Chicago, Favorite Things, Music, Nonsense, Uncategorized

Favorite Musicians from The Midwest

The whole reason I wrote this post was that I discovered, in 2022, that The Violent Femmes are from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which completely blew my mind. For some reason, I assumed they were from England.

Photo by Pixabay on

As a result, I decided to spend an evening going through my playlists to see which of my favorite singers, bands and artists were from the Midwest.

Here they are in no particular order.

Violent Femmes (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Courtesy Rolling Stone

Favorite songBlister in the Sun

Favorite songAmerican Music.

Garbage (Madison, Wisconsin)

Courtesy Rolling Stone

Favorite song- Stupid Girl

Smashing Pumpkins (Chicago, Illinois)

Courtesy New York Times

Favorite song- Ava Adore

My Morning Jacket (Kentucky-interestingly enough, it’s considered part of the Midwest)

Courtesy Ticketmaster

Favorite songFeel You

Courtesy Pitchfork

When it isn’t…

Favorite songRocket Man (their version)

Chance the Rapper (Chicago, Illinois)

Courtesy Rolling Stone

Favorite song- All Night

Bon Iver (Eau Claire, Wisconsin)

Courtesy Pitchfork

Favorite song- Hey, Ma

Andrea von Kampen (Ann Arbor, Michigan)


Favorite songsTake Back Thy Gift and Water Flowing Downward

Chris Stapleton (Lexington, Kentucky)

Courtesy Los Angeles Times

Favorite song- Starting Over

Akenya (Chicago, Illinois)

Courtesy Soundcloud

Favorite song- Decay

Sufjan Stevens (Detroit, Michigan)

Courtesy UPROXX

Favorite songCarrie and Lowell

Dead Horses (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Courtesy Urban Milwaukee

It’s an unusual band name, but their story is worth reading.

Favorite songTurntable

Louis the Child (Winnetka, Illinois)

Courtesy Mixing DJ

Favorite song Interstellar

Angel Olson (St. Louis, Missouri)

Courtesy Seat Geek

Favorite songAll Mirrors

In 2021, Angel also recorded various covers of 80s songs, which I love. My favorites are Gloria and Eyes Without a Face.

Eminem (Detroit, Michigan)

Favorite song The Real Slim Shady

The Afghan Whigs (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Courtesy SPIN

Favorite songAlgiers

Teamonade (Bowling Green, Ohio)


Favorite song: Do & Die

Favorite song: Invisible

Prince (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Courtesy New York Times

I miss him.

Favorite song- Diamonds and Pearls

Favorite songPurple Rain

And because it’s snowed two times already:

While I was writing this, I came across this fun article:

The Most Famous Band From Every State

What are some of your favorite bands from your area?

47 thoughts on “Favorite Musicians from The Midwest”

  1. Wow! So many new-to-me artists to check out! My favourite artists from the province I grew up in (Ontario): The Tragically Hip, The Glorious Sons, The Beaches, July Talk, Monster Truck, USS, Rush, Hollerado, Arkells (I know there are many more I am missing but the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet 😁). Favourite artists from the province next door (Quebec): Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire. Favourite artists from my new home province of BC: Mother Mother, Bif Naked (now relocated to Ontario), and Frazey Ford.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had completely forgotten about Bob Dylan…Duluth! I enjoy his music, therefore leaving him off was a mistake. Michael Jackson is not among those I would include on my list. Growing up, I liked his music but never loved it, if that makes sense. Now, Janet on the other hand…:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, the only oddball in this list is Garbage…because singer Shirley Manson is Scottish and at the time of the bands formation she was in a different band from Scotland touring America.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG – I have a funny Violent Femmes story. I love Blister in the Sun. Takes me back to high school. I went to see them in concert at that place on the north side. You know? Agh – can’t think of the name. The something ballroom? Anyway. I had my hair pulled back and the bouncer thought I was a guy – he started to frisk me and then said loudly, OH, YOU A LADY! That became a quote my friends and I cackled at regularly. I bought a t-shirt at the concert. I’d told my folks I was going to see the Femmes, a French cultural group, as one does. Then when my sisters saw my t-shirt go thru the laundry they ratted me out. WHAT? YOU LET HER GO SEE THEM IN CONCERT? Hee hee. I didn’t know they were from Milwaukee either. I also like the Smashing Pumpkins. Aragon Ballroom! That’s where I saw them, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aragon??

      I typed Aragon before I saw the end of your comment, so I left it in. 🙂
      I can’t believe you saw the Violent Femmes at the Aragon Ballroom and the bouncer mistook you for a guy! THAT IS SUCH A GOOD STORY, ERNIE.

      I saw the Smashing Pumpkins at Summerfest in the 90s, but my story is boring. I ate a pickle on a stick. See? BORING.


      1. Hilarious. I guess it’s age, but if I wait long enough whatever I was thinking usually surfaces. I saw the Smashing Pumpkins also at the Aragon, I think. I took a girl I babysat and all of her little friends. I stood in the back while they enjoyed the concert. See, MORE BORING THAN A PICKLE. That was like 1994 or 95 -ish. I was too young to be acting too old for a concert, but sometimes the truth hurts. I’m not a great concert/music following kind of person. I almost wrote that my favorite Chicago music is traditional Irish music people. Talk about standing out like a sore thumb. My parents did me no favors, example 3,674.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. More boring than a pickle…LOL!

        Actually, I’m not a huge fan of concerts. I’ve probably only been to a few in my life. I’d rather spend my money on clothes or food. Like a pickle on a stick. 😉


  4. I literally had to Google this but famous bands/musicians from New England include: Phish, The Cars, Boston, Talking Heads, Meat Loaf, The Carpenters, Michael Bolton, NKOTB, Aerosmith, The Mighty Mighty Bostones, and a whole bunch more I hadn’t heard of since I’m not really a music person..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really enjoyed the article on most famous bands from each state. I wonder what it means if you come from a state whose most famous band is one that’s not very famous? (There were more than a few that I didn’t recognize.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was interesting! I rarely know where any bands are from unless they are Canadian. Nickleback is from Hanna, which is in Alberta where I live. I know a lot of people hate on Nickleback, but not me. I really like their music – it’s fun, don’t over think it! – and I like that they are “hometown boys.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You know…I’m going to be a wimp and say Bruce, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel and Lady Gaga because I really don’t know who else is actually from this area. As for Kentucky…when we traveled to Kentucky and Tennessee, there is a very different feel to the two states even though they border one another

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Afghan Whigs were just starting to gain popularity when we moved here. Peter Frampton used to live around here. He spoke to me once in line at Starbucks. Also, kind of related, Pure Prairie League’s song AMY is supposedly written about a girl who lived in an apartment building down on UC campus. I know where that building is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Surprisingly, I didn’t discover the Afghan Whigs until after I had left Ohio. I was also astonished that they were from the Midwest. I’m not sure why.

      I am OBSESSED with the fact that you met Peter Frampton casually at a Starbucks. That’s so cool.

      Also, I’ll be singing that song for the rest of the day, thank you very much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chicken and rice! Chicken and rice! 😆
    What a fun post! I had no idea the Violent Femmes were from our country; who would have thunk it?
    I know there are a boatload of excellence vans from Georgia that I always loved, REM and the B-52‘s at the top of my head. But the most popular musician/band from Florida is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers! Who doesn’t love Tom Petty?

    I think we all miss prince. What a loss.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Speaking of reading and writing… how’s it going with submitting for publication? You’re crazy talented and I just know that someone somewhere will see that

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I stopped! LOL Since sharing it on my blog, I haven’t sent it to one publishing house. I’ve also not received any rejection letters. It feels very Universal. 🙂

        Thank you for your kind words, La Shelle. Coming from you, this means a lot. I have the same feelings for you and your writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You have no idea how much that means to hear you say that about my writing! Thank you so much for being so thoughtful. Easier said than done but I don’t think that you should give up. I think that someone is going to read what you write and they are going to see the value in it as much as the people who follow you do. Keep being amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

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