Isiah Driessen is a singer-songwriter who characterizes his music as “Western psychedelic folk.” Based in Little Chute, he founded a co-op known as The Cedars Project that connects community members with artists and business owners.
ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?
ISIAH: I met Allison at The Heist and we just started chatting. I was putting together a music festival last month so over the summer I had reached out to hire her as a consultant. That’s how I got involved; she offered the membership then.
ME: Right on! Sounds like it was an organic connection. What was the festival?
ISIAH: It was called the Cedars Fest; it was two days of mainly local artists and it was all original music.
ME: We love to see as much of that as we can!
ME: That said, I understand that you do solo music but also perform with a band Salmon Run?
ISIAH: I was doing that but I just switched, so now I’m not playing in Salmon Run anymore. Now I’m just focused on my solo stuff.
ME: Oh, sure! What’s been on your mind as a songwriter lately?
ISIAH: Well, I hadn’t done any writing in a while but I just started picking it back up. I’m stronger vocally, so when I was playing with Salmon Run I kind of leaned on the other guy a lot for the guitar. It’s something I’ve really been focusing on and honing my technical skills to become a better musician overall.
ME: Sweet, that’s cool. I’d love to hear more about your nonprofit, The Cedars Project.
ISIAH: It’s a co-op thing we’re starting! The goal is to do these projects and enhance the community; a lot of times it’s hard to organize people to do that sort of thing, so the co-op organizes people who want to do it while compensating them and working with local business owners. After the Cedars Fest, I started working with the village of Little Chute; they’ve got some grant money that they’re willing to give us as long as we set up a market for them next year. We want the profit to stay within the community and its members instead of just going to one person who just goes and buys a yacht like Jeff Bezos (laughs).
ME: Right. Eat the rich (laughs).
ME: So, I’m not too familiar with the Little Chute area. What’s your favorite venue to play around there?
ISIAH: I haven’t played too much in the Appleton area but I like the Lyric Room in Green Bay – the owner’s a really nice guy.
ME: Right on. I’ve heard good things!
ME: My last question for you is, what are you working on now?
ISIAH: I’m starting a construction company! But musically, I’m writing and putting together an album over the winter. I have like four hours of material I need to condense down and put into songs to make sound nice.