Water Street Jacks is an Americana, folk-rock band out of Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin. Educators by day, the band grew out of getting together to play for students at a staff variety show at Sauk Prairie Middle School where Ted Harter (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) is the principal and Hans Fester (drums, harmonica, vocals) is a Physical Education Teacher. Along the way Ted and Hans picked up two Sauk Prairie High School staff members: Vocal Music Teacher, Matt Brennan (keys, vocals) and School Counselor, Owen Murphy (mandolin, vocals). They began to play in earnest in 2016 for local events and at their home pub, The Woodshed Ale House. Since that time Water Street Jacks have toured extensively in southeast Wisconsin playing legendary music bars in Madison such as the Come Back In and Up North Bar, large events like Fire on the River and Isenroo Music Festival, along with headlining Madison's most beloved music venue, the iconic High Noon Saloon.
All of the members have strong musical backgrounds. Harter grew up playing trombone, singing and acting at Wabeno High School and milking cows to late 80’s/early 90’s country on the radio in his family’s dairy barn. Fester was a drummer and front man in punk bands in the late 80’s like Drop Forge and Skip Tracer out of Milwaukee. Murphy formed the bluegrass group Old Farm Dog with a lifelong friend a few years ago which was recognized in 2015 as Madison Area Music Awards Country/Bluegrass Performer of the Year. And Brennan, a Sauk Prairie native, studied music at Drake University and has taken over a storied music program as the Vocal Music Teacher at Sauk Prairie High School; his musicals, show choirs and vocal soloists routinely win competitions across Southern Wisconsin as well as in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. While their musical roots are different, they share a love for the Americana, folk and alt-country music that has a foundation laid by artists like John Prine, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen and has recently made a resurgence thanks to groups like The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, The Head and the Heart, The Lumineers, and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Since 2016, the band has collaborated to write and play over a dozen original songs along with the unique covers they play. Restless Heart and Adalie (Murphy), River and Someday (Fester), and Where to Stay and Heart of the Wilderness (Harter) all pull together the musical backgrounds, tastes, and life experiences of this fun group of guys. Water Street Jacks prides itself on killer four-part harmonies, devilish good looks, and the only Mando-Strat this side of Nashville!
WHAT FANS ARE SAYING
"Passionate act blending a welcome unorthodox mix of fresh original tunes with tasty cover songs. Talented display of musicianship as well." John Hauser - The LoveMonkeys
"Packed house, people balancing on stair treads! Vintage TOO SMALL for this band!" Jon S.
"Great music, energy and fun group!" Mary B. - WAM Fest
HIGH NOON SALOON, Come Back In, Up North Bar, and Bos Meadery in Madison, Vintage Brewing Company in Sauk City, Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, Yahara Bay Distillers in Fitchburg, The Vines in West Point, Lucky's on the Lake in Lodi, Chula Vista Resort in WI Dells, River Arts on Water in Sauk City, Woodshed Ale House in Sauk City, Roxbury Tavern, Barn of Dreams in Portage, Barr House in Sun Prairie, Sauk City Library and many private events.
Isenroo Music Festival in Roxbury, Fire on the River in Sauk City, Wabeno Arts and Music Festival, June Tunes in Sauk City, Baraboo Night Market, Concerts at the Portage, Best Fest in Portage, Marquette County Fair in Westfield, Great Sauk Trail Opening in Prairie du Sac, Owen Fest in West Point, and multiple Sauk Prairie Music Association Fundraisers.