© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Not All Song Lyrics Are Poetry, But Cold Satellite's Are. For Real.

For non-musicians, the skills of an accomplished singer-songwriter are almost too much to reconcile - the idea that smart words and evocative melodies would both come to the mind of the same person.  Both skills require a ton of hard work, of course, but the finished product often sounds effortless.

In the case of musician - and Wisconsin native - Jeffrey Foucault, there's another skill in his arsenal that is just as impressive - his ability to interpret the lyrics of others and integrate them with his own music. 

Foucault writes plenty of his own songs, of course.  But his latest album, recorded with his band, Cold Satellite, is his second collaboration with poetLisa Olstein. As with the previous album, for the latest - called Cavalcade - Olstein serves up the words and Foucault picks up the process from there.  The result fuses together styles ranging from folk to rock to R&B.

The collaboration began a couple years before the eponymously named "Cold Satellite" came out, and Foucault says he wasn't initially sure how it would play out.

"Lisa gave me a blue folder with a bunch of poems that didn't work or weren't included in books and also some fragments," Foucault recalls.  On the heels of another album's release, he says, "I was ready to create stuff, but I really wasn't ready to do any lyric writing.  So I took this folder out and started reading."

"Before I'd get too far into [the poems], I'd hit 'record' and start making a song out of them." - Jeffrey Foucault

Foucault played three songs in Studio C1 with his band, which consists of Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass, Milwaukee's own Hayward Williams on keyboard, Billy Conway on drums, Alex McCullough on pedal steel guitar, and David Goodrich on electric guitar.

Foucault will be back in his home state later this month for shows in Fort Atkinson and Marshfield.