Chicago Farmer

Chicago Farmer sings on the title track of Backenforth, IL, out January 22, 2013.  It’s the centerpiece of his sixth collection of Guthrie-inspired populist songs, as well as autobiographical. The son of a small town farming community, Cody Diekhoff logged plenty of highway and stage time under the name Chicago Farmer before settling in the city in 2003. Profoundly inspired by fellow mid-westerner John Prine, he’s a working-class folk musician to his core. His small town roots, tilled with city streets mentality, are turning heads North and South of I-80. “I love the energy, music, and creativity of Chicago, but at the same time, the roots and hard work of my small town,” he shares. Growing up in Delavan, IL with a population less than 2,000, Diekhoff’s grandparents were farmers, and their values have always provided the baseline of his songs. He writes music for the “kind of people that come to my shows. Whether in Chicago or Delavan, everyone has a story, and everyone puts in a long day and works hard the same way,” he says. “My generation may have been labeled as slackers, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t work hard – many people I know put in 50-60 hours a week and 12 hour days. That’s what keeps me playing. I don’t like anyone to be left out; my music is for everyone in big and very small towns.” He listened to punk rock and grunge as a kid before discovering a friend’s dad playing Hank Williams, and it was a revelation. Prine and Guthrie quickly followed. The name Chicago Farmer was originally for a band, but the utilitarian life of driving alone from bar to bar, city to city – to make a direct connection to his audience and listener, took a deeper hold. Songs like “Workin’ On It,” are the kind of sing-a-longs he’s known for; it’s become common to see whole rooms full of strangers erupt and sing to the choruses of his songs on first listen. While “The Twenty Dollar Bill” is more sentimental, reminding everyone of that time their own Grandma surreptitiously passed along a little cash to hang onto. Chicago Farmer plans to continue touring relentlessly to support the new album. With Backenforth IL, he solidifies that wherever he is, that’s where he belongs, that’s where the songs will be written and sung, and that’s where the music will be played.

Ernie Hendrickson

For Ernie Hendrickson, the hill country is as much a state of mind as a physical locale, as the deep but beautifully casual songs on his new One for the Dreamers eloquently remind us. In the hill country of Ernie's imagination, the high ground provides an elevated vantage point that enables his listeners to perceive how time can leave important matters unfinished, or tie up loose ends with sometimes heartbreaking finality. Yet the hill country is, of course, a real place, and where Ernie comes from. The Wisconsin native grew up in what's called that state's Driftless Area, where Midwestern flatness gives way to a more rounded landscape, so it’s natural that that he chose to record One for the Dreamers nestled among the neatly arranged hills of Middle Tennessee.
Recorded at Lamplight Studios in rural Primm Springs, Tenn., 2013's One for the Dreamers was anchored by producer-drummer Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Mark Knoplfer), songwriter-producer-bassist Kevin “Swine” Grantt (Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson), and Pete Wasner (Vince Gill) on piano, organ, and wurlitzer. Special guests include legendary harmonica player Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Guy Clark), pianist Reese Wynans (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy), and rising Americana singer-songwriter Lera Lynn on harmony vocals.
There's a concordance of topography and emotion at work in the new record that comes out of Ernie’s life as a traveling musician and an intuitive record maker—Midwestern openness meets Nashville experience, you could say. Like the great American singers and songwriters who have inspired him—performers such as Neil Young, Jerry Garcia and Willie Nelson—Ernie seeks the light amidst the ever-present perils of darkness.

$10.00 - $12.00

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Chicago Farmer with Ernie Hendrickson

Friday, October 18 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Castle Theatre