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A weekly series focused on Bloomington-Normal's arts community and other major events. Made possible with support from PNC Financial Services.

Destihl TourBus Series features Edward David Anderson in a novel format for B-N, plus new artists and a custom brew

A man with a greying, close cut beard sits on a stool holding a guitar. He and a young, blond girl seated in front of him smile at the camera. Brown bourbon barrels are stacked in the background and the sun casts geometric shadows on an ornamental red area rug on the ground.
Lauren Warnecke
Veteran area musician Edward David Anderson has been busy. He and his wife and business partner Kim launched a record label, organized multiple music festivals, and are mom and dad to Ella (pictured with Anderson in Destihl's Barrel Room). Their latest endeavor is launching the TourBus Concerts at Destihl, a listening room-style series of stripped down, acoustic shows.

In the past few years, musician Edward David Anderson has become a self-contained artist. During the pandemic, Anderson moved to a property outside Havana, Illinois, where he now has his own studio and spearheaded a concert series and songwriters’ festival.

With his manager and wife Kim, the pair, whose company is called Black Dirt Management, also organized a summer festival next to the Castle Theatre and launched a new record label, Black Dirt Records. And if that wasn't enough, the Andersons took over talent buying for Destihl last year and, beginning Saturday, premiere a new concert series at the brewery — not to mention being mom and dad to 3-year-old Ella.

The inaugural TourBus Concert Series will feature acoustic solo artists in Destihl’s Barrel Room — stripped down to the basics and presented listening room-style. Here’s another perk: Anderson worked with Destihl to produce a new beer just for the occasion. The brew is called — you guessed it — Black Dirt IPA. And it’s only available in the listening room.

“I saw the beer come off the line for the first time with the label and I was like a giddy little schoolgirl,” Anderson said. The St. Charles native launched his music career while in graduate school at Illinois State, then in Asheville, North Carolina, with the band Backyard Tire Fire (which shortly thereafter set down roots in Bloomington). He has spent the better portion of three decades in central Illinois.

“Seeing Black Dirt IPA come off the line here at Destihl was a magical moment,” he said.

The name Black Dirt is a play on the red dirt genre found in Texas and Oklahoma.

“I was very familiar with the red dirt music scene,” Anderson said. “We have black dirt here and it’s some of the most fertile soil in the world.”

In the ear, that fertile soil sounds like roots music with a signature tone that has come to represent the region: literally a little bit country, and a little bit rock and roll.

Anderson is encouraged by the growth of the music scene since arriving in the '90s and said the TourBus Series is a particularly exciting development in the Twin Cities. Bloomington-Normal is not lacking in clubs and music venues, but he is not aware of any quite like this.

“This room is super cool; it has a vibe,” Anderson said. “We don’t have a songwriter listening room. That’s what we’re looking for here. People to come in, refrain from conversation and get in.”

Anderson kicks off the series with a solo set on Saturday, Jan. 14, followed by Phoebe Hunt on Feb. 4, Will Kimbrough on March 25 and Beth Bombara on April 14. Hunt and Kimbrough, from Nashville, and Bombara, of St. Louis, each make their Twin City debuts with the TourBus series.

“They’re all exceptional,” Anderson said. “Destihl was cool enough to give Kim and I the freedom to bring in people just based on the quality of the music. I can tell you right now, anybody who comes to those shows will not leave disappointed.”

The TourBus Concert Series kicks off Saturday at Destihl with Edward David Anderson, followed by Phoebe Hunt, Will Kimbrough and Beth Bombara in February, March and April. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. VIP tables for up to six people are available for $275. Details and tickets can be found at destihl.com.

Lauren Warnecke is a reporter at WGLT. You can reach Lauren at lewarne@ilstu.edu.
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