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Cheddar Revolution: Songs of Uprising Hits the Streets

Musicians inspired by the Wisconsin Uprising now can share their songs with the masses—for free!
Cheddar Revolution: Songs of Uprising, a compilation CD of homegrown protest songs, has hit the streets and is being given away for free. The CD is also available for free download at Eventually, the site will offer a more comprehensive song selection.
Copies of the CD will be sent to throughout Wisconsin to college, high school and public libraries and radio stations, commercial, non-commercial and Internet radio stations, news media outlets and Madison area venues and jukeboxes.
“The compilation is a manifestation of a gift we’ve already given ourselves,” said Cheddar Revolution Co-Producer Sybil Augustine, Music Director at WORT Community Radio. The project is a labor of love by Augustine and Co-Producer Fred Schepartz. “So many people have worked so hard and given so much. They deserve to have something special come out of this. The musicians gave their music freely to uplift the spirits of the people. I’m thankful for our generous donors who’ve allowed us to make this available to everyone.”
Running the gamut from folk to soul, from rock to punk and metal, Cheddar Revolution features mostly Wisconsin musicians, along with some extra special guests, such as Wayne Kramer and John Langford. It includes local favorites Ken Lonnquist, Ida Jo, the Kissers, the German Art Students and, of course, VO5 who supplied the title track. The CD also features 14-year-old Sam Frederick, who performed at some of the rallies last year.
According to Augustine and Fred Schepartz, the CD is an inevitable by-product of the Wisconsin Uprising.
“When the protest music first started coming in to WORT, I quickly found I couldn’t keep up with it,” Augustine said. “Discs were dropped off. Files sent. Music was being performed fresh off the snowy streets and live on the air at all hours. The outpouring of emotional expression coming from everyone, from established professional musicians to amateur working class folks, was inspiring. I kept thinking there was that more needed to be done so that this music could reach as many people as possible.
“Then I was asked to compile some music to be played during intermissions at one of the large rallies held at the Barrymore Theater last March. After the event, I dropped off a copy of the CD at Mother Fool’s. I gave one to a friend. Requests for more copies started coming in, along with more and more songs to add. It became clear that the logical thing to do was to find a way to make as many copies available as possible.”
Last winter, Schepartz, author of the Madison-based novel Vampire Cabbie and publisher of the quarterly, web-based literary magazine Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, founded a Facebook group called “Capitol Protest Songs” because he was so taken with the protest songs, which he first heard on local radio stations.
“An interest quickly became an obsession,” Schepartz said. “I started scouring YouTube. Other people posted songs. Before I knew it, the group had amassed an amazing collection of songs. I knew there had to be a CD, but I didn’t really know where to start. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out Sybil was working on the CD. I’m very grateful that I was able to jump on board.”
Cheddar Revolution is underwritten by a grant from the Teaching Assistant’s Association and a donation from Ani DiFranco and True Endeavors.