To drum up excitement for the June 9 opening of its “Les Paul: The Wizard of Waukesha” exhibit, the Waukesha County Museum has pieced together a music video featuring Sam Llanas, cofounder of the rock band The BoDeans.
Llanas, like Paul, is a Waukesha County native who stepped into the national music spotlight and largely influenced the songs of today.
“It’s always been an honor to say that Les Paul and I come from the same hometown,” Llanas said. “Since the museum is bringing Les’ personal items back to Waukesha and giving them a permanent place for the public to view, I’m honored my song will be used to support their mission.”
The video captures Llanas performing his original song, “The Way Home” at local stomping grounds like Cutler Park, downtown Main Street, and Prairie Home Cemetery where Paul is buried.
The museum approached Llanas, who is a member of the exhibit’s advisory board, about the music video as a way to creatively advertise the exhibit.
“It was…the perfect medium to promote our music-related exhibit,” said Kirsten Lee Villegas, president and chief executive officer of the museum.
The “Les Paul: The Wizard of Waukesha” exhibit, which has been in development for nearly a decade, will display one-of-a-kind artifacts including Paul’s guitars, clothing, personal writings and inventions.
While some of the artifacts belong to the museum and will remain a permanent part of its collection, others are on loan from private collectors as well as the Les Paul Foundation.
“The whole goal of the exhibit is to share Les Paul’s story, and really he is the perfect ambassador to share the story of the American dream,” Villegas said. “Here he was a little kid who grew up in a small Midwestern town and went on to really change the world of music as we knew it with his creativity and inventiveness and of course he was just a phenomenal musician as well.”
The exhibit will also include a 500-square-foot Treasures Gallery that will showcase various artifacts on a rotating basis.
“We hope people are inspired to learn more about who Les Paul was and the impact he made and why his story matters to them,” Villegas said.
Prior to opening “Les Paul: The Wizard of Waukesha” June 9, the Waukesha County Museum will host a private opening on Saturday, June 8. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 262-521-2859 or visit www.lespaulexperience.org or www.waukeshacountymuseum.org.
The Waukesha County Museum is located at 101 W. Main St. in Waukesha and is typically open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General admission costs $6 for adults, $5 for seniors age 62 and older, and $3 for kids ages 6 to 17. Kids age 5 and under and college students with their ID are granted free admission. Museum members can see exhibits for free year round.
To view Llanas’ tribute music video, click here.