Country Night in Berwyn with Kent Rose and Pete Smith
KENT ROSE: Rose’s musical odyssey has twisted and turned through the folk era, Chicago’s late ‘60s/early ‘70s rock scene, a short stint in teenaged country star Tanya Tucker’s road band, a spot playing saxophone in a vintage soul combo, and a lengthy tenure crooning pop standards with a society orchestra. But he’s best suited for where he’s at right now: singing his own wonderfully crafted material as only he can, usually in a solo setting. “All of a sudden, it seemed to me that I had real-life experiences that were universal, and that other people had gone through as well,” he says. “And that maybe I could write a song that would connect with somebody that I didn’t know. So I just kept at it.”
A native of suburban Glencoe, Illinois, Kent was exposed to all sorts of sounds as a lad. “My parents liked folk music a lot, so there was a lot of Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Mahalia Jackson, Paul Robeson, all that kind of stuff around the house,” he says. “We sang on family trips, and I just decided that I loved it. So when I was about 11 years old, I got a banjo-ukulele and started playing it. Not a great instrument, but it got me started. Then I got a guitar.” Younger folkies such as the Kingston Trio and the Brothers Four caught his ear, as did Josh White, Bob Gibson, Joe & Eddie, and the Highwaymen. But his musical diet wasn’t limited strictly to folk.
A throwback to an earlier time who nonetheless remains contemporary, Rose is a true man of the people. “There’s nothing wrong with working a regular job and playing music and thinking it’s okay,” he says. “That’s what people did for all those years. When you think about all the musicians who used to be around, they played music in the evenings. It wasn’t about being a star or anything like that. There were no stars. It was something that they shared with other people.”
PETE SMITH: Revived in 2016, Grass Co. Revival is an exciting new group comprised of members that perform in other well-known acts like Jim Peterik & Storm Chaser, The Leadfoot Band, Growler and DOG 1, Grass Co. Revival reflects on years of training in a multitude of genres and projects a new sound that is all there own. From Bluegrass and Blues to Honkytonk, Southern Rock, Jazz and much more, Grass Co. Revival has certainly carved out a feel to their music that captivates audiences and keeps them coming back for more every time. With groove-oriented renditions of songs you know and love, Grass Co. Revival has brought an unprecedented degree of precision to Americana Roots music and radiates other genres that leave you guessing where the band will go next. Grass Co. Revival is providing the Chicago music scene with a welcomed blend of acoustic grooves with the electrifying energy of a rock concert.