The Band

/The Band
The Band 2017-10-05T10:24:21+00:00

BIO

These purveyors of Americana infused Gypsy Jazz just celebrated their 30th Anniversary and are continuing to take their listeners on a ride ranging from the music of the Hot Club sounds of Paris to the deepest blues of the Memphis Delta to the folk scenes across “every town” America into their 4th decade of existence.  The Wail are sublime entertainers, great educators and they’ve mastered the art of lifting spirits.

Harmonious Wail is Sims Delaney-Potthoff, a mandolin virtuoso, bandleader, vocalist and master of all things behind the curtain, Maggie Delaney-Potthoff, vocalist extraordinaire whose percussive instrument of choice is a cardboard box, but who also has a knack for exploring the musicality of almost any household object, and Jeffo Weiss, master bassist who dazzles and mesmerizes on both upright and electric bass.

Every performance is played from the heart and infused with the perfect balance of ingredients that firmly proves that music truly does make the world a better place. Recognized as the “Dr. Feelgood” of Gypsy Jazz, Harmonious Wail has an knack for lifting the spirits of listeners of all ages. The Wail celebrates 10 recordings to date, the three most recent having been submitted for Grammy nomination consideration. Their upcoming project, currently in the works, finds them teamed up with a group of Gypsy Jazz all-stars.

Their gracious approach to music translates beautifully in any outreach program.  They have honed their skills to provide excellent educational programs tailored to fit groups of varying skill and age. Popular topics have included; ”the instrumentation of Gypsy Jazz”, “how to succeed in the music biz”, and Maggie’s Method™ “If You Can Speak You Can Sing”.

Not only a touring band the ever-reaching Harmonious Wail has enriched their lives working with National Public Radio.  They are honored to be recognized as “favorite house band” for the program “Says You” where they’ve matched their wits with the panelists. Their songs have graced the program “All Things Considered” and they have gifted their composition “The Money Song” to NPR stations across the country for annual fundraising programs.  Their songs, “People Stuff and “ I Like to Feel My Bones” both received International Songwriters Award, and four of their Gypsy Jazz compositions were cleverly woven into the film score of the internationally acclaimed independent film, ”I Really Hate My Job”.

True warriors for musicians worldwide, they are founding members of the highly respected International Folk Alliance, have created their own foundation, the Henry Mac Fund, supporting the arts in their hometown of Madison, Wisconsin and are recipients of the 2017 Musicnotes Outstanding Musical Career Achievement Award.

Exchanging musical ideas with other musicians around the world gave them the inspiration and enthusiasm it takes to create their own festival. In 2004 the Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest (MGSF) was born – a fund raising invitational showcase of the world’s finest gypsy jazz musicians. This Euro flavored festival has tripled in size since its inception. The workshops have also grown and the Wail is now regarded as “the stewards of Gypsy Jazz in the Midwest”.  Fueled by the energy of the MGSF and in their efforts to spread joy, in 2014 Harmonious Wail was proud to launch the Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest on-the-road, which is designed to present an outstanding evening of Harmonious Wail with a Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest headliner to sold out music halls across the country.

Harmonious Wail endeavors with each and every show, performance and workshop to not only showcase their talent, but to also touch each audience member’s or participant’s heart and soul and have them walk away feeling lighter in spirit.

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Sims Delaney-Potthoff
Sims Delaney-PotthoffMandolin, Vocals
Sims Delaney-Potthoff, Harmonious Wail’s founder, leader and mandolinist , credits Jethro Burns with the band’s unique, enticing style of mandolin-driven gypsy-jazz. Sims studied for seven years with Burns, the legendary jazz mandolinist, laying the foundation for Harmonious Wail’s acoustic string sound. He furthered his studies with Matt Glaser at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, honing his skills while immersing himself in the “gypsy” music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli (Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bireli Lagrene, Duane Allman, David Grisman, and Louis Armstrong are also on his list of musical heroes). Sims also plays a 1937 Gibson Tenor Guitar (tuned as an octave mandolin), sings, writes and arranges for the Wail. He founded the group in 1987.
Maggie Delaney-Potthoff
Maggie Delaney-Potthoff Vocals, Percussion
Vocalist Maggie Delaney-Potthoff is a captivating performer. Equally at home scatting over a bebop tune, soaring on a solo, or blending with the Wail’s tight vocal harmonies, she delivers both powerhouse tunes and ballads with confidence and ease. Her sensual, sinuous movements (a product of her background in dance and theatre) and her use of a cardboard box played with brushes as a drum add to the charm she exudes onstage.
Jeffo Weiss
Jeffo WeissBass
Jeff Weiss, recent graduate of UW-Madison’s School of Music, is already a master bassist with dazzling artistic prowess. Awarded the 2012 Madison Area Music Award for best bassist of the year, Jeff brings to the Wail a mesmerizing technical facility on the fretboard, a sophisticated and versatile style, and a powerful ability to create musical ambiance and rapport. Jeff studied under Richard Davis for five years and was principle bassist for UW-Madison’s Symphony Orchestra. Jeff’s music reflects a broad application of classical and jazz influences.