Biography

I was born and bred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with dual passions for music and education. I opted for the pragmatic route and earned a Bachelors Degree in Community Education from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. After college, I split my time as an educator between teaching music to grade schoolers at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, and as an adjunct music historian and lecturer at The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. 

As far back as I can remember, I’ve courted the creative muse, which compels me to write and perform the music I love. After many years of performing across a wide spectrum of midwestern venues, I left my grade school and college teaching jobs behind to pursue my musical dreams full-time. Since then, I’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, visited every state in the Union (except Alaska and Hawaii), wrote almost a dozen instructional books, recorded over a dozen albums and taught thousands of students ukulele and harmonica. 

Twenty-plus years in, that was the best choice I ever made.

Growing up in the shadows of American Motors, Briggs & Stratton, and A.O. Smith, the sights and sounds of Milwaukee’s industrial powerhouse in flux were an inspiration for my music, infusing it with strong esteem for the common man. It’s probably no surprise that my heroes include Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Sonny Terry, Cicso Houston and Leadbelly. 

The way I see it, music isn’t just about entertainment. It has the ability to uplift spirits and empower human beings, whether you’re a kid, a senior, someone with developmental disabilities, or just an average person just getting through your day.

Without a doubt, my first loves are for the humble ukulele and harmonica. But the truth of the matter is that I’m actually a seasoned multi-instrumentalist equally adept with a flat-pick guitar, old-time banjo, or blues mandolin.

You can find me traveling across the country, teaching and performing at Ukulele Festivals. Every autumn I tour the eastern regions of America, followed by journeys deep through the south and up through the west in the winter. 

So if you or your group would like to have some Lil Rev in your life, drop me a line and say hi.
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Testimonials

Listen to this! Lil Rev is great!
Pete Seeger

Lil Rev isn't an act, he's real.
Joe Hickerson, Former Head of Library of Congress Folk Archive

Lil Rev is the real thing!
Art Thieme

Lil Rev is a Wisconsin treasure.
Ann Schmid, UW Milwaukee Folk Center

A remarkable muscian, entertainer and teacher.
John Leefe, Mayor of Liverpool, Nova Scotia

A Ukulele and Harmonica Wizard
Elderly Instruments

Lil Rev is the Jewish Pete Seeger: a voice that just pulls you in, a raconteur, and a folksinger in the classic tradition of songs of justice, dignity and Jewish heritage
Rabbi Larry Milder

 

Awards

Best Folksinger
Wisconsin Area Music Industry, 2004

Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame
Inducted 2003

Best Harmonica Instrumentalist
Wisconsin Area Music Industry, 2000

National Blues Harmonica Champion
Hohner Competition at Avoca, Iowa, 1996

Best Acoustic Act
Shepherd Express Readers Choice Awards, 1996