Mac Cherry

The Beatles sparked my musical interest with a blow torch way back when. As a kid I played in a mediocre garage band, but we were good enough to win a few battle of the bands because you only needed to know three songs. You couldn’t touch us on Steppin Stone, Gloria or Tobacco Road.

After Milwaukee I found myself in the middle of Iowa pretending to be a sensitive singer/songwriter. Apparently, not what Iowa was looking for at the time, so I snapped my guitar case and headed north. I met my sweet wife Shelly in Minneapolis and we moved to the bluff country of Buffalo County Wisconsin a long time ago. We live in the deep woods, in the same house that we moved into those many years past. The same place we raised up five children and marvel to this day that we live where we live. 

By good fortune I fell in with the band Section 8.  We called ourselves the very best band ever and, though we weren’t, we certainly had our moments for the better part of 30 years.

I was also fortunate enough to be in a talented ensemble called The RiverBenders as the house band for the Wisconsin Public Radio program The Big River Radio Wave, which I and my old friend Al Ross produced and co-hosted for 13 years.

The original drummer of Section 8 was Brad Steine and we did some writing and recording together before Brad headed to the Twin Cities back in the nineties.  I was so very pleased that we re-connected these many years later and, over the course of about a year and a half, collaborated on the project “The Way Out”.  Brad is only a slightly better person than he is a musician and he’s one of the best musicians I know.

Music has always been a very good friend, but not nearly as good a friend as the people I’ve met along the way and was blessed enough to make some of that music with.

These days it’s harder and harder to experience that musical interaction in a face-to-face way but, through the advent of myriad technologies, that musical connection can still happen. For me, left to my own devices, I would still be transferring live audio via cassette tape . But a new friend, Mike O’Connor (tech sensei on “The Way Out”) has pulled me (with some resistance) into the age of audio technological wonders and afforded me the opportunity to continue to collaborate and create. If patience is a virtue worthy of sainthood, Mike would be a statue on my computer dashboard.

Brad Steine

I’m a freelance musician and private instructor in St. Paul, MN. A native of the Winona area, I received a degree in music from St. Mary’s University in 1989 where I taught as an adjunct instructor from ’89-’96.

As founding members of the Winona-based band Section 8, Mac and I began collaborating in the early 90s, playing gigs at local pubs and festivals in the tri-state area.

One of our first recording collaborations dates back to around 1985 when Mac was singing on a recording for mutual friend and guitarist, Russ Huber. Using a 4-track cassette recorder, ubiquitous at the time, I added the bass and drum parts and passed the tape back to Russ and Mac. That was how it was done if you couldn’t afford a real recording studio.

Technology has come a long way since then and a lot more is possible on a home-produced recording. Like those early 4-track collaborations, “The Way Out” was recorded on a home studio budget except using a digital audio workstation (DAW).  Friend and co-conspirator Mike O’Connor has been an invaluable resource in helping navigate the sometimes tricky byways of personal computing and cloud storage. His patience and generosity are so greatly appreciated. Thanks Mike!

We hope that you enjoy the project. It’s been a real joy to have the creative outlet during the pandemic when live gigs and shows have been scarce and scary. And hopefully, another one is in our future (another recording project that is, not another pandemic.)