Boo Bradley is Madison, Wisconsin's amazing one-human jug band medicine show, featuring Boo Mullarky pumping out deep ragtime blues and Cajun tunes on a unique ensemble of old car horns, bells, a half guitar/half bass...guitar, kazoo, an old suitcase for a drum, and a tambourine...all at once! Steeped in the steam of the Gulf Coast marshes, Boo grew up on both sides of the Sabine River, dividing his early world between the lonesome cattle calls of Texas and the high-spirited mournful Cajun wail of Southwestern Louisiana. And he quickly took to the music that filled his ears, as Boo grew up in a household rife with the hand-me-down folk music tradition.
Grandson to a Cajun fiddler, nephew to the Hackberry Ramblers' original dobro player and cousin to Cajun hit maker Leroy Broussard, his grandparents' house stood as a stopover for many of the popular traveling Cajun bands. Eventually, Boo headed further east down I-10 to New Orleans and soon found himself enamored with the rollicking sounds of the Royal Street busking scene where the early blues, jazz and ragtime of the 1920's and 30's is still very much alive and thriving.
"Once I saw the street music scene there, the rest of the world quickly fell away. I just wanted to be immersed in that clunky, playful sound every day...and learn every jug band song I could!"
With a decent repertoire in hand, he hit the road, honing his craft in much the same way the itinerate musicians of the early 20th century forged the uniqueness of American music - on the highway thumbing from town to town, playing the next club or cafe, the next street corner, the next campfire. After three years of traipsing through the States and Europe, he eventually landed and took up roots in Madison, WI. And Madison folks couldn't be more pleased.
For over a decade, Boo has been a favorite at Dane County's beloved Farmers' Market. So much so, that he's considered one of the main reasons to show up downtown come Saturday morning. Boo stirs up a veritable "moan" and response lover’s spat, prodding sassy lyrical backtalk to his punchy fret-grinding guitar work. With the haunting moan of the swamp, and that throbbing pulse of the Delta backbeat, all peppered up with some fancy fingerwork and tales of the pavement, Boo colors his songs with a rich homegrown flavor that just can’t be manufactured.
This event is intended for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff, Wisconsin Union members and their guests. Anyone can become a Wisconsin Union member.