32rd Annual American Music Festival

Click here for this year's fest!




Starting in 1981, FitzGerald's American Music Festival has grown from a three-band barbeque night to one of the most critically acclaimed summer festivals in the Midwest.  The festival's main focus is roots/Americana music -- everything from straight-ahead rock to soul, rockabilly, country, blues, jazz and bluegrass.  We welcome bands from all over the country and right here at home.

Unlike many of the popular music festivals in the city, the American Music Festival is held on the grounds of the club, with two of the three stages in our club and SideBar and one outdoor stage on tented parking lot.  This setup makes for a more intimate, comfortable experience, with access to a full bar, air conditioning and real bathrooms!  Our festival tents offer seating and waitress service, and the FitzGerald family is always on hand to help with any special needs which might arise.




Here is a day-by-day schedule of the festival, with a grid below.

Printable Schedule (pdf)

WEDNESDAY, JULY 3 (Doors at 4:30):

IN THE CLUB: Miles Nielsen & the Rusted Hearts (midnight), Mudd Morganfield Blues Band (10:30 pm), Ian McLagan with Jon Notarthomas (9 pm), The Westies (7:30 pm), Luke Winslow-King (6 pm), The Salty Dogs (5 pm)

IN THE TENT — Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones (10:30 pm), The Paladins Reunion (8:30 pm), Sleepy LaBeef with Chris Neville (6:45 pm), Joe Hall & the Louisiana Cane Cutters (5 pm)

IN THE SIDEBAR — Sanctified Grumblers (9:45 pm), Stormy Weather (8 pm)

THURSDAY, JULY 4 (Doors at 1 pm):

IN THE CLUB: Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones (10:30 pm), The Fleshtones (8:45 pm), Pat McLaughlin (6:56 pm), The Blisters (5:10 pm), Luella & the Sun (3:30 pm), Howlin' Brothers (2 pm)

IN THE TENT: Brave Combo (10:15 pm), Sonny Landreth (8 pm), Kevin Gordon Band (6:15 pm), Michelle Malone (4:30 pm), Lost and Nameless Orchestra (1:45 and 3 pm)

IN THE SIDEBAR: Weepin' Willows (10 pm), Champlin Menard Band (8 pm), Sarah Potenza (6 pm), The What (4 pm)

FRIDAY, JULY 5 (Doors at 4:30):

IN THE CLUB: Jon Dee Graham (midnight), Melissa Ferrick and Band (10:30 pm), John Fullbright (8:45 pm), Cathy Richardson Band (7 pm), Sarah & the Tall Boys (5:30 pm)

IN THE TENT: James McMurtry (10:30 pm), Bottle Rockets (8:30 pm), St. Paul & the Broken Bones (6:45 pm), Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience (5 pm)

IN THE SIDEBAR: Doop (10:15 pm), Loves It (8:15 pm), Hope Rose (6:30 pm)

SATURDAY, JULY 6 (Doors at 1 pm):

IN THE CLUB: Jimmy LaFave (11 pm), NRBQ (9 pm), Dolly Varden (7:30 pm), Warren Hood Band (5:45 pm), The Shams Band (4:15 pm), Expo '76 (2:30 pm)

IN THE TENT: Tributosaurus becomes Tom Petty (10:15 pm), Marcia Ball Band (8:15 pm), Max Baca & Los Texmaniacs (6:30 pm), Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet (4:45 pm), Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys (3 pm), Girl Group Chicago (1:30 pm)

IN THE SIDEBAR: Cannonball (9:30 pm), Naomi Ashley (8 pm), Roxy (6 pm)







Here are some short bios for this year's festival bands. For more complete info, click on the band's Internet link at the end of the text.



MILES NIELSEN & THE RUSTED HEARTS (midnight): Milwaukee-based MILES NIELSEN is a new FitzGerald's favorite. He's the son of Cheap Trick front man Rick Nielsen, but you won't hear "Dream Police" or "Surrender" from Nielsen and his band the Rusted Hearts. Instead, the young singer-songwriter has forged his own brand of pop-rock infused with sunny melodies tucked between a lonesome country folk steel guitar, crashing drums and bouncing bass lines. He's co-owner of FUSE, a Rockford recording studio, and also a member of another young Wisconsin band — Corey Chisel & the Wandering Sons. So whether performing, writing or recording with other artists, Nielsen is carrying that rock 'n' roll torch into the future. http://milesnielsen.com/

MUDD MORGANFIELD BLUES BAND (10:30 pm): The oldest son of blues legend Muddy Waters and his all-star band — Rick Kreher (former Muddy Waters guitarist), Barrelhouse Chuck (legendary Chicago blues pianist), Harmonica Hinds (harmonica great), E.G. McDaniel (bass legend, son of bluesman Floyd McDaniel), Steve Bass (drummer with bluesman Eddie Clearwater).  http://mudmorganfieldsite.com/

IAN McLAGAN with JON NOTARTHOMAS (9 pm): Performing as a duo with John Notarthomas. Ian McLagan is a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool rock’n’roller. In fact, his smiling visage — he was, after all, a member of the Small Faces and the Faces — would serve as an ideal illustration in the proverbial Dictionary of What Is Truly Cool. He has also etched his distinctive musical talents onto the playlist of rock’n’roll history co-writing such Faces hits as Cindy Incidentally, You're So Rude and Three Button Hand Me Down. His Wurlitzer electric piano is heard on everything from Stay With Me by the Faces to the smash hit Miss You by The Rolling Stones, and Mac's trademark Hammond B-3 organ is featured on the Small Faces classic Itchycoo Park and Rod Stewart's Maggie May and You Wear It Well. http://www.ianmclagan.com/

THE WESTIES (7:30 pm): Last December Michael McDermott and Heather Horton got together with a few friends in Nashville to record a bunch of songs. Songs about love, betrayal, murder, hope and redemption. The session started off casually. As the songs and the sound began to unwind an album was realized. Lex Price produced and engineered. The Westies were born a few months later when a band was put together to play the songs live. The album will be released in the fall of 2013. The reference point for the band’s name is not cute little white puppies; it’s the ruthless gang of Irish American punks that ruled and terrorized Hell’s Kitchen in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. www.westiesmusic.com

LUKE WINSLOW-KING (6 pm): is a guitarist, singer, composer, and lyricist known for his slide guitar work, and interest in pre-war blues and traditional jazz. Now on Chicago's Bloodshot label, Winslow-King’s work consists of an eclectic mix, taking in delta-folk music, classical composition, ragtime, and rock and roll; juxtaposing original songs with those from a bygone era. He offers an original sound that is both rustic and elegant and delivers energetic and dynamic performances.  After his FitzGerald's debut a few months ago, we jumped at the chance to have him at this year's festival.  http://lukewinslowking.net/

THE SALTY DOGS (5 pm): The roots of the Salty Dogs dig deep to the early jazz musicians of the 1920s — Hoagy Carmichael, King Oliver, The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Biederbecke, Hitch's Happy Harmonists, and Louis Armstrong. They all recorded in Richmond, Indiana and many of their sidemen settled in the Chicago area. In the 1950s and 1960s, many of these players were still active and performed side-by-side with members of the Salty Dogs. The list includes some of the greatest names in jazz history: Georg Brunis, Lil Armstrong, Quinn Wilson, Darnell Howard, George Lewis, Lou Black, Jim Lannigan, "Little Brother" Montgomery, "Banjo" Ikey Robinson, Franz Jackson and a host of others who shared their music, knowledge and notes with the Salty Dogs. The Dogs roots also go deep at FitzGerald's back to the days when it was known as the Hunt Club. Check out the photos from 1954 on the wall to the left of the stage.   http://saltydogsjazzband.com/


DAVE ALVIN & THE GUILTY ONES (10:30 pm): It wouldn't be a proper festival without Dave Alvin. The Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and self-described "barroom guitarist," is widely considered to be one of the pivotal founders of the current Americana music scene. A fourth generation Californian, Dave Alvin grew up in Downey, California as the local landscape quickly evolved from orange groves and dairy farms to tract homes and freeways. Since forming the highly influential roots rock/R+B band The Blasters, with his brother Phil in 1979, and throughout his long and critically acclaimed solo career, Dave Alvin has mixed his varied musical and literary influences into his own unique, updated version of traditional American music. Combining elements of blues, folk, R+B, rockabilly, Bakersfield country and garage rock and roll with lyrical inspiration from local writers and poets like Raymond Chandler, Gerald Locklin and Charles Bukowski, Alvin says that his songs are "just like California. A big, messy melting pot."  http://www.davealvin.net/home.html

THE PALADINS Reunion (8:30 pm): It all started more than 17 years ago back in San Diego, California when the Paladins were still in high school. They were already combining country, early rock & roll with blues and jazz, creating their own unique sound. Since then, the Paladins have released four full-length albums, a number of singles and consistently performed and toured worldwide upwards of 200 shows per year, many years driving up to 75,000 miles in their trusty old Dodge van (their current Dodge has over 360,000 miles on the clock!). The Paladins have traveled well over a million miles and now they have finally released the long-awaited live album, appropriately titled Million Mile Club (4AD). 

The Paladins-Dave Gonzalez on guitar & vocals, Thomas Yearsley on upright bass, and drummer Jeff Donavan (whose other numerous credits include Dwight Yoakam, John Fogerty, and Social Distortion) have developed a strong national and international following. They have performed and toured with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Los Lobos, X, The Blasters and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. In fact, it was Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds who took the Paladins into the studio in Austin, Texas and produced and recorded their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in '87.   http://www.rockabilly.net/paladins/index.shtml

SLEEPY LaBEEF (6:45 pm): For half a century, Sleepy LaBeef has lived his life on stages, in honky-tonks, and on the road. He has released records in six different decades and has had chart success as far back as the sixties and as recently as the year 2000. Sleepy LaBeef has shared bills with practically every great in music history: Elvis Presley, George Jones, Roy Orbison, Wanda Jackson, Carl Perkins, has numbered in his band over five hundred people (including the likes of Doug Kershaw, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, D.J. Fontana, and Grady Martin), and has been an admitted influence to such a variety of people as Brian Setzer, Bruce Springsteen, and the Beatles.  http://www.sleepylabeef.com/index.htm

JOE HALL & THE LOUISIANA CANE CUTTERS (5 pm): Born and raised in Eunice, Louisiana, Joe Hall learned from the late Bois Sec Ardoin and has been influenced by other Creole musicians, including Nolton Semien, whom he met when Nolton was playing in 2005 at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette. Joe Hall and the Louisiana Cane Cutters released their CD "Good Times, Good Music" May 5, 2007, at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. Their latest album, 2009's "Live at Nunu's", was a show of brute force as the band raged through an amped-up set of Creole-Cajun chestnuts. Hall is a powerful singer and accordionist, and even though the 11 cuts hail from two different studios and three tracks captured live, he makes it feel like a single session. Joe Hall and the Louisiana Cane Cutters are a traditional zydeco, Cajun, and Creole style band with a hard driving rhythm section, known for all genres of Louisiana style music.


SANCTIFIED GRUMBLERS (9:45 pm): Chicago’s Sanctified Grumblers formed in the Spring of 2009 when Rick Sherry (Devil in a Woodpile) and Eric Noden started writing songs together. Their music succeeds in the challenge of combining the sounds of roots music’s pre-electric past with the narration of modern universal themes; tales of love, communication break-downs, and good time grooves. Between Noden and Sherry, Sanctified Grumblers’ sound is formed from a mesh of finger picking resonator guitar, washboard, harmonica, 6-string banjo, and clarinet. The trio’s third musical leg is alternated between the dog-house bass of Texas ex-patriot Beau Sample and the sousaphone of Mike Hogg.  http://www.sanctifiedgrumblers.com/

STORMY WEATHER (8 pm): Stormy Weather, a Damon Runyon-esque quintet of Hoosiers from the steel mill area of Gary/Hammond, Indiana is the chief proponent of the nation’s revitalized a cappella doo-wop sound. Growing up, they all idolized local residents, the Spaniels of “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight” fame. Steeped in the rock and roll roots, the group sings everything from Hank Ballard to Stevie Ray Vaughan, from the Drifters to Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker, as well as their own compositions. Stormy Weather follows the premise that the voice is the most expressive instrument there is. Accordingly, they keep the a cappella sounds of the street corner alive, well, and kickin’.  http://www.stormy-weather.com/




DAVE ALVIN & THE GUILTY ONES (10:30 pm): It wouldn't be a proper festival without Dave Alvin. The Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and self-described "barroom guitarist," is widely considered to be one of the pivotal founders of the current Americana music scene. A fourth generation Californian, Dave Alvin grew up in Downey, California as the local landscape quickly evolved from orange groves and dairy farms to tract homes and freeways. Since forming the highly influential roots rock/R+B band The Blasters, with his brother Phil in 1979, and throughout his long and critically acclaimed solo career, Dave Alvin has mixed his varied musical and literary influences into his own unique, updated version of traditional American music. Combining elements of blues, folk, R+B, rockabilly, Bakersfield country and garage rock and roll with lyrical inspiration from local writers and poets like Raymond Chandler, Gerald Locklin and Charles Bukowski, Alvin says that his songs are "just like California. A big, messy melting pot."  http://www.davealvin.net/home.html

THE FLESHTONES (8:45 pm): Since 1976, The Fleshtones have been blending R&R and R&B, serving it across the globe with smiles, attitude, and sweat, & calling it SUPER ROCK! The Fleshtones are Peter Zaremba (vocals, harmonica, & organ), Keith Streng (guitar & vocals), Bill Milhizer (drums & vocals), and Ken Fox (bass & vocals). Based in Brooklyn, New York, the quartet's origins lie just a few miles north in Queens, where in 1975 Streng and original bass player Marek Pakulski rented "The House," as it was infamously known, and found instruments down in the basement. To quote Keith: "How and why The Fleshtones started was that there was a place to do it!" Countless "Blue Whale Bashes," Lower East Side sightings, and an endless string of gigs and records later, The Fleshtones continue to record and perform with a wit, passion, and energy that few bands can top.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fleshtones-Official/177240861436

PAT McLAUGHLIN (6:45 pm): Pat McLaughlin is a maverick. The revered, if a bit enigmatic, singer, songwriter and guitarist has spent years honing his layered style. Dedicated only to the pursuit of a new groove or an old feeling, his songs rehash the sights and sounds of a reformed nomad with roots in Iowa, footprints in San Francisco, New Orleans and Chicago, and a home in Nashville. An in-demand studio musician, Pat's guitar "chunking" makes him a standout in a town full of stars -- engineer David Ferguson called on Pat to play acoustic guitar for the final Johnny Cash recording sessions, and he is also a frequent collaborator with John Prine, . "No one since Dan Penn has better mixed '60s soul idioms with country music sentiment," proclaimed the Chicago Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra. "Pat McLaughlin is an American treasure."  We have him at FitzGerald's as often as we can lure him away from home and he is one of our very favorite live performers.  http://www.patmclaughlin.com/

THE BLISTERS (5:10 pm): Formed in 2002, The Blisters have spent more than a decade together—from age seven to seventeen—playing shows across their hometown of Chicago. Rambunctious yet restrained, singing through a just-missed-the-90s air, they recently released their debut album "Finally Bored." The Blisters are Hayden Holbert, Henry Mosher, Tory Postilion-Lopez and Spencer Tweedy. http://theblisters.com/

LUELLA & THE SUN (3:30 pm): Word around Nashville has Luella and the Sun labeled as one of the best new bands in town. Band members — Melissa Mathes (vocals), Joe McMahan (guitar), Adam Bednarik (bass), Jon Radford (drums) — have been playing separately around Nashville for some time but this combination offers a refreshing take on a classic rootsy sound. Mathes' jazz-inflected vocals, backed by McMahan's blues guitar and a groove-based rhythm section, close out this big evening of music. http://www.luellaandthesun.com/

THE HOWLIN' BROTHERS (2 pm): The  Howlin’ Brothers are a three-piece string band that brings heart and passion into every performance. Their upbeat shows are heavy with original and traditional music, featuring the sounds of slide banjo, harmonica and old-time fiddle. The Howlin’ Brothers are bringing their show all across America in 2013. Their latest album “HOWL” produced by Brendan Benson.   http://thehowlinbrothers.com/


BRAVE COMBO (10:15 pm): Trying to describe Brave Combo’s music requires a pretty extensive vocabulary – at least when it comes to musical styles.  For the past three decades the Denton, Texas based quintet has perfected a world music mix that includes salsa, meringue, rock, cumbia, conjunto, polka, zydeco, classical, cha cha, the blues and more.  They are America’s Premier Dance band and a rollicking, rocking, rhythmic global journey — offering what one critic recently wrote, “Even if you come for the party, you'll leave with something of a musical education.”  Brave Combo's Christmas dance party is always one of the highlights of our holiday season, and their festival appearances are just as fun! http://www.brave.com

SONNY LANDRETH (8 pm): If you’ve never seen Sonny Landreth’s hands glide over the fret of his slide guitar, you should. It’s like watching someone touch the finest of silk. If you’ve never heard Sonny Landreth play the blues, or classical music or flat out rock ‘n roll, you should. His sound is extraordinary. Landreth’s fans include John Hiatt, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Winter, Peter Frampton, and B.B. King — all with whom he’s toured recently.  Eric Clapton calls Sonny "The most underrated musician on the planet."  Not bad for a self-described “stepson” of Louisiana, born in Mississippi and raised on big helpings of Cajun and Zydeco music.  http://sonnylandreth.com/

KEVIN GORDON BAND (6:15 pm): Kevin Gordon’s voice is made from dust and red clay. And the songs on the Louisiana-born performer’s sweeping new album Gloryland are chiseled from the bedrock of life — the honest facts of rambling, needing, loving, soul-searching and experience. “I like the unfinished ending — the story that just continues when the song’s over,” says Gordon. “Life never sums itself up in three-and-a-half minutes, and a good song doesn’t need to do that either. But it should tell a story.”  We try never to miss a chance to book this great artist.   http://kg.kevingordon.net/

MICHELE MALONE (4:30 pm): Equal parts badass guitar slinger and sweet songstress, Michelle Malone artfully balances her penchant for ripping it through the roof with masterful lyrical introspection and vocals that range from sublime to raucous. Malone has been called “among the flashiest, most impressive slide guitar soloists working in contemporary blues, often fortifying her vocals with slashing lines, inventive twists and surprising backing.” (Nashville City Paper) 

LOST AND NAMELESS ORCHESTRA (1:45 and 3 pm): “Foot stomping, heart racing, exciting music...” As this fan attests, there’s something about dueling fiddles, vigorous guitar playing, and an air-tight rhythm section that compels your body to move. Tastefully pairing a wide dynamic range and an intimate connection with the listeners, the Austin-based fiddle-driven folk rock quartet Lost and Nameless Orchestra gets you out of your chair and onto the dance floor. http://www.lostandnameless.com/fr_home.cfm


WEEPIN' WILLOWS (10 pm): The Weepin' Willows are Chicago's very own Patsy Cline cover band. Led by singer Natalie Jose, the band formed in late 2009 and has been entertaining audiences with Patsy's extensive and varied songbook ever since. 

With instrumentation featuring lead guitar, pedal steel, piano, drums, and upright bass, the Weepin' Willows perform it all — from familiar ballads such as "Crazy" and "She's Got You" to the upbeat honky tonk and rockabilly stomps of "Seven Lonely Days" and "Stupid Cupid."

CHAMPLIN MENARD BAND (8 pm): Champlin Menard is a folk/roots/Americana band based in Chicago. Band members include Craig Champlin (vocals, guitar), Louise Champlin (vocals), Tim Menard (vocals, guitar) and Cathie Van Wert Menard (fiddle).  https://www.facebook.com/ChamplinMenard

SARAH POTENZA (6 pm): Sarah, of Sarah and the Tall Boys, leaves the guys behind for this duo gig with husband Ian Crossman. She returns for a full band show at 5:30 pm July 5.

THE WHAT? (4 pm): The What? consists of three singer songwriters, Mark Bishop, Rob Kurtz, Jim Eichorst, who first played together 16 years ago at FitzGerald's open mic and have been together ever since. Driven along by the rhythm section of Derik Inksetter on drums and Gary Cleland on stand up bass, The What plays a mix of original material from ballads to rock 'n' roll, with a lot of harmonies.




JOHN DEE GRAHAM (midnight): Jon Dee Graham has always had a special place in our hearts and we in his—his annual “Run For The Roses” tour grew around his yearly appearance at the American Music Festival. We’re not the only ones who recognize Jon Dee’s amazing talents as a songwriter and showman; Graham was named the Austin Musician of the Year during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference in 2006. He also was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame three times: as a solo artist in 2000, again in 2008 as a member of The Skunks, and again in 2009 as a member of the True Believers. http://www.jondeegraham.com/

MELISSA FERRICK AND BAND (10:30 pm): Melissa Ferrick is back - with her first self-produced album since 2004, the truth is (out June 4 on MPress Records). An evolution in the sound she has developed over the course of her expansive career and catalog, the record is also a creative departure in its collaborative approach to the recording process for the multi-instrumentalist. The result is a raw, rootsy record set to a sweeping Americana/alt-country soundtrack that layers pedal steel guitars and background harmonies into some of the lushest, brightest songs of her 20-year career.  http://www.melissaferrick.com/

JOHN FULLBRIGHT (8:45 pm): Grammy nominee John Fullbright burst upon the Southwest music scene in 2009 with a stellar live album recorded at the Blue Door, the legendary venue in Oklahoma City. From his home in Okemah, Oklahoma—also the hometown of Woody Guthrie—Fullbright had already honed his songwriting and playing skills to a degree that he was a favorite at festival campgrounds before he was even out of high school. Quickly produced as a “calling card” for the 2009 Folk Alliance Conference, Live at the Blue Door went on to set sales records at WoodyFest, the annual folk festival honoring Woody Guthrie. With the 2012 release of From The Ground Up, Fullbright, still in his early twenties, has joined the conversation about the best new artists in music today. Firmly rooted in a variety of musical styles, he draws on what has come before, but without imitation. www.johnfullbrightmusic.com

CATHY RICHARDSON BAND (7 pm): Cathy Richardson is a Grammy nominated and 4 time DIY Award winning singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actress and designer from Chicago. Besides independently releasing seven albums of original material, Ms. Richardson is the lead singer of the Macrodots and the legendary Jefferson Starship. She starred as Janis Joplin in the Off Broadway show "Love, Janis." She has toured the US singing with Janis Joplin's original band members Big Brother and the Holding Co. and occasionally sits in when schedule allows. Ms. Richardson can been seen on the rockin' music education show for kids, "Jack's Big Music Show" on the Noggin Network. Her voice has been heard on dozens of national tv and radio advertising campaigns, and movie soundtracks like HBO's the "Vagina Monologues" and "Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby." http://www.crband.com/

SARAH & THE TALL BOYS (5:30 pm): Specializing in original country/soul, Sarah Potenza & The Tall Boys is a Nashville-based Americana band. In 2008, the released it’s debut album, "Shiny & New," a powerful collection of original songs that drew attention from venues and festival producers nationwide. Within that year, the band was performing at festivals and sharing bills with acts like Joss Stone, Bonnie Raitt and the legendary Stevie Wonder. In 2010, the group released its second full-length album, "A Lifetime Worth of Sin." A collection of Americana music, derived from blues, bluegrass, and alternative-country, all songs were written and produced by Sarah and the band, with the exception of one cover of Lucinda Williams. This CD features a talented list of notable guest musicians from such groups as The Hen House Prowlers, The Hoyle Brothers, and The Congregation.  http://sarahandthetallboys.com/


JAMES McMURTRY (10:30 pm): The son of acclaimed author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment), James grew up on a steady diet of Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff records. His first album,Too Long in the Wasteland (released in 1989), was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill. The poignant lyrics of his immense catalog still ring true today. In 2011, "We Can't Make It Here" was cited among 'The Nation's' "Best Protest Songs Ever." Never one to rest on his laurels, James McMurtry continues to tour constantly, and consistently puts on a "must-see" powerhouse performance. 'The Washington Post' noted McMurtry's live prowess: "Much attention is paid to James McMurtry's lyrics, and rightfully so: He creates a novel's worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he's an accomplished rock guitar player. At a sold-out Birchmere, the Austin-based artist was joined by drummer Daren Hess and bassist Ronnie Johnson in a set that demonstrated the raw power of wince-inducing imagery propelled by electric guitar. It was serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band."  http://www.jamesmcmurtry.com/

THE BOTTLE ROCKETS (8:30 pm): In a country where interstates don’t take you to new places, but to the same places, where everywhere you go you’ve already been or you’ve just left, The Bottle Rocketsnew album absolutely nails a sound and a vibe with a palpable sense of place. Lean Forward continues the Rockets’ creative resurgence ignited by 2006’s Zoysia. Reunited with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (who ran the knobs on the Bottle Rockets’ seminal albums The Brooklyn Side and 24 Hours A Day), the Bottle Rockets do what no other band does better — look into the hearts and minds and faces of the dying small towns in America and crafts populist anthems with the sympathetic eye of Woody Guthrie and sonic stomp of Crazy Horse. They are songs that demand the windows be rolled down and the volume turned up. And with the hooks, you’ll wonder how they make such problems sound so good. http://www.bottlerocketsmusic.com/

ST. PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES (6:45 pm): Paul is a young man who began wailing straight out of the womb, and most folks would agree that he hasn’t stopped since. “Oh what a set of lungs that child has,” they’d say, “he must be destined for something special.” Not wishing to disappoint, and being a good young southern boy, Paul began singing in church, stretching those vocal cords with an eye toward becoming a man of the cloth. As it turns out, however, the cloth didn’t appreciate young Paul’s affinity for dirty jokes, Prince, and Tom Waits, and he was inclined to search elsewhere for co-conspirators. He began plying his trade with whomever would have him, and happily, folks were mostly impressed by his efforts. With a wholly re-imagined take on the sounds he’d grown up singing and seeking, Paul recruited a rag-tag band of loveable weirdoes, visionaries, and hacks to help him harness the power he now knew he possessed. Under the nom du guerre St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the motley crew roams the countryside looking to get cabooses shakin’, faces meltin’, and brothers and sisters everywhere testifyin’.  https://www.facebook.com/St.PaulandTheBrokenBones

TERRANCE SIMIEN & THE ZYDECO EXPERIENCE (5 pm): Simien and his band won the Grammy Award for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album for 2007. He is an eighth generation Creole from one of the earliest Creole families to settle the Mallet area of St. Landry Parish. Simien and his band have toured internationally, presenting thousands of live performances in more than 40 countries, and released dozens of solo recordings and collaborations. He has shared studio and stage with the likes of Paul Simon, Dr. John, Marcia Ball, Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, Robert Palmer and the roots rockers Los Lobos. He appears on the soundtrack of the Disney film, "The Princess and the Frog" set in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Simien and his wife Cynthia created the "Creole for Kidz" program which provides educational performances of Creole music and history. The Simiens also created an outreach and mentoring program for up-and-coming musicians called MusicMatters. He is considered to be one of the most gifted vocalists, engaging performers and innovative recording artists in American roots music. http://www.terrancesimien.com/


DOOP (10:15 pm): The deep working class roots of singer/songwriter Don “Doop” Duprie echo throughout his music. Front man for the Detroit area alt-country/roots rock band Doop and the Inside Outlaws, Doop is a laid off firefighter born and raised in industrial River Rouge, Michigan. He teamed up with legendary Detroit producer Jim Diamond (White Stripes) to record his albums “Blood River,” “Everett Belcher” and now “What am I supposed to do?” Doop’s songwriting has received national attention, having been hailed “hands down the best songwriter we (Detroit) now have to offer the American World” by Don Zelaznv (AmericanRoots.com). http://www.doopandtheinsideoutlaws.com

LOVES IT (8:15 pm): “Loves It!, now based in Austin, TX,  formed when two best friends, Vaughn Walters and Jenny Parrott, dreamed of traveling the world together singing songs! Both accomplished solo writers, they were surprised and excited to see their collaborative works sparkle! Besides inventive songwriting that travels between folk, country, indie pop and swing, each is a multi-instrumentalist and the live show features claw hammer banjo, guitars, mandolin, fiddle, and heart felt inspired singing.  http://www.lovesitmusic.net/tour.html

HOPE ROSE (6:30 pm): Hope Rose is a local country singer/musician/songwriter. She grew up listening to Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire and it just stuck, and this year at the age of 14 Hope came out for our Tuesday open mic night and quickly captured the rapt attention of everyone in the room. We think this young lady is going places and are pleased to welcome her to our festival.   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hope-Rose/201274890025189




JIMMY LaFAVE (11 pm): Austin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jimmy LaFave brings a passionate rock & roll energy to his original folk songs. LaFave grew up in Wills Point, east of Dallas, but at 17, his family moved to Stillwater, OK. When he was in his teens, his mother purchased his first guitar for him with green stamps. While Stillwater was not exactly bustling with musical activity, it wasn't a ghost town either, and it was close enough to Tulsa that LaFave found all the opportunities he was seeking as a young singer/songwriter. The musical heritage of the area certainly was rich enough: folksinger Woody Guthrie, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, and jazz fiddler Claude "Fiddler" Williams, plus songwriter J.J. Cale and Leon Russell's Shelter Studios. But to find a wider audience and, more importantly, a record deal, LaFave thought it would be worthwhile to move to Austin. He found both after moving to Austin in 1985, and he's been based there ever since.  http://www.jimmylafave.com/

NRBQ (9 pm): Often called "the world's greatest bar band," NRBQ is that rare group that's eclectic, stylistically innovative, and creatively ambitious while also sounding thoroughly unpretentious and accessible. At its best, NRBQ's music casually mixes up barrelhouse R&B, British Invasion pop, fourth-gear rockabilly, exploratory free jazz, and dozens of other flavors while giving it all a stomp-down rhythm that makes fans want to dance and expressing a sense of joy and easy good humor that comes straight from the heart. The latest NRBQ lineup features Terry Adams (keyboards), Scott Ligon (guitar), Conrad Choucroun (drums) and newest member Casey McDonough (bass).  http://www.nrbq.com/

DOLLY VARDEN (7:30 pm): Dolly Varden's new album. For a While, is getting rave reviews and we're thrilled to welcome them back to FitzGerald's. The Chicago-based band has been making an irresistible blend of harmony and hook filled music, with a seductive country tinge, for almost two decades. It's the passage of time which is celebrated on the band's new release, "For A While." The quintet is built around the heartfelt singing and songwriting of husband and wife Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, with Mark Balletto on guitar, Matt Thobe on drums and Mike Bradburn on bass. Remarkably the line up has stayed the same through 18-years, six critically-acclaimed albums and many US and European tours. From the 1995 debut, Mouthful of Lies, through The Dumbest Magnets (2000) and The Panic Bell (2007), Dolly Varden has been wowing and charming audiences with the warm, sublime interplay of Steve and Diane's voices on hooky, seductive pop-flavored tunes with a generous dash of country flavor.  http://www.dollyvarden.com/

WARREN HOOD BAND (5:45 pm): Warren Hood began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. He attended Berklee School of Music where he was awarded the school's top honor - The String Achievement Award. He has since gone on to win numerous awards for string virtuosity and has been recognized three times as String Player of the Year in the Austin Chronicle Music Poll. The son of Austin, TX music legend, Champ Hood (Uncle Walt's Band, Toni Price), Warren has become an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer. He has toured extensively as a member of acclaimed Bay Area band The Waybacks who accompanied former Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir and as violinist for world-renowned recording artists, The BoDeans. He has also performed and/or recorded with such noteworthy artists as Lyle Lovett, Joan Osborne, Emmylou Harris, Ben Kweller, Little Feat, Elvis Costello, Susan Tedeschi, Gillian Welch, and Alejandro Escovedo.  http://www.warrenhood.com/index.htm

THE SHAMS BAND (4:15 pm): Music is supposed to be fun, exciting, thought provoking and daring. On every live performance, The Shams Band makes sure that their audience leaves each concert with a personal feeling of satisfaction. Drawing heavily from their Kinks, Rolling Stones, and Wilco influences, singer/songwriters Biggins/Gulyas create distinct, personal songs. Once completed with unique four-part harmonies, the songs come to life, tell stories, and send audiences singing all the way home. The Shams Band features music trapezing the line between blues, country, and pop music. They have opened for national acts Drive-By Truckers, Dawes, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. The Shams Band is the epitome of a "do-it-yourself" group. They get every audience excited and dancing from their catchy hooks and rock 'n roll atmosphere. It's whiskey-driven. It's a party. It's rock 'n roll with a banjo.   http://www.theshamsband.com/

EXPO '76 (2:30 pm): The band rocks out once again with their stunning list of hits and obscure cover tunes! Expo ‘76 is made up of five Chicago musicians, led by Dag Juhlin and backed by a fantastic horn section. The set is ever-growing and adventurous! Expo‘76 is made up of four lifers -- Dag Juhlin, Kenn Goodman, John Carpender and Ralph Baumel (Poi Dog/Phantom Helmsmen/Andre Williams) -- who don’t need to be in another band, but still can’t quite help themselves. Their weakness is your gain, and on any given night you’ll hear them gleefully careening from ‘70s AM radio ear candy into walloping road house beer guzzling dance tunes; they’ll chime their way through a New Wave nugget with the same exuberance that they slap around a swinging, jazzy blues number or a folk revival sing-along. Irrepressible, unstoppable, 100% unironic, and actually quite unbelievable at times, Expo‘76 won’t take your requests, because they’re already playing them. But you can still shout them out.  http://expo76.com


TRIBUTOSAURUS becomes TOM PETTY (10:15 pm): Tributosaurus' goal is to exactly re-create the sounds of the original recordings as closely as possible, whatever that may entail. Consequently, the core members of the group have become incredibly adept at designing sounds, transcribing performances, recognizing and creating widely varied arrangements -- managing to do this with a completely new catalog of material every show. They feature a wide array of guests, including horn sections, string sections, ethnic instruments and ensembles, multiple guitarists and keyboardists, and many singers both lead and supporting. This has put them in the unique position of having a direct line to the largest network of top-flight players in Chicago, all of whom know them and work well with them. The Tributosaurus core has become the ultimate musical chameleon, able to jump from style to style, from ensemble to ensemble easily. They know and listen to each other attentively, which makes each perfomance sound like a BAND, as opposed to a group of random assembled players. For TOM PETTY expect "American Girl," "The Waiting," "Refugee," "You Don't Know How It Feels," "Free Fallin'," and much more. http://www.tributosaurus.com/home.cfm

MARCIA BALL BAND (8:15 pm): Marcia Ball was FitzGerald's first national touring act back in 1981 - Bill FitzGerald saw her on his first trip to New Orleans' Jazz Fest and set his sights on having her at the club. Since then, the piano great has come back year after year, bringing her brand of rollicking NOLA R&B, soulful ballads and Texas stomp. She has been nominated for several Grammys and has garnered scores of other awards during her career. If you don't believe us, read all about it at http://www.rosebudus.com/ball/ !  A Marcia Ball show is always one of the highlights of our musical year--don't miss it!

MAX BACA & LOS TEXMANIACS (6:30 pm) Combine a hefty helping of Tex Mex conjunto, simmer with several parts Texas rock, add a daring dash of well-cured blues, and R&B riffs, and you've cooked up the tasty TexManiacs groove. Not to say that this group's sound is for musical gourmets only… it is,  "hip music everyone can relate to." Los Texmaniacs — feed the masses, with only the best in musical fare. Founded by Max Baca (bajo sexto, vocals), the TexManiacs are a product of his wide-ranging experience touring and recording with everyone from his father's family conjunto, Flaco Jimenenz, the original Texas Tornados, Los Super Seven and even the Rolling Stones. http://www.texmaniacs.com/index2.html

BEAUSOLEIL AVEC MICHAEL DOUCET (4:45 pm): For the past 37 years, Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet has been making some of the most potent and popular Cajun music on the planet. Born out of the rich Acadian ancestry of its members, and created and driven by bandleader Michael Doucet’s spellbinding fiddle playing and soulful vocals, BeauSoleil is notorious for bringing even the most staid audience to its feet. Beausoleil’s distinctive sound derives from the distilled spirits of New Orleans jazz, blues rock, folk, swamp pop, Zydeco, country and bluegrass, captivating listeners from the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, to Carnegie Hall, then all the way across the pond to the Meltdown Festival in England.  http://www.rosebudus.com/beausoleil/

JEFFREY BROUSSARD AND THE CREOLE COWBOYS (3 pm): Jeffery Broussard was a leading member in Zydeco Force, an influential band at the forefront of the nouveau zydeco movement. His accordion and vocals defined this new style of Creole music, incorporating the soulful sounds of R&B into contemporary zydeco music and dance. The son of esteemed accordionist Delton Broussard, young Jeffery began his musical journey on the drums in his father’s legendary band, the Lawtell Playboys, who were themselves innovators, adding some R&B and a funkiness to this traditional roots music. During this time, Jeffery was exposed to some of the great Creole fiddle players, including the king of the zydeco fiddle, Calvin Carrière. He has retained those precious melodies and songs he heard at home, at social gatherings and on the bandstand. And with the creation of the Creole Cowboys, and as one of Louisiana’s newest Creole fiddle players, he captures the essence of this rich musical heritage.  http://www.jefferybroussard.com/index.htm

GIRL GROUP CHICAGO (1:30 pm): Lights are low and ghostly piano keys ring out into the crowd; in the dark, a spotlight falls on an ensemble of twenty women. Girl Group Chicago magically recreates the aesthetic of the 1960’s with their charming harmonies and custom-made, A-lined, mod-cloth dresses. From riot grrrl lovers to girl group record collectors, to members of a punk rock marching band, to a doom metal bassist, these talented ladies have come together from an array of musical backgrounds to form the first all-female orchestra of their magnitude. Girl Group Chicago has been a buzz around the streets since their feature in “Gossip Wolf” last April in the Chicago Reader. Unified by their love for 60’s melodramatic music and a passion for fashion, these girls are set to electrify the stage in 2013.  https://www.facebook.com/girlgroupchicago


CANNONBALL (9:30 pm): Cannonball is a group of musicians based in Chicago who connect with the same rock sensibilities and merriment to create an explosive sound rooted in the American folk tradition of blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll and all their offspring — hillbilly, rock-a-billy, folk rock, psychedelic, punk. They play a mixture of original songs and interpretations of personal favorites that veer from swinging rock ‘n’ roll to swaying country blues with detours down musical guitar exchanges between the dual lead guitarists that ride on a freight train rhythm bed. The lineup: Paul Bivans: drums, vocals; Andon Davis: guitar, vocals; Tom Kneesel: pedal steel, guitar, vocals; Mike Krayniak: bass, vocals; and Terry White: guitar, harmonica, vocals.

NAOMI ASHLEY (8 pm): With her gorgeous cream-and-Kahlua voice, Chicago’s Naomi Ashley is a dazzling performer who brings her songs to startling, vibrant life. When she's singing, she disappears into the song. Her pitch-perfect voice has the ability to convey pitch perfect emotional life. The music she makes is intimate, plainspoken and gorgeously sung — drawing on the American folk, blues and country traditions — which surge with all the contradictory impulses of real, imperfect life.  http://www.naomiashley.com/index.html

ROXY (6 pm): Roxy is a female, a cappella quartet dedicated to performing and preserving the barbershop style of music which originated in the U.S. in the early 1900s.  Members of Sweet Adelines International (the women’s barbershop organization), the 4-year-old quartet hails from Joliet, IL.  ROXY is comprised of hairdresser, Cindy Ahlgrim, on tenor; high school Algebra teacher, Darcy Newell, on lead; pre-school director, Tori Hicks, on baritone; and retired high school English teacher, Lynn Vaughn, on bass.  This quartet has been competing at the international level for two years having scored as high as 11th in the world! http://www.roxysingers.weebly.com











We do not sell single-day advance tickets for the festival.  Each day you pay at the door. 

Admission is $30, with a $5 discount if you arrive during the first hour we are open.  Example:  Doors open at 1 - you arrive at 1:30, admission is $25; you arrive after 2pm, admission is $30.  Admission for kids 12 and under is just $5 each all day (no discount), and they are welcomed until 10pm.

We do offer 4-day passes for $100.  They are available ONLINE ONLY, at Ticketweb. (The deadline for purchase of passes is Tuesday, July 2 at 5pm)

A four-day pass may be used by anyone you like, but is good for only one admission per day.  The days are marked on the pass and will be punched when you arrive -- already-punched passes will not be honored (to combat the old hand-the-pass-over-the-fence trick), so if you have a pass and you're going to leave and come back, be sure to ask the doorman for a wristband. 



The final menu isn't set yet, but those familiar with Tom "Festival" Cimms' past offerings consider his food one of the week's highlights.  Tom is an old friend and former restauranteur who makes his New Orleans specialties exclusively for our festival.   Below are the major items on this year's menu --

Andouille Sausage Po Boy * Cochon de Lait (roast pork) * Crawfish Monica * Gumbo and Jambalaya * BBQ Shrimp and Shrimp Creole * Bratwurst * Chicken Breast Sandwich * Plus Sides and Vegetarian Options



Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our festival.  You are also welcome to call us Tue - Fri after 12 noon at (708) 788-2118.

    You can park anywhere on Roosevelt Rd. or the side streets; no meters or permit restrictions. You may also park in the lot at St. Mary of Celle School, 14th and Wesley (2 blocks south and 2 blocks west of the club).  Make sure NOT to park in business parking lots or the mini-mall to our west.  PLEASE NOTE:  THIS YEAR THERE IS NO PARKING IN THE BANK OF AMERICA PARKING LOT.  Those are for their customers only and you will be towed.
    Our good friend Tom "Festival" Cimms will be cooking up a great Cajun/American BBQ which includes menu items as simple as pulled pork sandwiches and those with a New Orleans flair, e.g. jambalaya and gumbo, plus vegetarian options. (see the "Festival Food Menu" tab above for the specific menu).   PLEASE NOTE:  DURING THE FESTIVAL NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINKS WILL BE ALLOWED.
    Our festival tents provide seating, but it is first-come-first-served, so get here early! We do not allow customers to bring in their own seating.
    No,  your best bet is to come early and stake your claim.
    Children are welcomed (under 12 $5) and may stay until 10pm.
    CertainlY -- when you pay at the door you will be given a wristband -- just show it to the doorman as you come back in.
    Bottled beers run from $3.50-$6 -- draft pints $5-$7; standard liquors $5; premium liquors $5-$10 -- wines from $5-$8/glass.
    Not at all. Our atmosphere is casual and comfortable, with music fans from 21 to not telling.  With our festival tents to protect you from the weather, you can leave the sunblock and ponchos at home!