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Jym Mooney

Jym Mooney: September 25, 2015 · OK, I'll go along. Here's my senior picture from 40 years ago, Hamilton High School in Sussex, Class of 1975.

The Moxie Chicks

The Moxie Chicks are all long-time members of Milwaukee’s acoustic music scene, having met each other at coffeehouses, music parties, and providing back-up work on various recording projects. Their musical motto is “Sweet harmony with an attitude!”, and their swinging three-part harmony vocals liven up a wide variety of original, traditional, classic, and contemporary songs. In addition to their own compositions, the Moxie Chicks perform songs by the likes of Hank Williams, Gillian Welch, the Beatles, Paul Simon, Carole King, John Gorka, and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, as well as songs from other Milwaukee area songwriters.

Vocalist and bassist Chris Straw has written several of our signature tunes. She and lead guitarist Jon Pagenkopf spent some years working together in the bluegrass band Pickin’ Up Speed. Vocalist Carol Lee Hopkins has been singing in Milwaukee coffeehouses for many years, most often in the company of her husband, guitarist Jym Mooney. Jym is a widely respected member of Milwaukee’s acoustic music community, with several recordings to his credit. His songs have been performed and recorded by several area performers and groups. Vocalist Jonnie Guernsey, also a long-time Milwaukee area coffeehouse performer, rounds out the group.


A collection of favorite pop songs from the 1920s to today, from folks like Hank Williams, the Beatles, Gus Kahn, Fats Waller, Gillian Welch, the Ink Spots, and more. Recorded live at the Moxie Chicks' 100th gig.

CROSS ME, FOOL! (2006, Moo-Town MTP006)
Featuring 14 delightful songs showcasing The Moxie Chicks’ trademark three-part harmony singing backed by tasteful musicianship. "The more you listen to the CD, the better it gets!" - Gary L.

Fifteen original songs of peace from some of Milwaukee's best acoustic musicians. The Moxie Chicks contribute the song, "Sisters." "Five stars! I want to listen to it again and again. I was looking for an upbeat CD on peace. This is just that, plus great music by any measure." - Patricia W.

Jym Mooney

Jym Mooney has been making a name for himself on the folk scene in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin for over thirty years. In addition to performing his witty, insightful songs in coffeehouses, clubs, and festivals, he has appeared on radio, TV, and cable. Jym has released several recordings to positive critical response, and his work has received airplay on radio stations in Milwaukee and Madison, as well as on the Wisconsin Public Radio network. Jym's hilarious song "Murphy (The Three-Legged Beer Swillin' Hound)" has aired multiple times on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento Show. His powerful anti-war song "I Have Come To Take My Boy Home" has been sung and recorded and posted on blogs around the world. Jym's songs have been recorded and performed by Jiggernaut, Sweet Diversity, the Starvin' Band, Jonathon Leubner, Fritz Schuler, Patty Stevenson, Brett Kemnitz, Ghost of a Rose, Skip Jones, and the Moxie Chicks. He performs regularly with his wife, Carol Lee Hopkins, both as a duo and as members of The Moxie Chicks. Mooney and Hopkins also produced the anthology CD One Ball Of Clay – Songs Of Peace And Hope (2002, Moo-Town MTP005).


LIVE...NOW AND THEN (2009, Moo-Town MTP009)
Live recordings from 1981-2009, including new songs and songs never available on CD before.

CD with Jym's song "Frank Said" and Larry's Penn's "In My Father's Mansion," celebrating the life and work of the late Milwaukee mayor and lifelong community activist Frank Zeidler.

A celebration of Jym's large extended family, by turns whimsical, loving, thoughtful, and nostalgic. Jym's deft lyrical touch draws the listener in and invites you to join the warm family circle he sings about. "That's a fine CD!" - Art Thieme

EAST SIDE GUY (1999, Moo-Town MTP004)
A 19-song CD featuring seven brand new songs plus a dozen selections from Mooney’s previous recordings, including rare and unreleased tracks. “Jym Mooney has long been one of Milwaukee’s best singer/songwriters. East Side Guy…chronicles the development of Mooney’s thoughtful (and playful) writing.” - Dave Luhrssen, The Shepherd Express Metro

IT AIN’T A SIN TO GRIN (1991, Moo-Town MTP003)
A 12-song cassette featuring backing by several top Milwaukee area folkies. “It’s refreshing to listen to a set of songs that makes you feel good about life. The issues are not political or satirical, just simple things and the importance that the people around us play in our lives.” - John “Nick” Kinney, The WMSE Transmitter

THE LINES ARE OPEN (1985, Moo-Town MOO002)
A 16-song LP recorded live at The Coffee House. “Perhaps more than anything else humor makes this recording. Too often folksingers reduce their genre to a wallowing state of confessional self-pity and philosophical drivel. Not so with Mooney.” - James McCarter, The Crazy Shepherd

The notorious five-song EP with Brett Kemnitz. “A regional classic that became an anthem for the decade.” - Dick Nitelinger, host of WMSE’s Folk City



TBT: Chris Mooney, Joe Olkowski, and Jym Mooney, December 1984. Recording my first solo album live at The Coffee House (19th Street - Milwaukee, WI).

June 11, 2015 - Mike Reilly: Jym, did you have the album recorded to vinyl ? What was its name and the recording studio? Did the group/band have a name then?

                    Jym Mooney: Yes, The Lines Are Open was my first solo recording, a vinyl LP. Reagan Time was a 7-inch 33 1/3 rpm vinyl disc (known as an EP) in partnership with my friend Brett Kemnitz. Until the Moxie Chicks were formed, I was a solo act, although often with guest musicians. More frequently Carol and I began to bill ourselves as a duo-act as we performed together with more regularity. This would have been from the late 90's forward. It Ain't a Sin to Grin was a cassette. All other recordings after that were CDs.

Reagan Time was on Makin' Jam, a label owned by Skip Jones in Shawano. All other releases were self-released by me.


Facebook Interview with Jym Mooney June 1, 2015

6:21pm - Mike Reilly - Jym, last week I was talking to Jim and Betty L Hottenroth mentioned a Jim Mooney used to practice and play with Les Paul in Waukesha. Are you the same person mentioned? We're gathering the music history from the Sussex-Lisbon area for our local historical society records. Would you care to discuss your early music/band history and what you may do now with music? Please check my FB page for more interesting local music history postings.

Mike Reilly SLAHS President and Assistant Curator

PS - I've got Mooney blood in me. My great-great-great-grandfather James Reilly/Riley married Mary Mooney, born abt 1810 in Ireland, in Ireland in County Meath. Could never really trace her lineage.

6/1, 9:21pm - Jym Mooney - Hello Mike, - I can say with certainty that I have NEVER met Les Paul, let alone jammed with him. Betty and Jim H. may have gotten some stories mixed up, as I hung out at their house pretty regularly back in the late 1970s when I was dating Jim's sister Kim. -

9:25pm - Mike Reilly - Hmmm, I wonder who they were talking about though? Did you have a high school Fan Club? -

6/1, 9:26pm - Jym Mooney - Having said that, if you want to talk about what I actually have done musically for your research, that would be okay. You should also get in touch with Mike Pyle, another Sussex musician. he played in the Shivvers in the 80s or 90s, very popular around Milwaukee and got some attention in a wider audience (their works were released a few years ago on a CD from a Norwegian - I think - fan). -

6/1, 9:27pm - Jym Mooney= - Oh no, not me. I wonder if they are thinking of Bryan Kanieski. Don't know if he ever played with Les Paul, think I would have heard about that. He lives in Georgia now. -

9:27pm - Mike Reilly - Jym, what year did you graduate from Hamilton? -

6/1, 9:27pm - Jym Mooney - 1975 -

9:28pm - Mike Reilly - You can see now that stories need to be told now and the truths sorted out -

9:29pm - Jym Mooney - I have a website (hasn't been updated in a while, but it does have some historical stuff on it). -

9:29pm - Mike Reilly - I was 1970 from Falls North

    I'm taking a look now

6/1, 9:31pm - Jym Mooney - I lived in Sussex 1961-1966, then returned 1973-1979. In Milwaukee ever since. -

9:33pm - Mike Reilly - How many of the people featured on the web site are from the Sussex area? -

6/1, 9:35pm - Jym Mooney - Just me, and my brother probably got mentioned. He plays bass and did some work with me here and there. Had a band in Madison called Beat! The Naked, kind of ska/punk influenced, they put out a great single.

Above -July 1, 2015 via FB:  Jym Mooney > ‎Mike Reilly - Cover art for Beat - The Naked!'s 1984 single. Chris Mooney (HHS 1976) on bass guitar. Co-produced by the band and Butch Vig (Butch later became massively famous when he produced Nirvana's Nevermind and the Smashing Pumpkins' Gish).

Below - Reverse art.

9:37pm - Mike Reilly - Play in any local Sussex bands? ska ??? - Were you influenced by HS music like the Music Lab? Or ? -

6/1, 9:40pm - Jym Mooney - Don't know what the Music Lab is. The big influence on my development came through the Humanities classes led by John Sutte and Dencie Munns (both passed now, sad to say). Opportunity to grow as a writer and as a performer. Really, essential to me and several of my musician buddies in those times. -

6/1, 9:40pm - Jym Mooney - That was at Hamilton HS. -

9:41pm  - Mike Reilly - Jon Sutte, ran the Music Lab at the HS I'm told. It was for kids not in Band. -

6/1, 9:41pm - Jym Mooney - My brother took up bass after he left Sussex, didn't play in any Sussex area bands. Also did bluegrass, but his style of choice in recent years has been jazz.

    Hmm, maybe before my time, or else just another name for Humanities? Hard to say.

9:43pm - Mike Reilly - So you didn't play with Mark Kenney, Mike Truttschel, Dean Nolde, etc.?

6/1, 9:45pm - Jym Mooney - Nope. I think Mike might have been in my year, the other guys were older and I did not know them. having left Sussex in 4th grade and returned for junior and senior years in HS put some gaps in the people who I knew and who I didn't know.

    The guys I jammed with were Mike P. and Bryan K., Joe Ollkowski, Ryck Kapp, Jim Stevens, Kenny Stone, Steve Dorst. -

9:46pm - Mike Reilly - Ok, kinda of my story too, that is, with moving around and coming back, but for me it was the Falls.. What is your brother's name and year he graduated?

6/1, 9:46pm -Jym Mooney -Chris, 1976.

9:48pm = Mike Reilly - The Hottenroths say they will donate Ken's podium for our museum exhibit display. Did you know Ken very well?

6/1, 9:49pm - Jym Mooney- You are referring to Kenny Hottenroth Sr. the polka musician, right? I only met him once.

9:51pm - Mike Reilly - I will build a web page for your music background on our website listing as much as I can. Will be up in a couple of days. Do you have any old photos of the bands/posters you were in that you could post on your FB page, that I could use on the page to dress it up?

6/1, 9:53pm - Jym Mooney - I'll look around. Gotta hit the sack now, I have an early morning.

9:53pm - Mike Reilly - Ok Thanks Jym!



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