Ken Ebsen and Maggie Mae

 Ken Ebsen and Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae, Stevie Ray Nelson, and Eric Nofsinge on stage at the Cal Center.

Maggie Mae, Stevie Ray Nelson, and Eric Nofsinge on stage at the Cal Center.

That Maggie Magic

by Ken Ebsen

Summer Time Blues.

We were fortunate to be able to attend back to back Maggie Mae shows on the last weekend in June. On Saturday, June 27, 2015, on our way to the Maggie show we made a stop at Mischlers (Amish) Store between Pardeeville and Dalton where we picked up a few things that we can’t regularly find at the mega markets.
We continued on our scenic trek though the back roads of  Northern Columbia County to Rio, WI, where the town was observing their Sesquicentennial. With a brief stop at the Johnson Sausage Shoppe in Rio to drop off some Liberators, we then continued on to The Savanna Oaks Community Center at Fall River, WI, where Maggie Mae and the Heartland County Band delighted between 300 and 400 exuberant fans. The fine show was capped off with a delicious Chicken BBQ. 

After being soundly entertained we took a more direct route back to Oxford and the friendly confines of home sweet home. As usual after each show we capture the moment for our Facebook friends by posting pictures of the show on our Facebook page. You never really know which pictures will be a hit until you get a reaction from the Facebook crowd. When you get 50 to 100 likes on a picture, you know you have done a good job with the camera. 

After what seems like a short nap, we were up and getting ready to head to Maggie and Roger’s farm for one those famous Maggie Mae Barn Dances. 

June 28, 2015 marked not only the last Barn Dance until September, but also the birthday of Maggie Mae. It was a typical late June day in Rural Wisconsin and most everyone was ready to help Maggie Mae celebrate her birthday. Many of Maggie’s fans brought gifts and the “Maniacal Misfits” staged an R rated gifting scene by having Mr. Maggie Mae pop out of a box to start the second half of the show. We decided to contribute to the fun by bringing Maggie one of my soon to be famous Cherry Chocolate Birthday cakes. 

The show was a rousing success and everyone left with a song in their heart and a smile on their face.

It is going to be a bit lonely in the old Hay Loft where Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band hold their Barn Dances for the next couple months, but the weather is against it in a Wisconsin summer. Wisconsin may be known for its cold weather, but definitely not in July and August. We have recorded 100° temperatures in the Barn at past shows.

Remember you can catch Maggie Mae and the band at the Corn and Tater Festival in Grand Marsh, WI on June 16.  If you want to take a trip you can always board the bus and travel to Sandstone MN on August 20 for her taping of the Midwest Country Show.

To pass our time away this Summer we will be tending the Garden and harvesting the rewards of our labor.


That Maggie Magic 

by Ken Ebsen 

A Week with Maggie Mae

It is late spring and approaching the good old summer time. Roger finally got the garden plot prepared and ready to plant. 

Evelyn and I got several rows in Maggie Mae’s garden or better known as “Maggie’s Mae’s Magic Zucchini Patch.” We spent a few days in the first week of June planting those delectable edibles we will be enjoying in late summer, early fall and especially in the midst of a frigid winter. 

You avid Maggie Mae Fans would not have recognized your Favorite Country Singer had you by chance seen her crawling on her hands and knees down a row sowing seeds in the garden. 

Back in early April I bought seeds on ebay and started plants in boxes in my kitchen. I planted 3 vanities of Tomatoes, Ground Cherries and Peanuts. I think every seed I planted grew, so I had plenty of plants. Would you believe I planted 54 Tomato Plants?

Maggie did cut back a bit on her Zucchini crop this year. As you will recall she planted 30 Zucchini plants last year and had Zucchinis everywhere. This year she only planted 10 plants. I am afraid the people of Oxford will become Zucchini deprived this year. 

June 4, 2015 found us at the farm for another one of those famous Maggie Mae Dinner Shows.  We were happy to greet an old friend from Mc Cook, Nebraska to the farm. 
Eighty- Nine-year-old Dale McNutt has visited Maggie Mae for about 5 years now. This year he was accompanied by his Daughter, Grand Daughter and Great Grandson. Dale is one of Maggie’s greatest fans and has even had Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band do a concert in Mc Cook NE. 

Four tour buses from around Wisconsin arrived at the barn on time and were personally greeted by Maggie Mae before disembarking. It is always a challenge to get those big buses turned around so they are ready for the trip home. Maggie and Roger always have a crew of healthy men around to assist those who need help getting into the barn.

Today we had around 250 avid Maggie Mae fans ready to have a fine meal of BBQ Chicken, Roast Beef, Cowboy Bean, and more before Maggie delights them with a couple of hours of fine down home country music. It was a very good show and the fans enjoyed an afternoon of Dancing, Dining and general all around fun.

With a Public Barn Dance scheduled for the following Sunday it met we had to stow the tables and set up the chairs for a public gathering. It was a gruesome task, but we got it done. Now with the Barn set up for a Public Barn Dance we had a couple of days to relax until Sunday’s show, which was scheduled as a Texas/Arizona Reunion.

Come Sunday morning the weather was a little onerous with early rain, but the Sun came out and all was well for another great day on the farm. We arrived at the farm about 2 hours before curtain time, so we had plenty of time to shmooze with old and new friends.  

The show started with The Heartland Country Band made up of native Wisconsinites with  Stuart Thayer, LaValle, Piano, Eric Nofsinger, La Farge Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson, Tomah Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers, Necedah  Drums, James Lau, Fond du Lac  Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson, Elroy  Pedal Steel Guitar and Dan Smith, Madison Rhythm Guitar/Vocal, in top form for today’s show.

Maggie Mae was also in top form today, singing her heart out for the many fans from across the good old USA.  It was an amazing cross section of Americana, with folks from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Alaska, Arizona, Texas and of course Beautiful Wisconsin.  
Another of the highlights of the show was Eric introducing a George Jones favorite, “The Grand Tour.” Followed by Maggie Mae singing Tammy Wynette’s “Apartment Number Nine.” 

Just before intermission a local group that we will refer as “Maniacal Misfits” staged a Mock Shotgun Wedding. The jury is still out on the audience acceptance. 
A nice contingent of folks who Winter in Texas and Arizona were at the show even though it was chilly by their standards. Dennis Wittig who is now moving to Arizona entertained the folks with a fine song. Then Doc from the Oxford VFW Post thrilled the crowd with a couple of oldies.  

One of the highlights of the day was when Tor Eness of Ontario, WI  performed a few of his original compositions such as “Fiddling Around” and the one about his funeral instructions.
Tor Eness will host the Vernon County Dairy Breakfast on June 20, 2015 at the Little Ridge Dairy, the former home farm of Orion Samuelson, a famed farm broadcaster best known for the U.S. Farm Report and a regular on RFD TV. Samuelson will be on hand to meet and greet and is expected to speak to the crowd. Tor Eness and his sister, Inga Gerber, will act as Chairs of the Dairy Breakfast which will feature plenty of music with Maggie Mae and Eric Nofsinger, along with local favorites Tor and Friends.

At the conclusion of the show Maggie Mae did her usual good byes and signed auto graphs for those who sought them. 

After the conclusion of this fine day of choice entertainment we took a trip to the garden site to see what effect the rain had on our plants. They are looking as good as Maggie Mae sings.  


That Maggie Magic 

by Ken Ebsen 

Everyone Loves Maggie.

Between May 19 and 24 more than 1,000 fans made their way to Oxford, WI to enjoy the melodious strains of Maggie Mae. 

On May 19 Maggie entertained a full house at Maggie Mae’s Country Café in Oxford from 8:30 till 11:00 A.M..  Moving on to May 21, when more than 250 people gathered at Maggie and Rogers farm for one of the rapidly becoming famous Maggie Mae Dinner Shows. Now we fast forward to Sunday, May 24 when more than 700 hundred fans from across the United States  gathered at the farm for the opening 2015 Public Barn Dance.

Maggie Mae appearing solo at the Café on the 19th featured people from Wisconsin and surrounding  states. Fans love the closeness of these Café appearances because of their ability to interact with Maggie. Even though Maggie and Roger have sold the Café, she will continue to be preforming there when available.  

The popularity of the Maggie Mae Dinner Shows is unbelievable.  The original schedule of Dinner Shows sold out so fast that others had to be added. The September 22 Dinner Show is now the only one with space available. 

The May 21 Dinner Show brought in people from a little different locale. There were 4 bus loads of Maggie fans. One bus came from the Greater Milwaukee Area and the other 3 came from Northern Illinois.  Usually the buses are from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.  The Northern Illinois buses brought some new faces to Yee Old Barn.

The tables were set up and ready for the arrival of the four bus loads of ardent Maggie Mae fans to descend on the barn.  

When all were seated Maggie Mae asked the Lord to Bless the food and all those present at today’s event.  After the blessing the people start their trek through the serving line to load up the plates with some really fine vittles. The fare for today was BBQ Chicken, Roast Beef and Gravy, Cowboy Beans, Cole Slaw, Red Potatoes/Carrots/ Celery, Macaroni Salad and Corn Bread with Honey Butter. U betcha  that was some fine eatin’. It is amazing how 250 less than spry, elderly folks can maneuver through the serving line and be back to their table ready to chow down in less than 20 minutes. 

One secret to the smooth operation of these Dinner Shows  is the Maggie Mae staff and those talented Maggie Mae Dancers who are always there to lend a helping hand.

When all are seated and filling their tummies Maggie starts the entertainment part of the day. With the help of a remote Microphone Maggie is able to start the show out among the fans. This adds a more personal touch to the show.

The show was great with Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band playing a good varity of traditional Country Music.  The audience interaction was at a high level in this show which is always great. Maggie Mae kept the bantering going with audience member Fred.  As the show wound down it was evident that those in attendance were ready to come back again for more fun at the Barn. 

Maggie Mae was pleasantly surprised when an audience member came to the stage and introduced himself as a veteran country music disc jockey. He told the crowd that in his many years of playing country music and meeting country musicians he had heard no one better than the Heartland Country Band. We are all very proud of this group of homegrown Wisconsinites.    
It is always a challenge when there is a dinner show which requires tables and chairs followed by a Public Barn Dance that need theater type seating.  After the show was finished, we managed to get tables taken down and the chairs arranged in about 40 minutes. Great Job Everybody.

The first Public Barn Dance of the year was on May 24 with Breakfast on the Farm and a full-blown Craft Fair. We arrived at the farm at around 7:30 in the morning with very threatening weather.  About 50 venders had signed up for the Craft Fair and bless them they did try to display their wares. Mother Nature decided it was not a good day to sell merchandise outside. The breakfast went well despite the rain.

No one really knew what to expect at the Barn Dance because of the nasty weather, but it takes a lot to discourage a true Maggie Mae fan. The people kept coming through the door until as Maggie’s song says “There Was Not a Place to Sit.” The final crowd count was somewhere around 700. 

The fans literally came from across the nation with folks from Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Alaska, Texas. Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and of course Wisconsin.

The Heartland Country Band made up of Stuart Thayer Piano, Eric Nofsinger Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers Drums, James Lau Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson Pedal Steel Guitar, Dan Smith Rhythm Guitar/Vocal was in top form for today’s show.  

Maggie is always ready to give other artists a chance to perform on her stage. Former Madison resident, “Too Tall”, who now makes his home just a few blocks from Maggie Mae’s Café gave us a couple of old time country classics. John Klang from Fall River, WI who used to play lead guitar for Maggie a few years back delighted the crowd with some great musical humor. 

As many of you know, Maggie Mae has been taking Violin lessons for the past year. Maggie’s Violin Instructor and her sister gave us some outstanding Violin Music. 
This was a great opening show for the 2015 season and the prospects are they will only get better as the year goes by. 

Every thing went as planned even though old mother nature didn’t cooperate very well. With Barn Dance number one in the books we look forward to another on June 7 which is a reunion show to welcome all of those that were in Texas and Arizona last winter. 


That Maggie Magic

by Ken Ebsen

2015 Season Opener

May 14, 2015 Oxford, WI:  The hay bales have been moved, the floor swept, the tables are in place and the first Maggie Mae Dinner Show on the farm for  2015  was ready to go. 

Maggie was expecting 5 buses for the show from New Holstein, Green Bay, Gailsville, Tomah and Minnesota.

Maggie Mae greets each bus as it arrives to explain the history of the farm and how she got started with her singing career. The farm has been in Roger’s(Mr. Maggie Mae) family more than 100 years.  

The buses were well-spaced today, unlike many shows when they all come at once. They were so well spaced that the last bus was a bit late.  It seems the bus companies rely on GPS to find their destinations.  It is unfortunate that GPS leaves something to be desired in the countryside of rural Wisconsin. 

Maggie Mae and Roger’s farm is on 1st Drive in Adams County and there is a 1st Drive in Marquette County only about a mile away. Roger and Maggie’s farm is on the county line with land in both counties.  GPS likes to send you on the wrong 1st Drive. 

Another common error on GPS in when you are on I 39 it wants to send you to Oxford on County Road D instead of State Highway 82 which is very confusing to the non native driver. 

Kim got a call from the last bus indicating they were lost. Roger went out to meet them and escort the bus to the farm. 

The fans were now seated and ready to eat. You could see that hungry look in their eyes. Was that hungry look for food or was it for that fabulous Maggie Mae music?  The Maggie Mae staff does a fabulous job by serving around 250 people in less than 20 minutes.

The people were busy chowing down as the show started. Maggie Mae began the show by strolling through the crowd while singing her opening numbers.  

The Heartland Country Band was in fine form today. What a great cast of musicians, with  Stuart Thayer Piano, Eric Nofsinger Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers Drums, James Lau Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson Pedal Steel Guitar, Dan Smith Rhythm Guitar/ Vocal.   

Eric displayed a strong pitching arm by throwing several Yee Haw towels to the awaiting hands of the avid yodeling fans.

Maggie Mae is one of the best yodelers in the music business today. Maggie Mae always credits the great Janet McBride for her success by listening to Janet’s CD “50 Years of Yodeling.”

The musical entertainment included such songs as the Ernest Tubb hits like “Walking the Floor Over You” by Steve Nelson and “Thanks a Lot” by Dan Smith. Wisconsin Native Pee Wee King’s famous hit “The Tennessee Waltz” was done masterfully by Eric Nofsinger. James Lau gave us a great rendition of The Hank Williams hit “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Ray Chambers sang his rousing version of “Don’t Come Crying to me.”

Maggie’s special guest Wally Mueller left us with a great memory of the Leroy Van Dyke hit “Just Walk on by.” 

Then there was Maggie Mae who sang her heart out for her many happy fans who had come so many miles to see and meet their favorite singing Cowgirl.  
The show was as usual a masterpiece of quality entertainment. 

When the show was over Maggie visited each departing bus to thank them for being there and wish each and everyone a safe trip home. 

Maggie’s dog, Tucker, asked me to thank everyone who scratched his ears and said “Y'all Come Back Now.” 

This was a great start to what looks like a fabulous year of musical entertainment at the old barn.


That Maggie Magic

by Ken Ebsen

A Tribute to the Superstars of Country Music

May 3, 2015 was the most beautiful day of the year so far in 2015.  It was also beautiful in the Crystal Grand Music Theater, Wisconsin Dells, WI where 700 plus ardent Maggie Mae fans gathered to absorb some of that Maggie Magic.

Maggie Mae and The Heartland Country Band approached this show from a rather different angle. The idea of a Tribute show took shape and became a huge success.  Many of the songs Maggie and the Heartland Country boys do were hits by major country stars of the past, so why not feature them in the form of a Tribute. Good Idea!

Maggie kicked things of with a  couple of rousing tunes (Cajun Moon & Rocky Top) to wake the audience up.  

Maggie then introduced her special guest of the day, the suave and debonair Mark Gruenenfelder, who did his rendering of Ned Millers “From a Jack to a King.” 

Mark then served as Master of Ceremonies for the show by not only singing but giving a brief history of each artist being honored. 

The tribute section of the show started out with Maggie doing Jimmy Rogers “I’m in the Jailhouse Now” Jimmy Rodgers (September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933) was an American country singer/songwriter of the early 20th century who was known as "The Father of Country Music.”

Mark asked Maggie the question of the century, “Can You Yodel?”  This was a tribute to the great Patsy Montana, the first female vocalist to sell one million records in 1936 with “Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Maggie does a superb job on this one which appears on her 1st CD “Cookin’ Up Country.”  

Eric Nofsinger did his fine version of  Faron Young’s  “Leaving and Saying Goodbye.”

We then headed to Bakersfield, CA with Dan Smith doing Buck Owens’ “Act Naturally.”   

The great late Ernest Tubb was the next one to be honored by Steve Nelson doing a fantastic verison of E T’s “Walking the Floor Over You.” The hat does it for you Steve.

Maggie returned to the spotlight with a song that has been recorded by everyone who is someone. “You Are My Sunshine,” which also is Mother-in-law Wilma’s favorite.

An outstanding Wisconsin Songwriter/Band leader Pee Wee King was favored next by Eric Nofsinger doing Pee Wee’s classic “The Tennessee Waltz.” 

Maggie Mae displayed her versatility by joining Eric in a Twin Fiddle rendition of Bob Wills “Faded Love.”  She then followed with vocal of the Bob Wills great “San Antonio Rose.”

Who could do a Country Music Tribute without including that Ray Price hit “Heartaches by the Numbers?

The show took a turn from the serious to the humorous with a discussion on Zucchini Gardening by the Marquette County Zucchini Queen Maggie Mae, of course.  We had to have a bit of Tomato Gardening from Dan Smith with “Home-Grown Tomatoes.”  Maggie brought us up to intermission time with her a rousing rendering of “Whatever Happened to the Yodeling Cowgirls.”  

The second half of the show started with Maggie doing her magnificent impression of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors.”

The Hank Williams tribute featured a medley of Hanks greats by Mark and Eric doing “Jambalaya” and “Kaw-liga”. 

Who could forget the great Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” as done by our own Maggie Mae?  

Steve Nelson awed the fans with his verison of  Willie Nelson’s “Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground.”   Things lighten up a bit When Eric started the Willie and Waylon’s hit “good-hearted Woman” to be joined by Mark in full Willie head gear. Stuart joined in the act by putting his braids on backwards. Maggie requested Stewy to play “Down Yonder” as a redemption for his antics.  

The pièce de résistance came when Mark did a superb interpretation of a group of Johnny Cash’s greatest hits. 

Tammy Wynette's Apartment Number 9 was so beautifully done by Maggie Mae.  Eric rounded out the George and Tammy section with George Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” 

As always Maggie did her Tribute to our Veterans, by singing Merle Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side of Me” and Eric doing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Maggie Mae closed the show as usual by doing “Ya’ll Come” and left the stage with a rousing Yodel.

The crowd loved this great show and were grabbing schedules to see when they could see Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band next. 



That Maggie Magic

by Ken Ebsen

50 Years of “Peanuts”

On April 18, 2015, more than 600 of Rodney “Peanuts” Esser’s closest friends gathered at the Middleton Performing Arts Center to celebrate his 50 years of service to the Middleton Cross Plains School District. 

Peanuts started working at the Park Elementary School which was built on part of his home farm in 1965. 

In the words of Peanuts Esser: “It was a proud moment for me when board president Herb Niebuhr gave me the keys to the school and said, You and your family have farmed this land for a long time. It is only fitting that you continue to work on the same land.”

It was very evident by the outpouring of love at this event that Peanuts was truly loved and respected by his family, friends and peers. Rodney “Peanuts” Esser I would personally like to thank you for your kindness to Evelyn & myself.

The show was great. As I told, Maggie Mae at the end of the show it was the “Best Show Ever.”   

The Heartland Country Band was in great form on this night. Every performance by these guys gets a little bit better.  I have been in Branson, Nashville and have seen about everybody who is anybody perform and none do it better than this group of outstanding Wisconsin Musicians. 

Stuart Thayer Piano, Eric Nofsinger Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers Drums, James Lau Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson Pedal Steel Guitar, Dan Smith Rhythm Guitar/Vocal  

At this performance Maggie Mae brought in a Special Guest:     
Mark Gruenenfelder of  Blanchardville, Wisconsin

Mark has an exceptional singing voice as he presented his renditions of Ned Millers “From a Jack to a King” and "Lonesome 7-7203" by Hawkshaw Hawkins and penned by Earnest Tubb’s son Justin Tubb.”  

Mark returned to the stage in the second half of the show to do his ever popular and  beautiful medley of Johnny Cash favorites. 

Stuart (Twinkle Toes) Thayer presented Maggie with a gift courtesy of Peanuts Esser of a package of Zucchini seeds. This gift was to insure that Maggie Mae has an adequate crop of Zucchini this year.

Maggie and the Band did their usual songs featuring:
With Steve Nelson doing Sgt. Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Berets” and  Willie Nelson’s “Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground.”

Stewey wrapped up the first half of the show with a rousing rendition of “Down Yonder.”

Eric Nofsinger thrilled the audience with his Fiddle and vocal antics with Moe Bandy’s “Rodeo Clown” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
Maggie brought the crowd to a somber moment when she did her beautiful version of the time-honored hymn “How Great Thou Art.” 

Early on in the show Maggie showed a video of the famous Pledge of Allegiance.  This was first aired on Televison on 14 January 1969. One has to realize what was televise in 1969 has become so meaningful today. 

April 13 Steve Nelson spotted a guy wearing a Maggie Mae Tee Shirt on a promo spot on the Channel 3 Madison weather. Steve took a screen shot and posted it on Facebook. The Tee Shirt guy Preston Rodríguez was at the show and Maggie Mae got him on stage and autographed his shirt. 

All in all this was one of the best country music shows we have seen in along time. 

We are looking forward to being at The Crystal Grand Music Theater at Wisconsin Dells on May 3 where Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band will be doing a show honoring the greats of Country Music, such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. At this show Mark Gruenenfelder will be the M C and also sing several of your country favorites. 


That Maggie Magic

by Ken Ebsen

Taking  the High Ground 

On April 11, 2015, Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band  did a fund-raising concert to a sell out crowd at the Performing Arts Center in Pittsville, WI for the Persian Gulf tribute at the Highground Veterans Memorial of Neillsville, Wis. 

If you are looking for a somber and eye opening trip, you should head to Neillsville, Wisconsin for a visit to one of the finest Veteran Memorials anywhere in the nation. 

We cannot say it better than the way it is said on the Highground website:

“It is the mission of The Highground to honor Veterans and their families and to educate about the cost of things - the human cost.”

“It is the vision of The Highground to honor human courage and sacrifice wherever it is displayed, without either denying or glorifying the pain and suffering of war or of life.”

This is Maggie Mae and Heartland Country’s 4th fund raising concert for Highground and all have been sell outs or near sellouts. Over the years Maggie’s shows have raised more than $20,000.00 for the Gulf War Tribute.

I can say from experience that Highground is very impressive having visited it 4 times in the last 2 decades. 
Maggie Mae is not your run of the mill performer.  She loves her fans and supporters as much as they love her. 

We arrived about an hour before the show started to find Maggie Mae in the lobby of the auditorium meeting and greeting the people as they arrived.  This is the Maggie we know and love. She does not care who you are or what you look like she will always have a hug waiting for you. 

We had lots of friends at this show and no matter what we were talking about the subject would always get back to Maggie Mae. 

As with her show at Reedsburg last month, Maggie had a couch placed on stage and 4 lucky people got to sit on the stage and enjoy the show sitting right there beside  Piano Playing Stuart(Twinkle Toes) Thayer. This time they sold chances and had a drawing to determine the lucky winner. 

Kirk Rodman, Volunteer General Manager opened the show by the drawing of names for the lucky winners. The first drawing was for a beautiful Red White and Blue Afghan. The lucky winner was Maggie Mae. I wonder if that drawing was really legit. 

Maggie opened the show with a couple of Patriotic Songs, one of which was one of my favorites from WWII, Elton Britt’s “There’s a Star Spangle Banner Waving Somewhere.”  

The show was made up of many of the crowd pleasing favorites like Dan Smith doing "Home-Grown Tomatoes" and Looking at the "World Through a Windshield."  Steve Nelson did some somber tunes with Sgt. Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Berets” and  Willie Nelson’s “Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground.”  Maggie added a new one to this show with her fine rendition of Martina McBride’s “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.” Watch Out Martina!!!  Who could ever forget Stewey’s version of the Floyd Cramer great “Last Date?”

Eric Nofsinger brought rousing applause with his outstanding Fiddle and vocal renderings of that traditional favorite “Listen to the Mocking Bird,” Moe Bandy’s “Rodeo Clown” and Lee Greenwoods “God Bless the USA.”

As with any Maggie Mae and the Heartland County Show, the music was great and the mood was pure fun.

The Heartland Country Band is made up of these outstanding Wisconsin Musicians. 
Stuart Thayer, Piano, Eric Nofsinger, Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson, Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers, Drums, James Lau Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson Pedal Steel Guitar, Dan Smith, Rhythm Guitar/Vocal

Our Next opportunity to see Maggie Mae and The Heartland Country Band will be at the Middleton, WI High School on April 18 at 7:00 P.M. for a concert honoring “Peanuts” Esser’s 53 year of service to the school system.

If you are looking for some outstanding entertainment, head to The Crystal Grand Music Theater at Wisconsin Dells on May 3 where Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band will be doing a show honoring the greats of Country Music, such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. 

We will see you there. I have front row seats for this one. 


That Maggie Magic 

by Ken Ebsen  3/31/2015

We Are Blessed

As we move to the twilight of life there are many who find life becoming tedious and restrictive with little to do but sit in front of the Televison and watch some show that was written and presented by some young whippersnapper with no clue what mature life is all about. 

We in Mid Wisconsin are so fortunate to have someone in our midst with whom we can relate.

We have something in this area that most people can only dream about. We have Maggie Mae. 

For those of you who have been living under a rock or hiding in some concrete jungle Maggie Mae is a Country Music Artist from Oxford, Wisconsin who also happens to operate Maggie Mae’s Country Café on the west edge of Downtown Oxford.    

When Maggie Mae is not on the road entertaining the masses, she is often at the Café singing while you enjoy a great breakfast. 

The crowd at Maggie Mae’s Country Café is usually in the 50 plus age group and come from across the U.S. and Canada. On days when Maggie is there you can be assured the little Café with a Capacity of around 70 will be full. 

Aside from great food and entertainment at the Café, Maggie Mae and her Heartland Country Band have several Barn Dances and Dinner Shows per year at Maggie and Rogers Farm which is located about 3 miles from her Café.    

On March 26 we headed down to Stoughton, Wisconsin for Maggie  
Mae’s second concert of the season to continue our MMWS* Therapy at the Beautiful Stoughton Opera House. 

This artistic old theater was built in 1901 and restored in the 1980's is truly one of the hidden treasures of Wisconsin. 

"There is scarcely a jewel in the many theaters we have played in 34 years to compare with the beautiful Stoughton Opera House," says Douglas B. Green, better known as Ranger Doug of the cowboy band Riders in the Sky. "Add to that a great staff, excellent sound, and most of all an always appreciative audience, and it's no wonder at all why we love to return to Stoughton.”

When you combine the beauty and grace of this majestic old theater with the uplifting talents of Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band, you have an unbeatable combination.

Maggie Mae had 2 shows this day (3:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.) at the Opera House. We were happy to see a very nice crowd of old friends and avid fans at the 3:00 P.M. show.

In addition to Stuart Thayer Piano, Eric Nofsinger Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers Drums, James Lau Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson Pedal Steel Guitar, Dan Smith Rhythm Guitar/Vocal, Maggie added Mark Gruenenfelder to the line up to a sing a medley of Hank Williams hits in the first segment of the show and another medley of Johnny Cash hits in the second half. 

Mark has such a great voice, it is pure pleasure to listen to him perform these old standards with so much ease and grace.

Maggie and the band had a busy week with 2 performances in Stoughton on the Thursday the 26th, a show at the Temple Theater in Viroqua, WI on the 28th and 2 shows at the Shauer Center in Hartford WI on the 29th. 
Our next opportunity to see Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band will be in Pittsville, WI on April 11. This will be a benefit for the Highground Veterans Memorial at Neillsville, WI. If you want to see an impressive site take a trip to the Highground at Neillsville. You will be awe struck.  

Maggie’s April schedule at the Café will be April 9, 23, 29. I will be there and would love to see and talk with all of you.

* Maggie Mae Withdrawal Syndrome



That Maggie Magic 
by Ken Ebsen 3/24/2015

Awakening From A Long Winter 

It was not a particularly bad winter this year by Wisconsin standards. We did have some double digit below zero temperatures but they are all behind us for a while.

The leading malady in the Oxford, Wisconsin area was a massive outbreak of MMWS.  MMWS stands for Maggie Mae Withdrawal Syndrome which is an affliction  caused by the inability to see Maggie Mae perform on a regular bases. 
The last area Maggie Mae concert was on December 7, 2014 at the Crystal Grand Music Theater at Wisconsin Dells. 
In January and February Maggie, Roger and Steve Nelson headed to the warmer climate of Texas and Arizona to entertain the good folks who escaped the frigid north to live the winter in RV parks in the great southwest. 
As you see, it was crucial for those of us afflicted with MMWS to attend Maggie Mae and The Heartland Country Band’s first concert of the year at the Cal Center in Reedsburg, Wisconsin on March 22. 
We were joined by some 500 other Maggie Mae fans to enjoy a truly great musical presentation. This was the 5th annual performance by Maggie and the Band at the Cal Center sponsored by American Legion Post 350 of Reedsburg. WI.  The goal of this concert was not only to bring some fine musical entertainment to Reedsburg, but to raise funds for several local charities. 
The kick off  of the show featured an Auction to sell 4 on stage seats to the highest bidder with all funds going to local charities. This was a really nice twist to start what turned out to be one of the best country music shows you will see anywhere in the country. 
Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band has developed into a country music sound that will take the backseat to no one. 
The Heartland Country Band Features: Stuart Thayer Piano, Eric Nofsinger Fiddle/Acoustical Guitar/ Vocal, Steve Nelson Lead Guitar/ Vocal, Ray Chambers Drums, James Lau Bass Guitar, Loren Nelson Pedal Steel Guitar, Dan Smith Rhythm Guitar/Vocal.
Maggie Mae has brought this group of really good veteran musicians together and developed a fantastic  traditional country sound.  
For anyone who has attended a Maggie Mae concert knows of her respect for the Armed Forces. Being the mother of a 2-time Purple Heart recipient daughter(Karah Cox Adams) she has become well aware of the sacrifices of the Military Family. Most all of her performances will include a rousing Military tribute. 
With the Cal Center show being sponsored by American Legion Post 350 made this tribute even more fitting. 
Maggie’s singing of the WWII Elton Britt “Hit There’s A Star Spangle Banner Waving Somewhere” was especially fitting in today’s world situation.
Who can ever forget Steve Nelson’s outstanding rendition of Sgt. Barry Sadler’s Ballad of the Green Berets. The audience always is taken aback by Eric Nofsinger version of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A.
A special feature of the Cal Center Show was a Video Clip of Red Skeleton reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
There was a lighter side to the show with Maggie singing many of her country favorites. How about Dan Smith singing "Home-Grown Tomatoes" and Looking at the World Through a Windshield. Steve Nelson silenced the fans with his  verison of Cousin Willie’s Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground.
Eric always livens things up with a rendering of Listen to the Mocking Bird.
The music is always great no matter  if it’s Maggie, Stuart, Eric, Steve, Ray, James, Loren or Dan doing the honors.

Check Maggie Mae’s schedule to see when Maggie Mae and the Heartland Country Band will be in your area, or better yet plan a trip to Oxford, WI for a great meal at Maggie Mae’s Country Café and attend one of her famous Barn Dances.  

Molly B meets Maggie Mae in Texas.

Maggie Mae & the Heartland Country Band

Maggie Mae, a home-grown talented country singer/Nashville recording artist from Oxford, Wisconsin has been entertaining crowds with her country music and yodeling and promises enjoyment throughout her shows.   She is becoming one of the biggest Midwestern names in pure country music.  She is a favorite performer on RFD TV’s "Midwest Country Show" on Saturday nights (on Direct TV and Dish Network and on the Family Network), which has made her a familiar face in millions of homes across the country. Maggie Mae’s instant rapport with the audience and her enthusiasm throughout her shows guarantee enjoyment not only by country music fans but also for anyone else who just loves good music.  You’ll hear the traditional  country sounds of fiddle, guitar, steel guitar, piano, drums and bass guitar and of course…..YODELING by Maggie.

Her Story

After buying her first guitar in 2002, she has taught herself to play and sing and has been entertaining crowds ever since.  Maggie and her husband Roger Hilliard own and operate Maggie Mae’s Café in Oxford, WI  which won "RESTAURANT PICK OF THE MONTH" award through the Discover Wisconsin Radio/TV show.  Folks travel from across the country to stop at her café where she might just be there singing your favorite country song over breakfast.   Be sure to call the café to find out when Maggie will be there singing during breakfast 608-586-4881, or for info on here barn dance/ dinner shows.  Maggie says: "Everyday there are so many folks that travel from states and cities away to my café in Oxford, WI or attend some of my other shows across the state.  I love seeing the smiles on fans faces."  Maggie and Roger also crop farm in Wisconsin.  They love being connected with their rural roots and are still in awe of how their lives have changed since Maggie started to perform in 2002.

Maggie has performed for four years at the RFD TV Theater in Branson, MO.  Maggie Mae and her band Heartland Country travel and perform at theaters, dances, fairs, festivals and many other events throughout the states and drawing crowds.  She opened in 2013 for the Oak Ridge Boys at the Walworth County Fair.   Folks have been traveling from across the country to see her shows.  Be sure to pick up a copy of her schedule to attend some of her events as she often has fan buses that take fun-filled trips to her shows.  You won’t be disappointed.  

Maggie Mae’s fan base keeps growing as folks come to attend her "Maggie Mae Barn Dance/Dinner Shows" which she holds on her farm in Oxford, WI.  People bus in from all over to enjoy the day with Maggie Mae and her music.  The setting is right up in the hay mow of their 100 year old barn.  It brings memories to many that attend and keep them returning.  

To date she has recorded 7 albums , with plenty of toe-tapping and yodeling songs that will make you smile. Her songs are currently being played on many radio stations across the country and abroad.   She has sang with such greats as: The Riders in the Sky and recorded a duet with country great Doug Stone as well as opened up shows for many artists.  She has performed in May of 2014 with one of the "Grand Ladies" of country…the great Leona Williams.   In 2011 Maggie’s album "Cooking Up Country" has won the Rural Roots Music Commissions pick for Contemporary Country CD of the Year Award.  Maggie’s latest gospel album "Walking in the Son’s Light" was officially up for a Grammy nomination in 2012
Maggie Mae is also a proud military mom….as her daughter Sgt. Karah Cox is in the Army, 101stAirborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  Her daughter has served three tours in Iraq and Afghanastan in which she has received two Purple Hearts and has recovered well.     Maggie is so proud and thankful for her, all of our military, veterans and to be an American.  Her shows always pay tribute to the men and women whom have bravely sacrificed and served our country!

You’ll enjoy a great afternoon listening to the best traditional country music around with: Maggie Mae,  Eric Nofsinger (fiddle), Steve Nelson (lead guitar), James Lau (bass), Ray Chambers (drums), Loren Nelson (steel guitar), Dan Smith (acoustic and electric guitars), and  Stuart "twinkletoes" Thayer (piano)


About Maggie Mae