What’s Keeping One of Milwaukee’s Most Beloved Musicians in Wisconsin?

Nashville and Memphis are bigger music cities, but Zach Pietrini chooses to stay in Milwaukee.

Like many singer-songwriters, Zach Pietrini makes periodic pilgrimages to Nashville. Last spring, he trekked south to cut a two-song record he’s simply titled The Nashville EP. The Americana musician admits that when a Memphis-based label encouraged him to move to Tennessee, he thought long and hard about packing his bags.

“But I’ve heard from so many people who’ve left to move to a big music city who say that it’s just as hard or harder to make a living there,” he says. “I’ve worked so hard to be here.”

Since relocating to Milwaukee from Chicago seven years ago, Pietrini has become one of the city’s most established and beloved musicians. He says Wisconsin now feels like his home, regardless of how much time he spends on the road.

He and his bandmates toured for much of the fall, playing venues in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. But they’re returning to Milwaukee for a special concert and EP release party at Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery on Nov. 8. “When we haven’t played our hometown for a minute, the first show back is always a lot of fun,” he says. “You’ve got a group of folks who are invested and interested.”

For now, that’s reason enough for Pietrini to continue living in and making music in Milwaukee.

“Local Talent” appears in the November 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.