Blues and barbecue on the seventh day

My wife and I take weekend trips to the Fox Valley area on a frequent basis; we both grew up there and still have family and friends in the area. If we make our way back at a leisurely pace, listening to WMMM 105.5 FM as we approach Madison, we encounter the eTown radio program--by far, the most stultifying, sleep-inducing radio program not airing on public radio.

eTown emanates from Boulder, Colorado; my admittedly anecdotal understanding of spelling tells me that Boulder doesn't start with "e," so I don't know what town is "eTown." I'm not sure that I've ever heard anything interesting on eTown, except for one show wherein I first heard Flobots. But we're talking years here.

I really thought, last weekend, that eTown aired earlier than 9 PM, and that Triple M had scuttled the snoozer of a show in favor of DJ-less standard programming. I was ecstatic. There was some actual good music (I think I heard Beatles and maybe Ray Lamontagne), and no droning chatter about folksy acts touring through Colorado.

Contrast this with the weekends that we spend in Madison. By the time Sunday rolls around, I've watched a lot of football, and probably done a good bit of housework and errand-running. What I want is meat. Caloriffic meat with plenty of caramelized proteiny goodness. And barbecue is the preferred method of delivery for said meatcandy.

Sadly, there's a trend in Madison barbecue--at least the barbecue that's in my usual orbit--that stymies my dreams of Sunday smokiness.


There are six barbecue joints in Madison (seven if you count Famous Dave's, and my most recent experiences insist that I not), and three are closed on Sundays. The Haze, Brickhouse, Porky Pine Pete's, Papa Bear's (website currently non-functional), Smoky Jon's, and Fat Jacks. Haze, Pete's, and Papa Bear's are all closed on the day God rested. I'll grant that barbecue is the food item perhaps most directly attributable to the spark of the divine in all of us, but that doesn't mean 'cue-doers need to take the seventh day off, too.

My Sundays need a jumpstart. Mediocre music and limited barbecue--this is not a good way to close out the weekend. To address this woeful situation, I have a two-part proposal.

1) More barbecue, obviously. The Haze is the most urban, and incidentally also the most financially secure (considering the association with Shinji Muramoto's restaurant empire). Porky Pine Pete's and Papa Bear's are slightly more removed from the main drag, but only just. And since Papa Bear's is just down the road from my 'hood, I'm constantly faced with driving past a dark storefront on Sundays; it's pretty depressing. Just four hours of business. 4-8 PM, something like that. I'd be happy!

2) More blues. Y'see, Triple M has a secondary HD Radio channel called The Delta, and it's an all-blues channel. I can't think of a better soundtrack to Sunday afternoon and evening than a few hours of non-stop blues. It'd be a good promo for their HD product, which--I can't help but suspect--is probably still pretty unknown. HD Radio is a bit of a boondoggle, but if people knew they could get 24-hour blues with 105.5-2, they might be more inclined to give it a shot.

Tell me a hot summer evening, or a brisk fall night, or even a snow-clogged January Sunday, wouldn't be infinitely better with a double shot of more blues and more barbecue. Triple M? Pit masters of Madison? Let's remember Sunday, and keep it smoky.