Twice the recipient of the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network’s Music Award (2013 & 2016), Craig Peaslee’s music has been described as bold, crass, and unapologetic. His compositions can be traditional, multifaceted, dissonant, genre-bending, and have been known to directly confront social and political issues, bringing attention to such issues while also getting listeners to critically think and discuss the challenges facing the world we live in.

Recent featured performances of his compositions and arrangements have been by Boston’s Arcadian Winds, Flight 584 Big Band from Los Angeles, members of the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee’s Brew City Big Band, and The Moonlighter’s Orchestra. Craig is currently studying composition while working on a Master of Music Degree at Northern Illinois University. His previous studies have been with Dr Mark Mantel, The Academy of Art University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (where Craig received his baccalaureate in music composition), Roosevelt University and the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan.

Being raised in a small community, Craig is impassioned about being able to present new music to smaller communities and areas that do not normally get the opportunity to attend presentations of new and contemporary music. For these reasons, Craig enjoys writing music that is accessible while also sounding new and invigorating.

Today, Craig is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to discover where Craig’s most unusual performance to date took place…

Who was your first favorite artist growing up?

Benny Goodman. The opening growling trumpets to Sing, Sing, Sing always piqued my interest.

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

I cannot recall a time in my life when I was not creating something (visual, aural, etc.).

What was your most unusual performance?

I once had a gig at a Llama Farm. Evidently, I did a decent enough job to be invited back the following year.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I’ll keep the guilty feelings to myself.

If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?

I think I’m already working at that.

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

A couple weeks in residency at the Copland House would be wonderful.

If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?

Complete virtuosic capability of the guitar would be wonderful … that, and the piano.

What does this album mean to you personally?

A great deal.

Dirge & Second Line on WINDSWEPT is now available for streaming or purchase through Navona Records. Click here to explore this new album.