As a vocalist and guitarist in Barbaro, Kyle Shelstad has toured all over the country, played some massive festivals, shared the stage with lots of notable bands, and had his music heard by millions upon millions of listeners all over the world. Long before he started the up-and-coming Minneapolis bluegrass outfit, Shelstad was growing up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin and learning the ins and outs of songwriting.

Recently, while spending some time in Milwaukee between tours, Shelstad spoke to My First Band host Tyler Maas about Barbaro getting back on the road after more than a year away, the band’s forthcoming Under The Covers EP, and upcoming appearances at Bonfire Music And Arts Festival and Blue Ox Music Festival. Of course, the conversation also focused on Shelstad’s musical past, including the early interest he took in bluegrass while living in the sleepy Milwaukee-area town, high school cover projects, moving to Montana for college and joining Kitchen Dwellers, moving to Minneapolis and throwing himself into Barbaro after a brief experience with the soul-crushing 9-to-5 grind. Along the way, they talked about Shelstad’s favorite experiences from his years on stage, Cher, horse racing, and Cedarburg’s famed quilting museum.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering, Lakefront Brewery, and Blue Ox Music Festival. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Barbaro (“Barbaro”).

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