So you have the right to ask, "What's with the Irish band on the cover? Is it St. Patrick's Day already?" I'm sorry to tell you no; we still have most of January, February and half the month of March to get through before we reach the saint's day, with its promise of imminent spring.
It does give us the chance, however, to inject some color into the midwinter gloom and to focus on something other than the drumbeat reports of impending economic doom. The story of Rising Gael, a young, Madison-bred, Irish-music-derived quartet that has grown in regional popularity, is an upbeat tale in a decidedly downbeat time.
I suppose we could have put our other big story on the cover. In "Meet the New Bosses," Erik Gunn introduces us to the leadership of the new Legislature. Now that the Democrats are in control of both houses of state government, there is a new batting order, and Gunn provides the lineup. (As the old ballpark refrain goes, "You can't tell the players without a scorecard!") But put a gallery of suits on the cover rather than a couple of winsome Irish lasses? No contest.
If we really wanted to get down with the current jaw-dropping economic disruption, we could have featured news editor Bill Lueders' report on the state of things at Capital Newspapers Inc. Has the world really turned upside down out on Fish Hatchery Road? Yes it has, in the economic sense. Former weak sister the Capital Times Co. finds itself sitting on a pile of cash. In these days of tough credit and tougher times, cash is not just king, it is emperor.
No, we'll go with the music. Jessica Steinhoff gives us the story of the band Rising Gael, some local kids who started a band while still in high school, or not quite, and have built it into a growing concern through college, almost, and have no plans to stop doing it anytime soon, despite geographical barriers. We think the story deserves to be told and rates the cover. Besides, it reminds us that the world wants to be green - and will be again.