Second Sundays go unplugged

As an intermediate, self-taught guitar player of four years, stepping out of my comfort zone — aka my living room — is anything but comfortable. Welcome Acoustic Jam & Showcase, a low-key, once-a-month jam session designed for players of every skill level.

On the second Sunday of every month, singers and acoustic instrumentalists in every style and genre (folk, bluegrass, acoustic rock, blues, country) are invited to Acoustic Cafe in downtown Winona for three hours of learning to "play something different," says Acoustic Jam co-founder Scott Lowery, of Rollingstone.

Lowery performs as part of the regional acoustic band Beef Slough Boys, and says the jam sessions were started as a way to bring acoustic performers with different levels of experience together. 

"It's really gaining momentum," he says. "We sit in a circle, and everybody gets a chance to pitch an idea of something they want to play. You just give an idea of what the chords might be — it's learning and playing by ear."

And there's no pressure to play along. Whether you're there to listen, plunk along quietly or jam with the group, Lowery says it's a good first step for people who are interested in getting out into a more public space.


"There are people out there who have played for a long time at home and are kind of interested in playing in public," he says. "This is a nice, comfortable first step. There's no plugging in, and no pressure to play every song."

Acoustic Cafe is at 77 Lafayette, Winona. Jam sessions are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month, with the next one set for Nov. 13. For more information, email

Big Eddy's bros

Just in time for the holidays, Big Eddy is blazing back into town. But this time, he's not alone.

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Chippewa Falls, Wis., has re-released its Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, a hearty, robust brew that packs a big punch of espresso, mocha, toffee and molasses flavors all into one bottle.

While in the past Big Eddy was only offered in limited amounts, last week Leinenkugel announced the return of its Russian Imperial Stout as the "first in a series of Big Eddy brews in the works."

Beer aficionados can look forward to three brand new brews in this craft series in 2012: Double India Pale Ale, a Baltic Porter and a Scotch Ale.

"The Russian Imperial Stout is a big beer with a rich history," said Jake Leinenkugel, fifth generation brewer and president of the brewery, in a press release. "We hope Big Eddy enthusiasts will join us to taste the second batch this year along with three new brews in 2012."


Big Eddy is available now through January. Pick up your four-pack today!

What To Read Next
Get Local