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Chippewa Falls Public Library

The Chippewa Falls Public Library is set to host the second year of its acoustic based concert series collaboration with Converge Radio starting this month.

A unique, immersive and intimate concert series is making its return to Chippewa Falls in 2020.

“Unplugged at the Library” is an acoustic-based concert series that features an artist playing original music acoustically for an hour to an an hour and a half at the Chippewa Falls Public Library.

The free concert series is a collaboration between Converge Radio and the library and 2020 will be the second year of the series with an artist taking the stage on the last Friday of every month at 7 p.m. starting in January.

The 2020 “Unplugged at the Library” lineup was announced last week via the Converge Radio website and features local musician Greg Gilbertson kicking things off on Jan. 31., Justin Jay Arnold on Feb. 28., Jerrika Mighelle on March 27., Virginia Steel on April 24 and Nici Peper closing out the series on May 29.

Gilbertson said he is excited to kick off the series and said having performances like this in the Chippewa Valley are vital to both a healthy music scene and community in general.

“I think these kind of concert series are vital,” Gilbertson said. “I think that any city that wants to have a vibrant atmosphere is going to have to overcome a lot of challenges and Chippewa Falls is no different. And shows like this, not that the arts can solve everything, I think events like this in the community can establish a sense of beautify, hope and life and a variety of things we don’t get from our political discourse.”

The “Unplugged at the Library,” series is similar to the classic MTV production “MTV: Unplugged,” which saw legendary performances from acts such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton and dozens of more artists stripping their music down to the essential acoustic instrumentation and telling in-depth stories about the inspiration of the songs in between tracks.

Gilbertson said storytelling isn’t usually part of his live performances, so the chance to dive deeper into the meaning of his heartfelt acoustic-based songs is an opportunity he is relishing.

“I tend to not tell too many stories when I perform, but all of my songs have great stories behind them,” Gilbertson said. “Over the last few years I’ve let the songs speak for themselves, but this show will be fun to give myself permission to tell the stories that made these songs exist.”

Another artist on the “Unplugged at the Library,” schedule is local roots-based performer Justin Jay Arnold. Arnold said his performance on Feb. 28. is bound to be softer than his usual performances as the crowd will skew younger and the environment of the Chippewa Falls Public Library yearns for a calmer atmosphere and listening experience.

“My gut response is it will be a softer show, but I know it doesn’t have to be that,” Arnold said. “It’ll probably be softer and gentler then what we’d play in a bar, and there will be kids there so we will try and keep the swearing to a minimum. This is a show where we want to cater to as many people as we can and keep it G-rated so everyone has a good time.”

While the Chippewa Falls Public Library is usually a quiet place reserved for literature, the second year of the “Unplugged at the Library,” concert series is bound to bring unique performances to ensure a night listeners won’t forget anytime soon.

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