nice. His old notebook had all of his songs in it neatly written.

A: Did it have the chords written in it?
F: Oh no. I don’t think Skip could read music. I don’t think any of those guys could.

A: Where was Skip’s home?
F: Philadelphia. I don’t know whatever happened to that house. I’m sure they sold it or something.

A: You said you spent a lot of time in Skip James’ home? What was it like?
F: I was a young teenager then when I visited there. I would visit my other relatives there. He let me take his guitar out. He let me take his guitar to my mother’s cousins.

Eric Clapton bought the house…it was a really nice house….it really was…Clapton bought him the house because he took one of Skip’s songs “I’m So Glad”. He wanted to compensate for it. Eric Clapton wanted to give something back.

The kitchen was very, very clean….long table in the kitchen. Skip’s room was nice and tidy. They liked me so much that they led me have their room. The furniture was very old fashioned from the early 20’s and 30’s.

A: Did he ever make any meals for you?
F: Lorenzo did the cooking. Skip liked ham hocks, cornbread (the real flaky kind), and collared greens, and chitins.

A: Did Skip always want to do music?
F: He wanted to become a minister when he was young. But he had this thing with the blues. Times were hard…..he wasn’t going to get anywhere singing the blues. He knew that. I think his father was a minister. He went to some sort of seminary or religious school and became a minister.

A: Did Skip ever preach to you?
F: Every time I sat down with them for dinner, we had to recite a Bible verse. One time we were there. One of his friends came and Skip really yelled at him because he didn’t know a Bible verse. I have seen him step on a lot of toes and hurt a lot of people’s feelings. One time, when he was in Philadelphia, he played at a place called the “2nd Fret” ( a coffee house). He most frequently played there. He got on stage and preached a lot. But that turned people off. I’m telling you the truth, there would only be 5 or 6 people there. Can you imagine that for Skip James? His preaching turned a lot of people off.

A: So why did he quit for 30-35 years after his Paramount Recordings?
F: It was the Depression. What Skip was doing in 1930’s wasn’t selling. He went to seminary school after Grafton. Grafton was the only place that he recorded.

A: After Grafton, he was missing. It’s was really a mystery. What was doing? Where did he live?
F: Skip told me that he became a born again Christian. He became a minister for a while then. He sang gospel music and traveled with a gospel group. When he traveled with those caravans (those young people), he probably got a better reception.

You see, can I tell you something? Dick Waterman was Son House’s manager and Mississippi’s manager. Son would try to find the nearest liquor store and get lost. So Dick dropped him off at our house once.

Bob Dylan was at our house in 1964 because my uncle had played at the Café Yana. My uncle had 5 nights sold out. My father and mother threw a party for him to celebrate….along with all of the patrons. Bob Dylan was there. I thought he was going to play. He was with some girl. He was hiding in our house making out with that girl. [laughing] I had to go to the bathroom and get passed him and that girl. This was in February 1964. This was just before the Beatles invaded America.

A: Did Skip ever teach you anything about God?
F: Not that I can remember.

A: Skip used to wake you up on Sundays with church songs. What songs did he play? Where did he go to church?

F: “What a Friend We have in Jesus”, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”, “Rock of Ages”, all of those songs. I don’t remember him going to church when I was there. I don’t know where he went to church. He had a beautiful piano.

A: He enjoyed playing piano?
F: Oh yeah….. Someone wrote a book on Skip, you know. I don’t think any of this information is in it.

A: What was his piano like?
F: Upright. Beautiful. In those days, most of them were used. He had a new one…..light brown, new. I don’t know what he did with his piano.

A: You said that, one night, Skip started out playing “I’m so Glad” for you real slow and then a flamenco piece. You said he was always full of surprises? How so?
F: Oh yeah, full of surprises….

A: What kind of surprises?
F: Musical surprises. Skip, his wife, and myself would listen to him play and talk in the living room. He would play a Broadway show tune, then a spiritual……something like that….

A: What were some of the spirituals he liked?
F: ….. “Jesus, he’s a mighty good leader, all the way, all the way”….., “I Shall Not Be Moved”, “Wade in the Water”….. I think I learned that one from Skip. That’s in my repertoire.

A: What about the woman behind Skip James, Lorenzo. What was she like?

F:  Lorenzo stuck with him all the way. If you asked him, he say, “She’s shaped like a Coca Coca bottle and she wibbles and she wobbles when she walks. Those are lines from a song of his. Very heavy. Not fat. Large woman. Very kind, thoughtful, and supportive. They have a beautiful grave site. She was religious. I don’t know what church.

A: So what about the lyrics, “I’d rather be the devil than to be that woman’s man?” Was that a real person?
F: He had an experience once. That song was a true story. I think we all have.

A: What did Skip say about Grafton or his recordings?
F: Not much…..except that they paid his way up there…..he had to sit still….in the recording laboratory. That’s what they called those then. He said it was uncomfortable. They were advertised in the Chicago Defender. They sold everywhere.

A: How did he record them? Did he like how they turned out? What about the Grafton studio?
F: It was a factory. He said, “They had me up in a factory in this room…..” I think that was a make shift studio.

A: What is a make shift studio?
F: You make your own place to record….they would set up the equipment to record you. The room would have to have good acoustics. (“Room tone” is what they called it in the 20’s)…..this was common…..The Wisconsin Chair Factory was a great place that was hollow…..spacious…..a great place to record…..

A: Yeah. That makes sense. I never heard that. Did he get paid well for his recordings?
F: Naw……No….I don’t think so. I think he got maybe $50 a record….maybe….I’m not sure how they paid him. You did a bunch of songs and they’d give you $40 or $50. They targeted people like Mississippi and Skip. It meant greater profit.

The black community bought them. Those records popped up in Chicago, New York, the south.

A: What can you tell me about “race records”?
F: Well, they had a market that was all part of segregation….they had a market for blacks and a market for whites. Then later, a polite way of saying “race records” was “R & B”. It was the politically correct term.

A: You mentioned that when Skip was ill, he was really “bitter about the guys running Paramount in the 30’s”. Why?
F: I think I was talking about H.C. Spier…..

A: Did Skip listen to his own recordings?
F: Oh yeah…….I had one of his 1930 sessions from Grafton… mother had all of his other albums…..She is, like, 90 years old. I was in Vietnam and I left all my records over there….Blind Lemon Jefferson….all of them….

A: Did Skip ever talk to you about Vietnam?
F: Oh sure….he said things like, “I’m proud of you….be careful…..take it easy…..keep playing that guitar…..If I can do it and John Hurt can do it, you could do it.”

A: Did you play on the ship?
F: Oh yeah.

A: Can you play “I’m So Glad”?
F: Oh God no! I could never play that. It’s too intricate for me. Mississippi John Hurt taught me. I could play his songs like him.

A: What was your favorite Skip song?
F: Al of them…..”I’m so Glad”……I listen to this more than any other. He had a strange way of tuning his guitar. Open E or open D.

Have you ever heard me?

You can hear one of my songs here. This is a song I wrote. Mississippi John Hurt taught me how to play like that.

A: Where did you record it?
F: In my living room.

A: With what?
F: One of those cheap tape players you buy at Radio Shack.
You can also go here. Click on Soundclick. Maybe you’ll see 4 or 5 of my songs.

A: Why didn’t you ever become a performer?
F: Because I didn’t want to go through what Skip and my Uncle John went through. I decided to go to school. I went for 4 years and then became a police officer for the Boston Police Department. I’m retired now.

A: I read somewhere that Skip died of lung cancer. Is that what you remember?
F: He didn’t die of lung cancer. He had his testicles removed. We all in the family knew that. A lot of these people write a lot about these people and they get the facts all wrong. That’s why he had such a high voice because he had his testicles removed. He had that happen in the 60’s.

A: I am also looking at this photo of him taken at his 1964 Newport. He looks so mad. Why?
F: He had a good reason. He was a sick man. When that picture had been taken, he had just gotten out of the hospital.

Fred,  Thank you for very much for taking this time to interview.  And thank you for your enthusiasm, compliments and support when I released my first album, “Comfort My People”.  You have been a great friend to me at Blindman’s as well.  God bless, Angie

Rare Audio Interview of Paramount Record Factory Employee Ed Kleist of Grafton, WI by Live from the Grafton House of Blues

Female Entrepreneur music history Public Art

“A prophet is not without honor except in his own town”

“You can’t keep a good #musician down. You can attempt to erase them from history. But they come back.” -Angie Mack Reilly 10.6.18

“….A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”  – Mark 6:4

Strategic Pitching Began in 2005

Intentional Event Planning to Raise Funds for the Etching in the Paramount Walk of Fame

Educating and Public Relations

Angie volunteered huge amounts of time educating (or paying someone to educate)  about Paramount Records History and lecturing at places like:

Wisconsin Historical Museum, Kiwanis Club in Port Washington, Cedarburg Cultural Center, Village of Grafton Planning Commission Meetings, Village of Grafton Historical Preservation Commission Meetings, Paramount GIG (Grooves in Grafton) Meetings, PBS History Detectives Production, Holy Vessels Baptist Church (Chicago) My Fox Television, Kennedy Elementary School, Grafton High School, Grafton Jaycees (Peter Raymond and Kris Marshall at the time),  Blindman’s Blues Forum(paramountangie), Weenie Campbell’s Forum,  Grafton Area Live Arts NPR “At 10” Radio Show, various MATC classes at the Mequon Campus, Ozaukee County Historical Society, Girl Scout Troops, Boy Scout Troops, The North Shore Academy of the Arts

Father of Gospel Music’s Niece Invites Angie to Chicago to Perform

FATHER OF GOSPEL MUSIC:  Thomas A. Dorsey (aka “Precious Lord)

NIECE:  Dr. Lena McLin, Pastor and Vocal Coach of many famous artists

"Balm in Gilead" demo by Angela Mack by Live from the Grafton House of Blues

Many magazines, newspapers, personal emails, personal meetings…..all for the purpose of educating and networking so that when the time came,

the Village of Grafton and festival organizers would have had a lot of the groundwork already laid out for them to help ensure success.

Angie’s skills as a large scale producer and team builder were working……recruiting key players, giving pep talks, educating, PR, groundbreaking online educating before that was a thing.

In addition, was set up in 2004.  The website was Angie’s idea.  She wanted to see information that was available in Alex van der Tuuk’s Book was made more accessible by the international online community.   The more people who knew about the artists who recorded in Grafton (and Chicago, New York and Richmond), the better chance we had at long term success.

What was the goal?

Educate the online community during a time when the Internet was newer and void of much information about Paramount Records. was THE LEADING SOURCE for people to go to in order to find information about the artists and the history.

Thousands upon thousands of hours were put in by Angie Mack Reilly, Alex van der Tuuk and Patrick Mack archiving material and talking to people in the Paramountshome forums.   Their fore running efforts were officially recognized by (then) Governor Doyle’s wife Jessica (D), Mark Gottlieb of the Wisconsin State Assembly (R), Ralph Zaun of the Wisconsin State Assembly (R) as well as The Wisconsin Historical Society.

GRAFTON RESIDENT:  “Did the Village of Grafton hire you as a marketing or branding consultant?”

ME:  “No.  I have not been compensated for any of my work.”

And this is what a leader does.  Steps in.  When something needs to be done.  And acknowledging this important piece of music history is pretty important, right?

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”

Intangible Assets: The Value of an Idea

by Angie Mack Reilly, published in 2007

“Angela is a passionate visionary who has the ability to articulate, set and attain high goals for a greater cause. It has been a pleasure working with her to bring the Paramount Records history of Grafton, WI to the forefront.”  — International Blues Legend, Michael “Hawkeye” Herman

Angie can be contacted at for interviews, consulting, project managing, public speaking engagements, Blues in the Schools programs and special music performances

PUBLIC SPEAKING RESUME and more references available upon request

Please strongly consider supporting Angie as a talented and pioneering female.

God Bless You….

To Thine Own Self Be True.


Thomas A. Dorsey, “Georgia Tom” photo credit:

music history public speaker

Angie in New York Writer’s Book

About Amanda Petrusich

Petrusich has written for The New York TimesPitchfork Media and Paste.[5] Petrusich has been a staff writer at Pitchfork since 2003.[6]She is the author of Pink Moon, a book on Nick Drake‘s album of the same name for the 33 1/3 music series,[5] and a 2008 book called It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music, which Joe Boyd described in The Guardian as “a terrific piece of travel writing…a tour through the roots of American rural music.”[7] Petrusich also wrote a book on record collecting called Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records.[8]

Petrusich serves as clinical assistant professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU.[8] She began teaching at NYU in 2010 and joined the full-time faculty in 2015.[1]

Naming her to its 2016 list of “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture,” Brooklyn Magazine described Petrusich as “a towering force of grace and encouragement in New York music and criticism circles. Between mentoring emerging voices and writing with discernment about music’s most important figures, Petrusich is helping shape Brooklyn culture from the ground up.”[9]


public speaker



By Angie Mack Reilly © 4/3/16 Grafton, WI 

When I think of the word “fluidity” I think of smooth.



Without restraint.







Full of grace.


Not stuck.

Not rigid.

Not hard.

Not strict.

(An antonym for fluidity is jelly.)


As in, “he got himself in a jam”.

So the next time I am asked,

“Why are you doing this?  Or, why are you doing that?”

Or, the next time I am judged or asked how or why,

I will respond,

I am simply.

Yes, simply.


Being fluid.


See More Photography by Angie Mack Reilly on Pinterest

music history Public Art public speaker

2000-2008: Leaving Legacies

This was taken from a former website of mine (no longer in existence) called  This is the raw and unedited version.  2008-2018 need to be filled in.  (When I have a spare moment….ha!)  I will go in and fix and re-check the links later…..  —   Angie

“Chronic Creativity: A Diagnostic Look at the Condition and How to Become Infected” Published as an E-Book on
Poetry published on Nerve House
“The Value of an Idea”,
Poems and Writings on
Historical articles on
Co-Author of “Paramount Walking Tour Booklet”
“So You Want to Be a Singer”, Hooter Newsletter 2008
“An Interview with Kevin Ramsey”, Milwaukee Rep Theatre Playbill Prologue

2006 Wisconsin Historical Society Website Award for MATC Poetry Awards
Juanita Schriener Vocal Scholarship
2006 “103 People in Ozaukee County”, through News Graphic/Conley Publishing

MARKETING DIRECTOR, North Shore Academy of the Arts and ParamountsHome

“Disney’s Aristocats”, NSAA 2009 “Disney’s 101 Dalmatians”, NSAA 2008
“Tom Sawyer”, North Shore Academy of the Arts (NSAA), 2007
“Disney’s Jungle Book”, NSAA, 2007
“I Have a Dream”, NSAA, 2007
“Emperor’s New Clothes”, NSAA, 2006
“Go Fish”, NSAA, 2006
“Broadway Santa”, NSAA 2005
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Ozaukee Christian School (OCS), 2004
“A Pioneer Christmas”, OCS, 2003
“Go Joe!” OCS, 2002
“A Multicultural Christmas”, OCS, 2001

“Disney’s Aristocats”, NSAA 2009 “Disney’s 101 Dalmatians”, NSAA 2008
“Disney’s Jungle Book”, NSAA, 2007
“I Have a Dream”, NSAA, 2007
“Emperor’s New Clothes”, NSAA, 2006
“Go Fish”, NSAA, 2006
“Broadway Santa”, NSAA 2005
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Ozaukee Christian School (OCS), 2004
“A Pioneer Christmas”, OCS, 2003
“Go Joe!” OCS, 2002
“A Multicultural Christmas”, OCS, 2001

“Pirates of Penzance”, NSAA 2009 “Willy Wonka”, NSAA 2008
“Annie”, NSAA, 2008
“High School Musical”, NSAA 2007
“Tom Sawyer”, NSAA, 2007
“Disney’s Jungle Book”, NSAA, 2007
“I Have a Dream”, NSAA, 2007
“Wizard of Oz”, NSAA, 2006
“Alladin Jr.”, NSAA, 2006
“Emperor’s New Clothes”, NSAA, 2006
“Go Fish”, NSAA, 2006
“Seussical”, NSAA, 2005
“Broadway Santa”, NSAA 2005
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Ozaukee Christian School (OCS), 2004
“A Pioneer Christmas”, OCS, 2003
“Go Joe!” OCS, 2002
“A Multicultural Christmas”, OCS, 2001
Spirit Life Worship Team 1997-2001
Portview Christian Center Worship Team 2004-05

Ozaukee Idol Initial Auditions, 2008 “Pirates of Penzance”, NSAA 2009 “Willy Wonka”, NSAA 2008 “High School Musical”, NSAA 2007
“Tom Sawyer”, NSAA, 2007
“Seussical”, NSAA, 2005
“Wizard of Oz”, NSAA, 2006
“Alladin Jr.”, NSAA, 2006

“Embrace the Legacy Concert Series”, 2005 with Grafton Area Live Arts
“Blues in the Schools” with Michael Hawkeye Herman, 2005
“Dance With an Early Jazz”, Walk of Fame Fundraiser 2006
“Embrace the Legacy Concert”, 2006
“2008 Ozaukee Idol and Junior Ozaukee Idol”, 2008
Programming Team, Spirit Life Church

FOX 6 interview/feature story with Mark Concannon, 2008
“2007 Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony”, Grafton, WI
“Giro d’ Grafton Bike Race, 2007, Grafton, WI
“Wisconsin Blues Connection” and Powerpoint Presentation, Wisconsin Historical Society, 2006
“At 10” Radio Interview, National Public Radio, 2006
“Paramount History” and Powerpoint Presentation, Port Washington Kiwanas Club, 2005
“Paramount History” and Powerpoint Presentation, MATC-Mequon Campus, 2004
“Passionate about Paramount and the Blues” Children’s Educational Performance, Grafton Library 2006
“Paramount Blues Festival Panel Discussion”, Cedarburg Cultural Center WI, 2005
St. Mary’s Care Center Chapel Services, Madison, WI 1990-1992

2006 – present Chairperson for the Paramount Walk of Fame Committee
2006 Chairperson for “A Dance With Early Jazz” fundraiser
Paramount GIG, Board Member
Grafton Historic Preservation Commission, Member
Paramount/Five Points Plaza Ad-Hoc Committee Member

“Pirates of Penzance”, NSAA 2009 “Willy Wonka”, NSAA 2008
“Annie”, NSAA, 2008
“High School Musical”, NSAA 2007
“Tom Sawyer”, NSAA, 2007
“Emperor’s New Clothes”, Hartfor Schauer Center, 2006

Original Christian Album, “First Love”, 2009 Original Intrumental Album, “Momentum”, 2006
Children’s Christmas song, “It’s The Pioneer Way”, performed at “A Pioneer Christmas”, OCS, 2003
Multiple Congregational and Special Songs, Spirit Life Church in Mequon, 2006-2001
Original Christian Album, “Comfort My People”, 1999

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Ozaukee Christian School (OCS), 2004
“A Pioneer Christmas”, OCS, 2003
“Go Joe!” OCS, 2002
“A Multicultural Christmas”, OCS, 2001
Various short skits for Spirit Life Church in Mequon

Private Voice, Piano, Guitar, Theory, Composition, and Percussion at NSAA
Private piano, Spirit Life Church in Mequon
Private Voice, Piano, Guitar, Theory, Composition, and Percussion at OCS
Private Voice, Piano, Guitar, Theory, Composition, and Percussion at OCS
Vocal coach for 2006 Ozaukee Idol Winner, Jessica Dybul
Team vocal song coach for 2007 final Ozaukee Idol Contestants

“Disney’s Aristocats”, NSAA 2009 “Disney’s 101 Dalmatians”, NSAA 2008
“Tom Sawyer”, North Shore Academy of the Arts (NSAA), 2007
“Disney’s Jungle Book”, NSAA, 2007
“I Have a Dream”, NSAA, 2007
“Emperor’s New Clothes”, NSAA, 2006
“Go Fish”, NSAA, 2006
“Broadway Santa”, NSAA 2005
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Ozaukee Christian School (OCS), 2004
“A Pioneer Christmas”, OCS, 2003
“Go Joe!” OCS, 2002
“A Multicultural Christmas”, OCS, 2001

Milwaukee Repetory Theatre, with Playwright Kevin Ramsey regarding “Grafton City Blues”
ParamountsHome, about Paramount history
CreativeConnectionArts, about music history and creative people

Created “demo” CDs for dozens of performers at NSAA
Recording engineer for 1 original allbum
Created a group Christmas CD for NSAA

Spirit Life Church (SLC) Worship Team
Built up large student worship team at OCS
Portview Christian Center Worship Team
Stagekids Vocal Performers Group, NSAA
Stagekids Team Elite Performers, NSAA
Paramount GIG

Creativity-Portal “365 Pictures” Prompts

“Grease” themed party, NSAA
“Drama” themed party, NSAA
“Pre-K” themed party, NSAA

Lighthouse Church, Madison, WI
SLC Mequon, WI
Portview Christian Center, Port Washington, WI

Multiple weddings in Southeastern, WI
(Contact me for wedding repetoire and pricing)

“A Taste of Cedarburg” Chamber/Business Event “4 Hope” Vineyard Community Services Event “Nerve House” Benefit NSAA Showcase LightHouse Church, Madison, WI
SLC, Mequon, WI
Portview Christian Center, Port Washington, WI
Piano player for recordings, productions, etc…
Worship Leader 10+years
Wedding Singer
Christmas performer
Outreach Minister to SE Wisconsin Nursing Homes and Institutions

Volunteer music teacher/Christms Program Director, Covered Bridge Christian School, Cedarburg
Pre-K and K Music Teacher, St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Grafton
K-8 Music Teacher, OCS
Music Teacher, NSAA
Pre-K Music Teacher, Mequon Jewish Preschool, Mequon

Music With Baby and Me
Audition Classes
Ozaukee Idol Prep Camp
Stagekids Team Elite Performers
Let’s Jam
Stagekids Vocal Performers
Seniors Sing!
Mini Mozarts
Pizza Productions

Willow Creek Child Care Center, Germantown
School of Humanities, Milwaukee
School of Genesis, Milwaukee

Teachings on Creativity, SLC, Mequon
Teachings on “The Heart of the Artist”, SLC, Mequon
Teachings on “Shattered Dreams”, SLC, Mequon
Teachings on “Chronic Creativity”, NSAA

Blues Foundation Historian
Co-Founder of ParamountsHome Music Historian
Co-Author of Paramount Walking Tour Booklet

“Sirius Talent Booking Program, NSAA 2008
Creativity Portal worldwide
“I’ll also add that I’ve been greatly influenced in recent years by other creative souls such as yourself, and those who’ve freely shared their work on the Creativity Portal. Susan M. Brackney, Joy Sikorski, Roberta Allen, Michele Pariza, and Angela Mack are a small representation of the hundreds of authors and artists who’ve left a mark on the site that promotes the exploration and expression of creativity worldwide. These people have contributed greatly to the success of the Creativity Portal and have given it more life than I could ever have done on my own. “–Chris Dunmire, Founder of Creativity-Portal

“Lost Musical Treasure” National PBS Segment of the show, “History Detectives”, 2006
Paramount Blues Festival, Grafton, WI
Paramount Plaza, Ad-Hoc Committee Member, Village of Grafton, WI
“Grafton City Blues”, Milwaukee Repetory Theatre, Milwaukee
“Embrace the Legacy” concert series
“Paramount Revival” in Grafton, WI
“Village President Jim Brunnquell originally learned about Paramount Records’ connection with Grafton in spring 2004 when Mack approached him about starting the Paramount Blues Festival, which will debut on Sept. 23 at Lime Kiln Park. Although the idea intrigued him, Brunnquell wasn’t able to grasp Paramount’s importance in American music history until coming across a considerable amount of material that had been published about the label, including a book by Scandinavian author Alex van der Tuuk.

“It appears that everyone knew about the history of Paramount and Grafton except for the village of Grafton,” said Brunnquell. “It involved a matter of somebody opening my eyes to it. Once that happened, it was like ‘Holy cow, this is amazing. We played an amazing part of Americana here.’”

The revelation couldn’t have come at a better time, as the village was in the early stages of creating a redevelopment plan for the downtown area.” — “Grafton’s Blossoming Blues Business” by Tim Carpenter

Vineyard Church, Grafton
Spirit Life Church, Mequon
Ozaukee Christian School, Saukville
North Shore Academy of the Arts, Grafton
Grafton Area Live Arts, Grafton
Cedarburg Performing Arts Center, Cedarburg
Grafton Blues Association, Grafton
Paramount GIG (Grooves in Grafton), Grafton
Historic Preservation Commission, Grafton
Portview Christian Center, Port Washington
Vineyard Community Church, Cedarburg/Grafton

Blues Festival Guide, International Publication

PDF Document

American Profile Magazine, National Publication
Exclusively Yours, Regional Magazine

News Graphic, Regional Newspaper, Journalist Tim Carpenter:

“103 People in Ozaukee County”
“In Tune With Grafton”
“Rediscovering the Past, for the Very First Time”
“In Search of Buried Treasure”
“Grafton City Blues to Hit Theatre”
“Grafton’s Blossoming Blues Business”
Ozaukee Press, Regional Newspaper, Journalist Steve Ostermann
“Spotlight on Grafton City Blues”
“Musical Heritage On Tour”
“Embracing Grafton’s Blue Legacy”
“Detectives Show Has Eye on Grafton”
“Blues in Town”
“Saturday Panel Discussion to Focus on Paramount Records”
“Grafton Tunes into Blues Next Week”
“Music Legends Chosen For Walk of Fame”

Chronic Creativity creativity expert keynote speaker on creativity public speaker

Chronic Creativity by Angela Mack Published on Creativity Portal

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Angie Mack Reilly has been a long-time creativity coach and advocate for musicians….both dead and alive.  She is passionate about issues that effect musicians and creative people such as mental health issues, economic hardship and pirating.  Angie has spoken to various groups of people about the creative process and how to embrace it.   To book Angie as a public speaker, email

View Chronic Creativity:  A Diagnostic Look at the Condition and How to Become Infected


Insight From a Musical Theater Producer: Moving the Audience
Real life lessons from the world of theater
— Creative Audio Lectures with arts educator Angie Mack Reilly
“Moving the Audience” photo by Angie Mack Reilly. More….

Insight From a Musical Theater Producer: Perspective
Real life lessons from the world of theater
— Creative Audio Lectures with arts educator Angie Mack Reilly
“Depending on the Size of the Curtain”. Photo by Angie Mack Reilly. More….

“People with Black Skin”

by Angie Mack Reilly

I was raised 115 miles outside of Chicago in “The Hardware Capital of the World” of Sterling, Illinois. Steel manufacturing was a primary industry and the population was quite diverse. In fact, I went to a bilingual preschool. Most of my classmates were hispanic. My first boyfriend was hispanic. My dad was a traveling Gerber babyfood salesman. My mom was our main caretaker. The population in 1970 was around 15,000 people.

The color of my classmates’ skin versus mine didn’t enter my mind until 3rd grade…….

“The last one in the room loves Virginia!”

I shouted as I was the first one to run into the classroom after recess.

I don’t know why I picked her particular name. It certainly wasn’t said in any harm at all. I think I was excited to be the fastest runner from that particular recess. I had won the race! That fact was definitely on the forefront of my mind. My endorphins were strong and my self esteem was high. I felt proud. Accomplished.

Now Virginia, as I recall, was newer to the school or newer to our class. I considered her my friend. She had a huge smile and a unique voice that I can distinctly recall. She didn’t speak often. But when she did, she had a deep throaty tone with a bit of a growl to it. I remember liking her voice.

Virginia had a huge smile that reminded me of a bright ray of sunshine. Her teeth were big and white. Her eyes were animated. Her short hair was tight to her scalp. Her nose was wide. Her facial expressions were more dramatic than the others. I loved that about her. I enjoyed laughing with her. I looked up to her. I knew that she had something special.

Next thing I know, my mom gets called by the principal.

The school is sending me home. I am incredibly confused because I had no idea what I did wrong. I don’t recall how it was explained to me. I think that I was in shock. I was eight years old.

As I sat in the principal’s office, I fondly remembered how much fun the girls and the boys had chasing each other at recess. As I recall, Virginia was the fastest runner. She was even faster than the boys. That inspired me. But the boys didn’t like it because she could outrun them. Maybe that’s why I ran so fast that day and was the first in the classroom.

“Boys chasing girls” was my all time favorite activity at recess. I just forgot to “turn it off” once I got into the classroom. (It wouldn’t be until 42 years later that I was diagnosed with ADHD for the first time.) Playful teasing was part of our game. The competition was tough because there were a lot of boys in my class that year. But Virginia gave a lot of strength to “the girls’ team”. That got me so excited that I triumphantly ran into the classroom and hollered, “The last one in the room loves Virginia!”

I was told that I needed to be careful what I said around “people with black skin”. I was sent home from school and colored with crayons.

From that day on, I tried to be careful.

I was so careful that I was afraid to say anything wrong.

People who are afraid don’t laugh freely like Virginia and I once did.

I acted different. And she acted different.

I don’t think that we ever laughed or ran like that again.

Blues Research event planner Female Entrepreneur music history Paramount Records Public Art public speaker

Michael “Hawkeye” Herman Recounts Music Advocacy Efforts in Grafton, WI

by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman Dec. 5, 2020

As an internationally recognized/touring blues musician/composer/educator/historian I can assure you that blues historians, blues aficionados, and blues music fans around the world are aware of the great importance that Paramount Records and Grafton, WI holds in the history of blues music recording and the influence on US music and world cultures.

Sadly, that information was lost to the people of Wisconsin, and especially in the immediate Grafton area for over 75 years, until Grafton resident musician/educator Angie Reilly started digging into the Paramount history in hopes of elevating the awareness of Grafton and Wisconsin area residents. 

Angie Reilly and I initially connected via an online blues related forum back about 16/17 years ago. She informed me of her very proactive efforts in raising awareness in Grafton and WI, in general, of the importance of Paramount Records. The history, influence and ONGOING impact and legacy of Paramount Records was lost to the people of the Grafton area.

Ms. Reilly is very much responsible for the raising of the awareness of the people of the Grafton area regarding the world renown influence and legacy of Paramount Records, as well as her initiating and influencing the Village of Grafton administration/city council in the creation of the Paramount Walk of Fame that is the now centerpiece of downtown Grafton.

In her efforts to raise awareness of the ‘city fathers’ and the citizens, young and old, regarding Paramount’s worldwide fame amongst blues music fans she arranged to bring me to Grafton to meet with the city council and inform them, as an ‘outsider’, of the important culturally legacy and esteem that Grafton’s Paramount Records is held by the international blues community.

At that time, Ms. Reilly also arranged for me to present blues music and Grafton/Paramount history presentations/programs to in the schools to ALL of the public school students in Grafton. I was happy to oblige her request to come to Grafton and help her with her most worthwhile efforts in honoring Paramount Records, Grafton, and the many iconic blues musicians who recorded in Grafton.

Michael “Hawkeye” Herman doing his famous “Blues in the Schools” program in Grafton, WI

The positive and enduring results of her/our efforts are quite obvious: Grafton honors its Paramount blues music legacy with a permanent Paramount Walk of Fame as the featured aspect of the Grafton City Center, and an annual blues music, The Paramount Blues Festival, festival grew out of the ‘rediscovered’ legacy of Paramount Records in Grafton, WI.

You will find my personal article documenting our efforts to raise the citizens of the Grafton area’s awareness about the important and eternal legacy of Paramount Records in Grafton … as well as a link to my article documenting our mutual work in bringing the Paramount Walk of Fame into reality:

“Embracing The Legacy Of The Blues / From the South To The North – Part 2. Grafton, WI and Paramount Records”By Michael “Hawkeye” Herman to raise the citizens of the Grafton area’s awareness about the important and eternal legacy of Paramount Records in Grafton.

Photo Slide Show Images Provided by Michael “Hawkeye” Herman’s Large Collection of Photos

Deciphering Lyrics for Willie Brown-Going to Fishing-Lomax

Goin’ to Fishin’ Alan Lomax Recording

Lyrics as deciphered by Angie Mack Reilly 12.3.18 revision (unfinished)

Japanese researcher, Akira Kikuchi, asked me to help him decifer these lyrics.   I’m not completely done yet.  Would love to hear your input!  Comment your thoughts!


All right now boys
I tell you what we goin’ to do
we goin get that ole pole
we goin to fishin
you know Fiddlin’ Joe and Willie Brown
they wanna fish a little bit so
let’s see by it
Yes, yes (yas, yas)
Had me a wife
(aunt, and, big, bend) Lucy Jane
every monday morning get a fishing kink
oh she going to fishin
Now she going fishin
She gotta keep on fishin
I’m going to fishin too
Next fish comes
Gentlemen falls
A mule and 49
what you goin to haul
She goin’ fishin’
Oh she goin’ fishin’
she gotta keep on fishin’
I”m goin’ to fishin’ too
Yes I do
Hit that thing boy
Yes yes (Yas Yas)
Yeah we’re goin’ to fishin’
Yes she goin’ fishin’
She gotta keep on fishin’
I’m goin’ to fishin’ too
Next fish comes/that calls
big head cap
(gibberish to simulate string winding up quickly?)
tight like that
Yeah she goin’ to fishin’
Now she goin’ to fishin’
She gotta keep on fishin’
I’m going to fishin’ too
Yes I do
Play that thing now Willie Brown
Go on up there Leroy to the harbor
Keep goin’ to fishin’
Now keep goin’ fishin’
She gotta keep on fishin’
I’m going to fishin’ too
Fish ‘a got a way I don’t like
When you goin’ to fish
you care the pole looks like
But still you goin’ fishin’
Oh still you goin’ fishin’
You gotta keep on fishin’
I’m goin’ to fishin’ too
Yas Yas
po’ leven?
Friend or foe
Keep on fishin’ you will go there
You goin’ to fishin’ anyhow
Ah you goin’ fishin’
You gotta keep on fishin’
I’m goin’ to fishin’ too
When you get your hook
get my pole
We goin’ fishin’ to a (part) of that hole
We all goin’ to fishin’
(we’ll see what you excuse me for)
We goin’ to fishin’
We got to keep on fishin’
I’m goin’ to fishin’ to
Yes I do
See you around Willie Brown
mmm…all hammer (Ole Hammer?)
Told you once, told you twice
Keep on fishin’ or treat me right
But still you goin’ to fishin’
But still you goin’ to fishin’
You gotta keep on fishin’
I’m goin’ to fishin’ too

Angie in Corporate Report Wisconsin for Pioneering Social Media Work

Strategies for Profitable Business

“Use It … Social Media Marketing

by Marcia Tillett-Zinzow Jan. 28, 2001

(Scroll down to sections on VIRTUAL WORD OF MOUTH and INTEGRAL TO PROFIT BUILDING in the article below)

Link to Article

Connecting new audiences early on in social media

Global Gratitude for Research on the Death of Arthur “Blind” Blake

Arthur Blind Blake’s Death Certificate Finally Found!

by Angela Mack

April 2011 originally published on her old website/blog

Please refer to the Blues & Rhythm article published in issue #263 called, “IN SEARCH OF BLIND BLAKE Arthur Blake’s death certificate unearthed” by Alex van der Tuuk, Bob Eagle, Rob Ford, Eric LeBlanc and Angela Mack.  The authors are also working on a follow up article…..

Responses from around the world…….

“Absolutely amazing. Blake has always been such a mystery over the years. To me, this has to rank as one of the top discoveries in blues research ever, period.  –Weenie Campbell Forum Member

“That sounds like THE BIGGEST BLUES NEWS for years !!!” –Blindman’s Blues Forum Member

“I await my copy with bated breath!” – Blindman’s Blues Forum Member

“Very, very, VERY nice work.  Thanks to all involved for bringing this to light.” –Weenie Campbell Forum Member

“In country blues terms I think this find is of the same magnitude as that of, say, Calt and Wardlow tracking down the history of Blind Joe Reynolds together with two photos (c1947 & c1964) which they published in Blues Unlimited 146, Autumn Winter 1984.” –-Weenie Campbell Forum Member

“Thank you and congratulations, to all those who persisted in breaking down the brick walls beneath which information about Blind Blake’s life and death were hidden, revealing information that has been unknown for the better part of a century.  It is a major accomplishment which enriches the legacy of the man, and very exciting news for his fans – wherever they are.”  –Weenie Campbell Forum Member

“Just received the new issue of Blues & Rhythm with the promised article.  Full details of Blake’s death (in 1934) with Death Certificate and Autopsy Report. Site of his grave and details of his widow’s death. No guesswork – real results from excellent research.  A must read article.”  –Weenie Campbell Forum Member

“WOW what a find. Excellent blog of your experience. Felt like I was right with you.” – Blindman’s Blues Forum Member

“OK, if somebody ever asks me why I hang around this forum, I think this very thread alone – actually many of the discussions here – would be a good enough answer !”  – Blindman’s Blues Forum Member

“I love reading about our Blues Brothers…Thank you Angie Mack for doing what you do! Talk about “HISTORY” ..Kudos! –”Barb”

“oh Jesus. The amazing discovery.  The biggest discovery of the Blues.” –A.K.

“This is undoubtedly the finest moment in blues history since the discovery of the first Robert Johnson photo. It is far more significant, though because it solves the mystery of where, how and when the greatest fingerpicker in American music history met his end. Congratulations on your diligence and dedication in finding the solution to this ancient puzzle!” –Joel, comment on

“This is amazing – there had been theories that his name was Phelps, or that he died in Florida. This man was one of the greatest American musicians of the 20th century.” –Organissimo Forum Member

“He needs a proper headstone, maybe with that Paramount publicity shot.  And Angie, congratulations to you and your colleagues for solving the mystery.” –Weenie Campbell Forum“wow, this is great, Thanks to all who found this out, How about a Blake fest at the site?  I’ll be there.” –Weenie Campbell Forum Member

“You have achieved a wonderful outcome. That’s a heroic achievement following of the moon landing.The truly great achievement. It was then worried about the Blake. Now I know his life, a little sad, and very happy.This story is over Indiana Jones.Cheers!!!!”

Angie in Japanese Magazine
Angie in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland magazine
Angie in Dutch Blues Magazine

Photos: Paramount Plaza

photos by Angie Mack Reilly, Grafton WI 2020

Historical and Cultural Consultant and Project Planner

Angie Mack Reilly


Historical consultant, researcher and educator with a strong background in arts leadership, marketing strategy, public art and cultural projects.

Highlights of Qualifications:

  • Wisconsin Historical Society website award recipient for The website was one of the first historical websites to digitally archive and find materials about Paramount Records.
  • Served as Historic Preservation Commission member under Chairman Ralph Zaun. Served as a Village of Grafton Ad Hoc Committee for downtown development under Administrator Darrell Hofland.
  • Chairperson for the Paramount Plaza Walk of Fame in Grafton, WI for an international board of researchers. Planner for various Walk of Fame ceremony events.
  • Historical Consultant for Kevin Ramsey’s musicals Grafton City Blues and Chasin’ Dem Blues which have premiered at The Milwaukee Rep Theater and other theaters across the nation.
  • Co-created a Paramount Walking Tour booklet. Led countless tours for writers, filmmakers and school groups to name a few.
  • Arranged for the first Blues in the Schools program for the entire Grafton School District.
  • Researched and found the unmarked grave of the Father of Ragtime Guitar, Arthur Blind Blake with an international team of researchers. Raised funds for and arranged for the musician to have a headstone.
  • Pitched the idea of a Paramount Blues Festival to the Cedarburg Cultural Center, Grafton Area Live Arts and the Grafton Jaycees. Provided initial groundwork, education, networking, planning and marketing for the festival. Co-managed the historical tent in the first year.
  • Pitched the idea of a segment about Grafton to the producers of the show PBS History Detectives. Worked with the producers for over a year as an historical educator about Paramount Records and Grafton, WI.
  • Scholarly contributor to both of Jack White’s Grammy Award winning Paramount box sets.
  • Co-founder of historical nonprofit Paramount G.I.G. (Grooves in Grafton). Event planner to raise funds for the Paramount Walk of Fame. Archive collector and manager for a mobile museum.
  • Named one of the top people in Ozaukee County by the News Graphic.
  • Received public acknowledgement from political representatives Mark Gottlieb, Jessica and Jim Doyle.
  • Created the Paramount Records: Recording the Delta Blues since 2011
  • Lifetime music educator, director and performer.

Angie has been interviewed by many podcast, radio, publication, web and video outlets. Her work has been recognized and recorded in books, magazines, websites and social media outlets around the globe.

Links coming soon….. Contact