Fun Times with Dance Attic’s Cabin Fever

Paul Whyte

While Dance Attic isn’t the most well known act in the Twin Ports after only a couple of years playing venues like the Thirsty Pagan, members Suzi Ludwig and Jimi Cooper have been in the scene on one level or another for over a decade and then some. They will be releasing their debut original album titled “Cabin Fever,” an upbeat album that blends polka, folk, and an overall old timey feel, on Friday, April 28 at Beaner’s Central. Throughout is a super positive love of the Northland. This Northland vibe starts from the band’s name itself, Jimi and Suzi were getting into dance lessons and decided to clear out the attic of a barn on Suzi’s property in Northern Wisconsin for a practice space. Upon one of their first sets at the Thirsty Pagan, bartender Andrew Stern wrote them down as “Dance Attic,” and it stuck. Furthering the Northwoods feel, the album was recorded out on Suzi’s property around the South Shore of Wisconsin. Since the album primarily features just Suzi’s accordion, Jimi’s guitar, and their combined vocals, they didn’t need a complex setup. “We did the album at our leisure out at her place, which is very quiet with a nice sounding practice room,” said Cooper. “Max Mileski made it awesome, I just gave him the raw tracks and he mastered it.” Before the pair ever started working together musically, they have a long history with Twin Ports music, Cooper has a Jazz Studies major and teaches guitar at UMD and at a Studio above Beaner’s Central. Some of the acts he has played with include: Todd Eckart, The Fractals, No Wait Wait, and Dukes of Hubbard Ludwig has played with Father Hennepin all the way back to the second annual Homegrown. With a background of piano and choir, her choice of accordion has adds a special feel to her projects. As far as their sound goes, this is probably one of the most light hearted and carefree albums I’ve heard in awhile. “We have such a good time together that we’re just expressing that musically,” said Cooper. “Some of that goes back into 30s and 40s music, we listen to this band called the Ink Spots. With the chord progressions there’s a jazz aesthetic to it, but at the same time some of my favorite ones are just C, F, and G. The last song “Chloe” I wrote spontaneously as she was stepping out to use the outhouse and the cabin.” Not to give away too much about the album, but the outhouse is named Chloe. While there are a few genres on the album, there are undeniably a few polka tunes. With tracks like “South Shore Polka,” the accordion really comes into play. “The original polkas are heavily influenced by the good times that we’ve had down at the New Glarus Beer, Bacon, and Cheese Polka Fest,” said Cooper. The duo said it’s unlikely that they’d play that polka festival or any other polka fest because of how technical professional polka bands are. “The South Shore Polka took us two weeks to get down, it was really hard,” said Ludwig. Cooper explained one of the other polka tracks on the album, “with Dream Time Polka, the idea popped into my head right before bed and I mumbled it into the phone and it ended up as that.” The album covers things like coffee, beer, wood fires, and the brighter sides of Northwoods living that many enjoy up here. My only criticisms are that it is so cheery that it comes off as a little sappy, but there’s nothing exactly wrong with that. There also tends to be some repetition with some of the songs that definitely reflects some more old timey songs. This isn’t to say that some of the arrangements don’t have some fun tricks thrown in to keep that happy groove interesting. The duo will also be playing Homegrown on Tuesday, May 2 at Vikre Distillery at 7:30 pm.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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