Americana Music | WGLT

Americana Music

Releasing a new album during the coronavirus pandemic has a silver lining for the bluesy Peoria roots-rock trio Hoosier Daddy.

Pandemic Takes Emotional Toll On Musicians

May 1, 2020
Pokey on stage
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

As the economic effects of the coronavirus ripple around the globe, the arts have been hit especially hard. The creative class is vulnerable to financial upheaval. Artists and performers are often independent contractors whose fluctuating incomes require sustained promotional efforts.

Put simply: To make it as an artist, you’ve got to hustle.

Edward David Anderson plays Nightshop in Bloomington Saturday night
Troy Phillips

Bloomington Americana singer/songwriter Edward David Anderson says his new "Live and Solo" album intentionally tried to capture where he's at in his current iteration.

Jared Grabb plays Nightshop in Bloomington Thursday night
Rodger Hanlon

Peoria native Jared Grabb knew art would be a major part of his life from a young age. But once he arrived in college to study comic book art, he discovered his love of music trumped visual art.

Taylor Steele says a spicy sound may soon mix with the Illinois prairie sound her Effingham-based band is known for.

Chicago Farmer plays the Castle Theatre Friday night
Bradley J Scott

Bloomington's Cody Diekhoff, known professionally as Chicago Farmer, digs deeper into America's widening economic divide on his new album "Flyover Country."

The Banjo's Roots May Be Further East Than Even Africa

Jan 31, 2020
two people with banjos
Jim McGuire / Bela Fleck

Bluegrass is what drew Béla Fleck to the banjo. He heard the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies” and the “Dueling Banjos” as a kid, and said he felt compelled to pick up the instrument. He never put it down, and today is considered one of the world’s foremost banjo players.

Jason Hawk Harris plays Nightshop Friday night.
Bloodshot Records

Jason Hawk Harris’ debut on Bloodshot Records is an Americana gem many are calling one of the best albums of the year.

Josh Ritter plays The Castle Theatre Friday night.
David McClister

Josh Ritter is known worldwide as a talented songwriter. Matter of fact, Paste Magazine named him one of the 100 greatest living songwriters in 2006.

Lauren Jenkins plays The Castle Theatre Friday night.
Michael Church

Big Machine label group artist Lauren Jenkins utilized her background in acting and film directing to produce a video short to compliment three traditional music videos related to her new album.

Matt Anderson, Edward David Anderson and Tim Kramp of Backyard Tire Fire
Edward David Anderson

Black Dirt Music Festival founder Edward David Anderson says the outdoor July event next to the Castle Theatre is intended to celebrate the best features of Bloomington-Normal.

Vandoliers
Mike Brooks

Dallas-based Vandoliers' recent deal with respected Chicago indie label Bloodshot Records was a big deal.

Cindy Youngren and Dan Diefendorf with Hoosier Daddy at Crusens in Peoria
TJ Dehn

Members of three established Peoria-based bands have come together as the Americana trio Hoosier Daddy.

Sarah & the Underground performing at The Limelight Eventplex in Peoria
Ian Lester / Alek Photography

The implications of being gifted the raw recording of their live August show on WTVP-TV in Peoria didn’t dawn on Sarah & the Underground members Sarah Marie Dillard and Brandon Mooberry. At least not right away.

Matthew Curry performing at the 7th annual Ride Festival in Telluride, Colorado.
Maryelle St. Clare

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Matthew Curry is tweaking his sound as he opens up to new styles on his listening reportoire.

The Bottle Rockets
Cary Horton

The new album from roots-rockers The Bottle Rockets explores technology and other changes that have occurred since the band formed in 1992.

The Dead South perform a recent show in Salt Lake City, UT
runawaytroutman / Instagram

The folk/bluegrass quartet The Dead South has been described as "the evil twin" of Mumford & Sons for their twisted lyrics that often depict violence and gruesome deaths.

Edward David Anderson
Kim Anderson

Bloomington musician Edward David Anderson recorded his new album "Chasing Butterflies" in the musically fertile Muscle Shoals, Alabama, area. He said he wanted to use musicians in that region to organically build and arrange his newly written songs.

Courtesy

The Feudin’ Hillbillys. It's a name that conjures both a kind of music and an attitude.

Brent Simonds

Illinois State University School of Communication Professor Brent Simonds knows his just completed documentary of Nashville singer/songwriter Verlon Thompson tells a compelling story.

“It’s a sweet story about a really sweet man who has monstrous talent, especially when it comes to playing acoustic guitar,” Simonds said of his film "Sweet Dreams Do Come True."

Shelly Swanger / Shelly Swanger Photography

Bluegrass legend Sam Bush included the original song “Bowling Green” on his latest album titled “Storyman.” It’s an ode to growing up on a farm just outside the southern Kentucky town.

Ennemay Photography

Downers Grove native Scott Marek is an aspiring country singer/songwriter/bandleader ready to up his game.

"It's so much fun to get up on stage and sing," said Marek. "Hopefully everyone is listening, and as long as that continues to climb as it has been, I don't see why I should turn back."

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

The man credited with helping to create rock 'n' roll will be remembered during a public memorial on Sunday, April 9, in St. Louis. Chuck Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90.

Judith Valente/GLT News

As a teenager, Robert McLaughlin would go to the public library in the small town in upstate New York where he grew up and check out the cast albums of Broadway musicals. 

One of those musicals was Stephen Sondheim's "Company" from 1970. 

"I knew his name from "West Side Story," but I didn't know this musical, "Company." It started with all these voices overlapping, calling out the name of the main character. I'd never heard anything like that. It was one of those moments when your heart goes whoo. And I was hooked from then on."

Now McLaughlin has a new book out that looks at the artist and the man, called "Stephen Sondheim and the Reinvention of the American Musical." 

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer is perhaps to the Midwest what Bruce Springsteen is the the New Jersey shore.

Her lyrics evoke not only a landscape, but a Midwestern sensibility of neighborliness and an appreciation for tradition, common sense and the land.

Her rich alto voice, acoustic guitar work and knack for capturing the sacred in the ordinary have delighted Twin City audiences for decades.

Edward David Anderson
Edward David Anderson

Edward David Anderson has been flying solo as a folk/country/rock artist since Backyard Tire Fire announced an "indefinite hiatus" in 2011.  With two critically acclaimed albums since 2014 and a touring  schedule that keeps his cars odometer spinning, the multi-instrumental Anderson has found his sea legs post-BTF.  But he didn't find them overnight.

The Deep Hollow co-founder Micah Walk immediately knew “Devil” was a good song.

“Liz and I started writing songs together before Dave came along” said Walk, referring to fellow group members Liz Eckert and Dave Littrell.  “That was one of the first three or four songs we wrote, and I thought ‘this is coming along pretty well.’”

John Legg / www.johnleggphotography.com

Oliver Wood sort of chuckled when he said joining forces with brother Chris to form the Wood Brothers in 2005 was a good career move.

"Until that time, I certainly put in my 10,000 plus hours of playing music and working as a musician, but I was never able to realize the creative part with the business part to really make a living and be taken seriously in the world" said Wood.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Nobel Committee recently named musician Bob Dylan as the winner of this year's prize in literature.

The songwriter and sixties icon is known for his distinctive voice and delivery as much as for his lyrics and activism.

ISU Professor of English Jan Susina is a Dylan fan from way back and thinks this year's prize is a great choice.

Susina joined GLT's Charlie Schlenker to talk about Dylan's work. Susina says he and his tolerant family recently got to geek out on Dylan...

Don Palma / Palace Events

Musicians and music fans will join together to support a local landmark with a new music series beginning October 1. The Duncan Manor Songwriter Series will support restoration of the Italianate-style mansion near Towanda. 

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