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Last Featured on this show November 26, 2015

Well-Known Strangers founder, chief songwriter, and guitarist Joe Adamek, had developed a respectable musician profile penning songs for a number of artists, playing in several excellent Midwest bands, and headlining at prestigious music venues and events, when he had an artistic epiphany. He envisioned creating a modern pop-rock band around powerful and emotive female vocals and stately cello. His bold ideas have enabled him to build a collaborative band around some of the scene’s finest musicians.
“The name has two layers,” Joe explains. “One layer refers to the band—how everyone in the band is sort of well known in the local musical scene but a few of the members didn’t really know each other on a personal level, so we’re strangers in a way. The other layer refers to the content of some of the songs. Much of the content in these songs is about people and life elements that while intertwined, are sometimes disconnected and, in a way, ‘strangers’ with inexplicably meaningful connections.”
Well-Known Strangers is Joe Adamek (guitar/songwriting), Betsy Ade (vocals/songwriting), Roger Gower (drums), Sacia Jerome (cello), Jon Wolf (guitars), and John Kulas (bass guitar, guitars). Joe is the band’s creative spark, introducing songs and guiding band’s overall artistic direction, though Betsy is an essential creative foil. Her songwriting and rich lyric gifts are essential in the band's overall sound and direction, and her vocal delivery is unmatched. Members of the alt-pop collaboration have collectively played well over 250 shows around the Midwest, including Chicago-Metro, Milwaukee, Madison, Rockford, and Minneapolis. The group mines a sophisticated but accessible sound that recalls Of Monsters and Men, Mumford & Sons, Rusted Root, 10,000 Maniacs, Goo Goo Dolls, Guster, and Matchbox 20. Distinguishing Well-Known Strangers from those bands are the one-two punch of Betsy’s vocal power, sass, and swagger, and Sacia’s classically trained cello playing.
Outside of Well-Known Strangers, Sacia is an actively working orchestral and chamber music musician who plays with pit orchestras and regional symphonies including Festival City, Racine, Kenosha, Oshkosh, and The Wisconsin Philharmonic. Betsy and Roger also remain active in other successful regional / local music projects. In addition to these formidable artistic merits, the band is also built around the talents of gifted of multi- instrumentalists. Joe plays rhythm and lead guitar, took formal piano instruction, and spent just over a decade playing drums and bass guitar in several bands. Betsy is a powerful vocalist, an excellent rhythm guitarist and can play mandolin. Sacia brings accordion talent in addition to her stunning cello capabilities. Roger plays a wide variety of percussion and is a DW loyalist and fanatic. Jon Wolf plays rhythm guitar and adds his talented singing and songwriting to the mix. John Kulas is an all-around excellent guitarist, including lead guitar, but is focusing his skills on bass. All members of Well-Known Strangers are vocalists.
The group came together in September 2014 in a fevered pitch of creative inspiration. “I was thinking of the Goo Goo Dolls, Of Monsters and Men, and even using progressions such as the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ —using the orchestral fullness of the cello in a pop-rock context,” Joe says. During his busy schedule, Joe began testing the waters with his new originals. The songs Joe was writing were elegantly simple and built around showcasing Betsy’s vocals, the richness of the cello, and infectious hooks. They certainly weren’t vehicles for flashy musicianship or flexing chops. “The first time Sacia came down, I heard the sound I had been searching for, the songs went up 10 levels,” Joe says. Drummer Roger Gower adds: “As we played through the first song, the sense was we were embarking on something bigger than we imagined.” The band quickly recorded two songs into an iPhone and soon garnered interest from major music industry players.
Well-Known Strangers’ foundational tracks are the mesmerizing “Another Sun,” a graceful pop-rock mid tempo track with chiming guitar and a balmy chorus, and the hauntingly sensual “Take You There.” ’Take You There’ has a lot of tension and innuendo. It’s two people in other relationships that feel a deep connection. There is a telling line in there that goes ‘if you want my thoughts just read my eyes,’” Joe explains. Though his writing explores complex relationships, Joe also writes powerfully about challenges in adult life such as beating cancer, which in fact Joe beat. The pulse-pounding and soul-touching song “Release Me” details his successful battle with cancer and will round out the group’s initial demo.
Currently, Well-Known Strangers is continuing its inspired pace forward working toward releasing “Another Sun”, “Take You There”, “Release Me”, and "Aligned" off their debut EP, Found, and prepping to play shows. Pausing to contemplate his quest for an innovative artistic ideal, Joe says: “It’s been really gratifying as the word has gotten out people and have been so enthusiastic about the band. It feels incredible and very validating.”

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(PST) Artist Song length
11:00 Well-Known Strangers Aligned 04:02
11:04 Well-Known Strangers Take You There 03:20
11:07 Well-Known Strangers Release Me 03:11
11:10 Well-Known Strangers Another Sun 03:11