2018's 37th Annual American Music Festival
"FitzGerald's annual four-day celebration of American roots music is an ideal way to spend a 4th of July weekend. -- Greg Kot, Tribune
…a mainstay of Chicago summers and one of the most generous musical feasts of the year. -- Mark Guarino, Sun-Times
Every year FitzGerald’s puts on one of the finest festivals of American roots music in the country. -- popmatters.com
One of the truly great Chicago musical celebrations…. -- Jim DeRogatis/WBEZ
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, with a special place in our hearts for New Orleans and Texas.
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.
MANY THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS - MILLER LITE AND 93XRT!
HERE IS A LIST OF 2018 BANDS (exact times coming soon):
The 2018 lineup features:
Friday, June 29: James McMurtry, Eric Lindell, The Band of Heathens, Bob Schneider, Alice Drinks the Kool Aid, Sam Lewis, Marcella & Her Lovers, Brian Johannesen, The Salty Dogs, Curtis McMurtry, Brett Newski, Jenny Bienemann & Friends, Bitters
Saturday, June 30:Joe Ely Band, Kelly Willis, The Ike Reilly Assassination, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Flirting with Time: A Tribute to Tom Petty, Jon Dee Graham, Ruby Boots, Vanessa Davis, Kevin Gordon Band, Devil in a Woodpile, Katy Guillen & the Girls, Wild Skies, Northsiders Barbershop Quartet, JP Cyr & the Midnight Men
Sunday, July 1: Marcia Ball Band, C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Banditos, John Moreland, Geno Delafose, Archie Bell, Miles Nielsen & the Rusted Hearts, Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles, Expo ’76, Zephaniah Ohora, Josefina, Al Scorch, The Belvederes, Kevin A. Prchal, Ron Lazzeretti, Cannonball, Bunkertown, The Menards
Tuesday, July 3: Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets, Blackfoot Gypsies, Robbie Fulks with Linda Gail Lewis and Redd Volkaert, Nikki Hill, Tributosaurus becomes The Band, Charlie Parr, Luke Winslow King, Jaime Wyatt, Dave Herrero, Fox Crossing Stringband, Dowd/Drew, The Heavy Sounds, The Sunshine Boys
We are selling advance tickets for each day of the festival.
Advance tickets, $40 (June 29-30), $50 (July 1 & 3), go on sale May 4 at 11 a.m. and are available at TicketWeb.com and in person at FitzGerald’s. A 4-day pass, $140, is available at TicketWeb only (4-day passes can be picked up at will call during fest). Children 12 and under are welcome with parents until 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; no children’s tickets will be sold in advance. Each day of fest, $10 discount the first hour we are open.
The TicketWeb link is http://www.ticketweb.com/venue/fitzgerald-s-berwyn-il/32814?pl=
PLEASE NOTE THAT ADVANCE TICKETS CAN ONLY BE USED FOR DAY AS PURCHASED AND ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.
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.
JAMES McMURTRY: 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. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for his Longform Music Video of Where'd You Hide The Body. 1997's “It Had To Happen” received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album. 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. Bob Lefsetz writes, “‘We Can't Make It Here' has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth." http://www.jamesmcmurtry.com
ERIC LINDELL: Eric Lindell came to national prominence after relocating to New Orleans in 1999. His recording career began in 1996 as a local/regional New Orleans-based artist. He was picked up by Alligator Records in 2006 and recorded three albums for the label and has since issued several CDs on smaller indie labels. Lindell's musical style borrows from 1970s blues-rock, soul and R&B. Lindell's music has been described by USA Today as “pumping soul into funk, blues and roots-rock.” The Chicago Sun-Times called Lindell “a tremendous raw talent…with a fully realized musical vision.” The Los Angeles Daily News stated “Lindell serves up bluesy blue-eyed soul smothered with a big heap of New Orleans funk... The shuffling interplay of electric guitars, percolating organ and Creole horns never fails to make you feel like dancing all the way down Canal Street.” https://www.ericlindell.com
THE BAND OF HEATHENS: “Duende,” the title of The Band of Heathens’ fifth studio album (and eighth overall), marks their tenth anniversary as a group, and it certainly applies to its overall theme about the collective search for connection and communion in a technology-fueled world increasingly splintered, distracted and lonely. As band co-founder Ed Jurdi, who first learned of the term, explains, “It’s the essence of the artist,” or as partner Gordy Quist says, “It’s a word we don’t have an equivalent for in English, Artistically, that’s where we tried to set the bar, to do what this band does best.” https://www.bandofheathens.com
BOB SCHNEIDER: In retrospect, it appears inevitable that Bob Schneider would become an artist. He was born in Michigan and raised in Germany, where his father pursued a career as a professional opera singer. As a boy, Schneider studied piano and guitar, often performing at family parties and backing his father on drums at nightclubs throughout his youth in Germany and Texas. He went on to study art - his other primary passion and avocation - at the University of Texas El Paso, before moving to Austin and establishing himself as a musician. He performs relentlessly, creates new music compulsively, writes poetry, and regularly shows his visual art in galleries around Austin. With his recent album Blood and Bones, Schneider further cements his reputation as one of the most versatile, inventive, and engaging songwriters working today. http://www.bobschneider.com/home
ALICE DRINKS THE KOOL AID: Alice Drinks The Kool Aid is a Blues Based Chicago Indie Rock band founded in a Park Ridge basement in 2014 as a creative outlet for three life long musician friends. The drummer Jim Widlowski is a top session player in the city who has anchored many of the Broadway productions that have come to the city in the past 20 years. The bassist Alan Berliant is a peerless performer who makes his living as a composer of commercial music of all styles. Tony Magee, the founder of Lagunitas Brewing Company manages the guitar and vocal responsibilities. The band’s original material is written and arranged by all three members in congress and draw from the deepest free Jazz and the most fundamental Rock and Blues. http://www.alicedrinksthekoolaid.com
SAM LEWIS: While it bears the sonic landmarks of roots music’s most fertile ground, the songwriting of Sam Lewis is born of a landscape that can only be felt, not seen. His music is native to the infinite expanse that is exposed when human attention is full, and focused inward – harvested solely by the nuanced rhythm of love. Sam’s songs are rooted in the energy that defines this harmonious frontier, the space that unifies the human experience in each of us. It’s the anchored spirit in this incubated territory of soul for which Sam Lewis works to celebrate and elevate with the tones of rock & roll, rhythm & blues and a country-folk muse. http://samlewistunes.com
MARCELLA AND HER LOVERS: Born into one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish in culturally rich Louisiana, with a dad (Terence Simien) who is an accomplished two time GRAMMY award winning artist, Marcella Simien grew up inspired by of some of the most influential artists in music. Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, Marcella grew up onstage with her father. She has been lauded by Boo Mitchell as “one of the most soulful artist I've heard since the glory days of Memphis soul music. Her sound and stage presence is a constant reminder that soul music is still alive and well.”
BRIAN JOHANNESEN: Brian Johannesen makes music perfect for the open road. Maybe that’s because he’s traveled it so much. From Iowa City by way of Nashville by way of Iowa City by way of Chicago, Johannesen takes inspiration from the people and places he’s encountered along his journey. The result is gritty, hopeful Americana that swings and stammers and celebrates. Johannesen’s latest release Northern Town explores his favorite subjects—whiskey, women and wanderlust—over a rich foundation provided by a talented band of veteran Iowa musicians.
CHICAGO SALTY DOGS: Listen to the Salty Dogs Jazz Band. Their music turns a concert into a party. Audiences around the world applaud when they hear these echoes from the past. Be a part of history in the making as the Salty Dogs carry the torch lit by the flame from the original pioneers of American traditional jazz.
CURTIS McMURTRY : Curtis McMurtry writes about villains that think they're victims. Influenced by Fiona Apple, Billy Strayhorn and Leonard Cohen, Curtis' music combines piercing lyrics with lush chords and unusual arrangements. His first solo album Respectable Enemy was released in August 2014, and drew comparisons to Calexico and John Fullbright. His sophomore album The Hornet's Nest is was released in February 2017, and continues to garner critical acclaim. Curtis was born and raised in Austin, Texas and grew up listening to local musicians Warren Hood, Ephraim Owens, Seela, and his father, James McMurtry. Curtis studied music composition and ethnomusicology in college, primarily writing contemporary chamber music for banjo and strings. After graduation, Curtis moved to Nashville to sharpen his songwriting by co-writing with elder statesmen including Fred Koller and Guy Clark. He has since moved back to Austin where he performs as a quartet with cellist Diana Burgess (of Mother Falcon), upright bassist Taylor Turner (of Magia Negra) and trumpeter Nathan Calzada. http://www.curtismcmurtrymusic.com
BRETT NEWSKI: Living on four continents in five years, Brett Newski has existed on the fringe of society and avoided the “American Dream” at all costs. His story is no fairy tale. He didn’t get signed to a big label early in his career. He was not endorsed by cool guitar companies or big-time management. At age 25, he took matters into his own hands by quitting all of his part-time jobs and becoming a full-time nomad, posting up in the nooks and crannies of earth and sub-letting rooms in Vietnam, South Africa, Germany and Wisconsin to write songs and recharge between tours. Newski’s sophomore LP “Land, Air, Sea, Garage” was recorded at a surf camp in the Sri Lankan jungle, and at home in Wisconsin. The album is about diving into the world with no safety net and landing on your feet. It’s a smart indie rock n’ roll record with tongue-in-cheek moments that show parallels to Jonathan Richman, Mountain Goats, early Weezer, Frank Turner, & Elliot Smith. https://brettnewski.com
JENNY BIENEMANN & FRIENDS: Jenny Bienemann is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist based in Chicago. Her music has been described as falling “somewhere between winking innocence and worldly detachment,” garnering comparisons to Suzanne Vega, Ricki Lee Jones, and Michael Hedges. Her recent album, “Every Soul Grows to the Light,” marked her return to her first love, finger style guitar, with 12 brand new songs that include meditations on love, loss, and things that didn’t go as planned. Songs include “You Are Where I’m From,” “Out on a Limb,” and “Quicksand.”
BITTERS: Bitters is a power quintet of music improvisation and live music mixology, Featuring Chris Neville on keys and vocals, BJ Edwards on bass and vocals, Jason L. Edwards on percussion and vocals, John Fournier on saxophone, and Loren Middleton "Lojazz" on guitar and vocals. This group is a culmination of varied and extensive music backgrounds, playing both the local Chicago scene and performing with worldwide artist like Lionel Richie, Trombone Shorty, Terrance Simien and The Isley Brothers.
JOE ELY BAND: “Panhandle Rambler” is Joe Ely back home, returned to the always dusty, perpetually windy, generally arid, frequently smoldering, and seemingly barren landscape around Lubbock where he grew up and first began playing music. A place that has hosted generations of dry land farmers and wildcatters. It’s where Joe found his calling as a writer and performer. First located that unmistakable voice. Learned to carry himself upright and open, to move with determination. In the rock’n’roll era, the vast spaces of west Texas have been filled with great music. Joe Ely stands in a tradition born out on these gritty plains. It includes Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker, Guy Clark, Delbert McClinton, Don Walser, Terry Allen, Lloyd Maines, his daughter Natalie Maines, and Joe’s enduring musical partners, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.
KELLY WILLIS: Kelly Willis is Back Being Blue, to take a color-coded cue from the title of her seventh album. It’s a shade she wears well, though long-patient fans might just say: You had us at back. They’ll take a new Willis record in whatever hue it comes, now that it’s been 11 years since her last solo release, 2007’s Translated from Love. The Austin-based singer/songwriter has hardly been MIA in the intervening years, having recorded and toured as part of a duo with Bruce Robison. But she’s setting the duet aside for do-it-alone mode, at least as far as the spotlight is concerned. (Robison hovers just outside it this time, as producer.). Hers is a solo voice again, but it’s not necessarily sotto voce: This is an album of songs about lonesomeness that also happens to be a crackling good time.
MICHELE MALONE: Compared to most musical artists in the Americana genre, Michelle Malone seems like a pair of distressed blue jeans amidst a sea of pantsuits. Unlike the surplus of self-professed rootsy rebels, one listen to this woman from Georgia and you know you’re hearing the real thing. A singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer whose music is informed by blues, roadhouse rock & roll and Georgia soul, Michelle Malone's performances can go from contemplative coffeehouse quiet to rowdy and "Deluxe reverb on 10" at the turn of a dime. Her passionate, uncompromising style has won her loyal following worldwide. She's a wild-haired Rock Goddess, political singer/songwriter, passionate raw performer with early roots in the church choir – no single characterization tells the whole story. Over the course of Malone’s career, she’s performed with artists from Gregg Allman to Ellen DeGeneres, John Mayer to the Atlanta Symphony, Indigo Girls to Shawn Mullins, released more than a dozen records and went indie when it still took guts. 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.
SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS: North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing, her voice strong and uneasy, country classic but with contemporary, earthy tension. You can hear in her voice what’s she’s seen; world weary, lessons learned—or not—but always defiant. She means what she says. Writing with a blunt urgency—so refreshing these days it's almost startling—Sarah's lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean, and above all, uncompromising. Sly turns of phrase so spot on they feel as old and true as a hymn. Anger that's as confrontational as it is concise. Humor that's as wry and resigned as a park bench prophet.
FLIRTING WITH TIME: A TRIBUTE TO TOM PETTY: Ryan Joseph Anderson (guitar, vocals), Dan Ingenthron (keys, vocals), Brian Morrissey (guitar, vocals), Mike Holtz (drums), Jeremy Kay (bass) plus special guests Donnie Biggins, Scott Tipping and more TBA!
JON DEE GRAHAM: Jon Dee Graham is a guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. A former member of the True Believers with Alejandro Escovedo, Graham is the only musician ever to be inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame three times. Jon Dee Graham is most well known for his solo work, including the critically acclaimed records "Escape from Monster Island", "Hooray For The Moon", and "Full.” He is also well known for his tenure in The Skunks, Austin's very first punk band, and roots-rock pioneers The True Believers with Alejandro Escovedo. Jon Dee has also played guitar with acts such as John Doe (X, The Knitters), Exene Cervenka (X), Michelle Shocked, Alejandro Escovedo, Kelly Willis, and The Gourds and has had his songs covered by many artists, including Patty Smyth, Patty Griffin and James McMurtry. http://www.jondeegraham.com
RUBY BOOTS: At 14 years old, Ruby Boots – real name Bex Chilcott – left a conflicted home in Perth, Western Australia to do grueling work on pearling boats and she hasn’t stopped migrating since. Her nomadic streak has taken her around the world and eventually to Nashville, TN. Don’t Talk About It charts this drifter’s odyssey, tattered passport in hand. Behind her commanding and versatile voice, sharp guitar playing and adept songwriting, Ruby Boots confidently maneuvers past the whirlwinds life has tossed on her occasionally lost highway. It’s an album of hope, breakthrough, and handling the unknown challenges around the next bend. http://www.rubybootsmusic.com
VANESSA DAVIS: High-energy vocalist Vanessa Davis has been a Chicago favorite since 1978, which is when the aspiring singer joined forces with a group formerly known as The Blues Twisters. After establishing themselves on the local circuit, they formed their own Spectra label in 1981 to release a sultry version of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "One Kiss." By the time they cut "Fast Forward," their 1984 debut album, the band was moving away from swinging jump-blues to concentrate on originals. Their 1990 release, "One Heart," is even more of a departure, Davis singing movingly of her own life, with rock-oriented support from her veteran band. allmusic.com
KEVIN GORDON BAND: American Songwriter notes of Kevin Gordon’s album, “Long Gone Time”: "These songs unhurriedly saunter by, taking their time to unfold with storylines woven into the music like a tapestry. They are the audio equivalent of a Terrence Malick movie, luxuriating in vivid details and subtle, vibrant imagery. With ‘Long Gone Time Gordon’ has created tender and meticulous sonic films for the mind, miles away from commercial considerations, yet creating art that lasts lifetimes." Gordon’s voice is made from dust and red clay. His songs 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.” There is a depth and personality that brings Gordon’s songs of the South into sharp focus, even if their essential questions about the mysteries of faith, truth and humanity hang in the air as he moves on to the next tale. Kevin’s new album comes out in late July. http://kg.kevingordon.net
DEVIL IN A WOODPILE: Devil in a Woodpile, they play blues. They also play country. Ragtime. Hot Jazz. Hillbilly. It's all the same to them. It's all taken from the same deep, muddy well called American Music that existed long before wise guy marketing goons and interweb algorithms decided to categorize and sub-categorize the whole mess. https://www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/devil-woodpile
KATY GUILLEN & THE GIRLS: With each release, Katy Guillen & the Girls take new strides toward enhancing and expanding their creative process. In five years as a national touring act, the trio has shaped a musical identity rooted in the blues, taking cues from the timeless guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix to the visionary songwriting of Patty Griffin and the indie rock revivalist sound of Heartless Bastards. http://kgandthegirls.com
WILD SKIES: While Wild Skies has carved out their own, unique sound at the intersection of folk, rock & Americana, the band members have come from all different musical backgrounds, each of them bringing a different perspective to the collaboration. That diversity, at its core, is what helped Wild Skies forge their own path and distinctive sound. The Chicago based foursome came together through a series of Craigslist ads posted by Ohio transplant and singer/songwriter Aaron Lechlak while searching for band members to help with studio work in early 2014. Teaming up with opera trained singer Kristine Sorum-Williams, jazz bassist Tommy Good, and folk drummer Andy Kearns, what began as a solo project evolved into a three-part harmonic melting pot of folk-rock. http://wildskiesmusic.com/hom
NORTHSIDERS BARBERSHOP QUARTET: The finest barbershop quartet in the City of Chicago! Singing old-time barbershop standards as well as doo-wop and contemporary faves with a bit of humor. https://www.facebook.com/northsidersquartet/
JP CYR & THE MIDNIGHTMEN: JP Cyr and the Midnightmen are a 4 piece band blending honky tonk, rockabilly, outlaw country & Western swing into their own brand of Midwestern honky tonk music for all your dancin', rockin' and swingin' needs! https://www.facebook.com/jpcyrandthemidnightmen/
MARCIA BALL BAND: With her new album, “Shine Bright,” Marcia Ball set out to, in her words, "Make the best Marcia Ball record I could make." In doing so, she has put together the most musically substantial, hopeful and uplifting set of songs of her five-decade career. Produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and recorded in Texas and Louisiana, “Shine Bright” contains twelve songs (including nine originals), ranging from the title track's rousing appeal for public and private acts of courage to the upbeat call to action of "Pots And Pans," a song inspired by renowned Texas political writer and humorist Molly Ivins. From the humorous advice of "Life Of The Party" to the poignantly optimistic "World Full Of Love," the intensity of Ball's conviction never wavers while, simultaneously, the fun never stops. “Shine Bright” is exactly the album Ball set out to make. "It is a ridiculously hopeful, cheerful record," she says, in light of some of the album's more serious subject matter. The secret, according to Ball "is to set the political songs to a good dance beat." https://www.alligator.com/artists/Marcia-Ball/
C.J. CHENIER & THE RED HOT LOUISIANA BAND: C.J. Chenier, a Creole born and raised in an indigenous American culture with its distinct language, cuisine and music, delivers a soulful vocal and accordion! Chenier, a GRAMMY® nominated world renowned musician and recording artist, has performed alongside many internationally recognized artists including his GRAMMY® awarded father, Clifton Chenier “The King of Zydeco”, Paul Simon, Joe Sample and Ray Parker, Jr., The Gin Blossoms, and John Mayall. He has appeared on the Jon Stewart Show, CNN and was featured on VH1 and Entertainment Weekly.
BANDITOS: With the rugged power of a flashy Super Chief locomotive, the Banditos’ self-titled debut album bodaciously appropriates elements of ‘60s blues-fused acid rock, ZZ Top’s jangly boogie, garage punk scuzz a la Burger Records, the Drive-By Truckers’ yawp, the populist choogle of CCR, Slim Harpo’s hip shake baby groove, the ebullient folk of electric Dylan, gut bucket Fat Possum hill country mojo and the Georgia Satellites. From backwoods bluegrass, to slinky nods to Muscle Shoals soul and unexpected bits of doo-wop sweetness, the Banditos recall many, but sound like no one but themselves
JOHN MORELAND: John Moreland sings in one of those accents from flyover country that's impossible to locate and implausible to mimic. (Texas, by way of Northern Kentucky, but mostly Tulsa, as it happens.) He sings directly from his heart, with none of the restraint and filters and caution the rest of us would apply for public protection. He sings with resolute courage. He sings. And writes. Writes with simple eloquence about love and faithand isolation; the human condition; what every song and poem and novel is about, at the core: Life.
GENO DELAFOSE & FRENCH ROCKIN’ BOOGIE: Geno Delafose is a zydeco accordionist and singer. He is one of the younger generations of the genre who has created the sound known as the nouveau zydeco. His sound is deeply rooted in traditional Creole music with strong influences from Cajun music and also country and western. His father is the famous zydeco accordion player John Delafose.
ARCHIE BELL: With his upbeat persona and trademark groove, “Mr. Tighten Up” himself, Archie Bell, released “There’s Gonna Be A Showdown Again” in 2016. The CD is a compilation of remakes from his 50 years in the spotlight. Archie Bell and The Drells had their first hit when Bell was just 24 years old in 1968 with “Tighten Up” and he never looked back. https://www.facebook.com/ArchieBellTheDrells/
MILES NIELSEN & THE RUSTED HEARTS: Rockford-based Miles Nielsen has spent nearly a decade enthralling audiences with music that draws force from the prime years of Western-influenced rock music and classic ‘60s soul. Claiming influences as diverse as Otis Redding’s classic soul and Jellyfish’s cult power pop recordings. http://www.milesnielsen.com
SARAH BORGESS & THE BROKEN SINGLES: Sarah Borges has spent the last decade touring, learning and transforming from Americana chanteuse to American music journeywoman. Her sound remains as eclectic as ever, representing what Borges likes to call “the sum total sound of my record collection”: a little bit twangy, some kind of cowpunk and a whole lot of hearfelt rock and roll. http://www.sarahborges.com/index/
EXPO ’76 & THE TOTAL PRO HORNS: Expo ‘76 & the Total Pro Horns 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
ZEPHANIAH OHORA: Zephaniah OHora is a New York City-based Singer-songwriter and a pillar of the burgeoning NYC Country-Western music community. On the heels of his independently released and critically acclaimed debut “This Highway” (released in June), he has already turned heads at his recent Americana Fest performance in Nashville. Saving Country Music calls “This Highway” “classic country mastery” and recently wrote “Zephaniah OHora live is everything you want him to be like with his record: it’s a completely indefinable, indescribable something-ness that all those old greats had.”
JOSEFINA: Josefina is a singer-songwriter based in Chicago care of Buenos Aires. Her simple, airy vocal stylings pair with alt-country production chock full of piano, B-Bender, Pedal Steel, and 12-string that would have found an easy home on Asylum Records in the 1970s. But this isn’t a throwback to Joni or Emmylou. This is a modern girl making music with a scant twang and an infectious lightness of being. https://www.josefinamusic.com
AL SCORCH: Balanced on wedges of punk, old-time string band, American and European folk, and soulful balladry, Al Scorch is an entertainer, road warrior, storyteller, and one helluva musician. His second album and Bloodshot debut “Circle Round the Signs” is built on a sonic framework sharing an intersection with the Bad Livers’ lawless next-gen take on traditional country & bluegrass, and Black Flag’s burn-it-all-down revolt and breakneck tempos. From the train-hopping tale of “Pennsylvania Turnpike” – updating steel rails to concrete ribbons – to the shout-along, late-night lament of “Insomnia” (“I toss and I turn in my bed every night/ I’m sober but my mind’s as high as a kite”), the aural dexterity is thrilling. http://www.alscorch.com
THE BELVEDERES: Raised on a healthy diet of garage rock, power-pop, roots, red-hot rockabilly, honky-tonk and soul – John Michael Ford (lead vocals, guitar), Joe Alonzo (drums, vocals) and Tyler Kock (bass guitar, vocals) came together during the early months of 2011 and presented a simple, clear-cut mission statement: Make people feel good. And when presented with such a task, we believe there's nothing quite like Rock & Roll music. We also firmly believe that if you're gonna do this work, you’d better do it right and give the audience MORE than what they paid for. Spring of 2015 saw the addition of Joe Nocchi on guitar, whose song-savvy sensibilities have proven invaluable to the group. https://thebelvederes.com
KEVIN ANDREW PRCHAL: At first blush, Love & Summer, the third full-length album from Chicago-based singer/songwriter, Kevin Andrew Prchal, is a rollicking celebration of its two titular themes. Radiating romance and whimsy, the album revels in the never-ending present of love; its songs ecstatic and tender, playful and impassioned. Early on, Love & Summer stakes out its territory—a green and blossoming world that Prchal explores with breathless wonder and delight. Musically and lyrically, its mood is pastoral: fiddles and pedal steel mingle with the recurring voices of cicadas, and Prchal draws on a register of natural images to populate its landscape. Yet even while Love & Summerpresents an homage to this idealized world, the album is also—perhaps more so—a paean to an evanescent present, where, as Prchal sings, “time will fade like sugar on your tongue.” In this sense, the insistent optimism of Love & Summer is motivated less by the dizzy raptures of love than by a hard-won awareness of the fleetingness of things and a determination to remain focused on the here-and-now of real human connection. https://www.kevinandrewprchal.com/home/
RON LAZZERETTI: Ron Lazzeretti sings simple songs about love and redemption-- alternately dark, funny and buoyant. A local poster boy for late bloomers everywhere, Lazzeretti released his first record, Battle Of The Planets” after years of writing and playing in venues all around Chicagoland. http://ronlazzerettimusic.com
CANNONBALL: 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.
BUNKERTOWN: Bunkertown has been a part of the Chicago music scene for over a decade and is currently working on another album. The music is a mutt of folk, rock, blues and ragtime country and inspirations may include Hammond or the restaurant eaten at last week.
THE MENARDS: An evening of country » blues » folk rock music, with Tim Menard's smoky tenor backed by Michael Krayniak on bass, Gabriel Stutz on pedal steel and Cathie Van Wert Menard on fiddle. Tim Menard is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been entertaining audiences throughout America for over four decades. His musical proficiency, introspective songs, smoky tenor voice and variety of bands make him a musician to be reckoned with. http://timmenard.com/index.html
NICK LOWE with LOS STRAITJACKETS: On June 15, Yep Roc Records will release Nick Lowe’s ‘Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside’ EP, the “elegant and nearly devastating” (New York Times) songwriter’s first new music in five years, and first non-holiday recordings in some seven years. The four-song EP features the two new Lowe originals of its title, plus covers of songs popularized by Dionne Warwick (“Heartbreaker”) and Cliff Richard (“Travellin’ Light”). Lowe is backed by his Yep Roc label mates and frequent touring partners Los Straitjackets on all four songs, which were recorded at the Diamond Mine in Queens, NY in late 2017 (Lowe’s first New York sessions in decades). http://www.yeproc.com/new-nick-lowe-los-straitjackets-release-june/
BLACKFOOT GYPSIES (11:15 pm): The Blackfoot Gypsies have unleashed a set of original roadhouse rockin' tunes with To the Top, on Plowboy Records. The Nashville, Tennessee based powerhouse quartet demonstrate raucous energy and soul on this collection delivering their take on white-knuckled rock'n'roll. Across the 15 tracks of To the Top, the Blackfoot Gypsies fuse their influences -- swamp blues cool, downhome hillbilly funk and homegrown punk panache -- into a lean, mean machine invoking such classic musical malcontents as the Rolling Stones, the Faces and Mott the Hoople, while sparking and spitting 21st-century fire. It's the type of record that could only come from a band that learned to rock the old-fashioned way -- one sweaty, full-throttle live performance at a time. http://www.blackfootgypsies.com/bio/
ROBBIE FULKS with LINDA GAIL LEWIS and REDD VOLKAERT: Robbie Fulks plays by nobody's rules — except the ones he hears in his head. He is prodigiously talented, with the soul of a country singer and the mind of a vaudevillian. Besides, his scorn for the music industry makes ours look positively prosaic. But don't let that make you lose sight of THE SONGS. Widely regarded by those who monitor such things as one of the most gifted songwriters to ever ply the trade, he can sing the kids ditty "Eggs" and Haggard's "Sing a Sad Song" back to back and mean 'em both. While it is true he started off a honky tonk smartass, it quickly became evident that Robbie was a monster talent and some of his early Bloodshot albums have been rightly elevated to the status of "classic" and serve as their own Greatest Hits collections. Seriously. http://www.robbiefulks.com
Linda Gail Lewis is born on the 18th of July 1947 in Ferriday, Louisiana. She is an American singer and pianist. Sister of Jerry Lee Lewis, she plays piano and has recorded with Stephen Ackles, Van Morrison, and with her brother (between others). She has started a solo career in the late eighties recorded several solo albums and is permanently on tour performing all over Europe and USA. https://www.facebook.com/pg/lglmusic/about/?ref=page_internal
After years of developing a cult reputation among guitarists, Redd Volkaert got the call to become lead guitarist for one of his heroes, Merle Haggard, in 1997 and recorded and toured non-stop with the legendary musician. As a youngster in Vancouver, British Columbia, Volkaert learned to play guitar from his dad. By the time he was 16 he was playing in local bars and clubs in Vancouver. After an 8-year stint in Alberta he left the great north woods for Los Angeles, playing clubs, teaching guitar, and working on demo sessions. Moving to Nashville in 1990, he began doing studio session work and road dates with artists like Ray Price, Lacy J. Dalton, Clinton Gregory, and Dale Watson, eventually winding up in Haggard's band, The Strangers. Since Redd moved to Austin, Texas, he has become a major participant in its thriving live-music scene. http://www.reddvolkaert.com
NIKKI HILL: Those who have seen Carolina girl Nikki Hill sing her ass off agree—this isn’t just another newcomer on the scene; this is a ‘whiplash’ moment. Where did this fireball come from? Why haven’t I heard of her before? Hill and her band have been touring extensively following the independent 2015 release ‘Heavy Hearts Hard Fists" and debut album ‘Here’s Nikki Hill’, released in 2013. With a no-filter energy, and explosive live show, they deliver a sound that will make you believe in rock ‘n’ roll again! Nikki’s unique voice—with raw rock and soul dynamics mixed with the strength, passion, and honesty of blues shouters of the past—steers the driving guitar and a tight rhythm section to create a breath of fresh air with their fast forward approach to American roots music. http://nikkihillmusic.com
TRIBUTOSAURUS becomes THE BAND: 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. The Tributosaurus ensemble of players 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 performance sound like a BAND, as opposed to a group of random assembled players.
CHARLIE PARR: An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: 13 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights. Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth Minnesota. https://www.charlieparr.com
LUKE WINSLOW KING: Luke Winslow-King’s latest album is an example of craftsmanship at the highest level, radiating a warmth and timeless elegance. Adept at mixing country, blues, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and folk influences intuitively and masterfully, Luke shapes a mood from many sources and shepherds it to a unifying place of acceptance and hope. Blue Mesa is both stately and approachable, manifestly proficient but deeply personal. What sets this album above the singer and guitarist’s previous work is how he’s absorbed the offerings of a life in music. Born and raised in the Northern Michigan town of Cadillac, he moved to New Orleans at 19 and spent the next 15 years fully immersing himself in the musical waters that flow through there. Now that he’s moved on, it is the larger world, and the people and places in it, that enthralls him. From these travels and friendships comes a deeper and richer perspective on the American musical traditions he fell in love with at an early age. http://www.lukewinslowking.com
JAIME WYATT: Jaime Wyatt’s newest release “Felony Blues,” whose title is a nod to records like David Allan Coe’s “Penitentiary Blues,” is largely an autobiographical collection of convict love stories, prison songs and honky-tonk laments. Wyatt is a striking figure with an old soul and a voice like a force of nature. Regardless of genre, the Los Angeles-based Wyatt is a dynamic performer, who sails naturally between vintage ‘60s and ‘70s country/rock ‘n’ soul anthems and heartfelt counry ballads of love and corruption. https://www.jaimewyatt.com
DAVE HERRERO: Dave Herrero got his start as a professional touring musician in 1996 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, then moved to Austin, TX and joined Archie Bell and the Drells (of "Tighten Up" fame). In Austin, he quickly immersed himself into the Austin music community, playing with the likes of Gary Clark Jr, Charlie Sexton, Lazy Lester, Matt Powell, Seth Walker all the while starting the Blues Society of Austin with friends, Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, Nancy Coplin and Nicole Shiro. It was in Austin that Dave honed in on his guitar playing, singing and songwriting skills that he then took with him to Chicago. He recorded his latest release, “Corazon” (2013) which seamlessly blends psychedelia, blues, rock n' roll, and singer songwriter music. Most recently, Dave was honored and humbled when asked to play on Playing for Changes’s tribute to 50 years of the Grateful Dead, “Ripple Effect.” http://www.daveherrero.com
FOX CROSSING STRINGBAND: Have you been missing that truly high lonesome sound? The ladies of Fox Crossing Stringband bring high harmonies plus driving rhythm of dobro, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass. Six instruments across four vocalists will leave you chasing these foxes for their new bluegrass sound. Since forming in November of 2016, this all-female bluegrass group from Chicago has been winning hearts with their beautiful harmonies, entertaining stage presence, and original songwriting. Fox Crossing Stringband has made their debut at numerous festivals in 2017 including Winter Roots, Frankfort Bluegrass Festival, Summer Stomp, Shoe Fest, East Troy Bluegrass Festival & CU Folk Festival this fall. http://foxcrossingstringband.com
DOWD/DREW: Gerald Dowd has been described as “the hardest working drummer in Chicago” (Richard Milne, WXRT), playing on over 70 albums, and averaging 150 live dates a year around the world. In recent years, he's been releasing solo albums of original material, starting with his 2012 release, Kingsize EP. In 2014, he was the recipient of an IAP arts grant from Chicago's Dept. Of Cultural Affairs/Special Events (DCASE), which led to his first full-length solo album, Home Now, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Liam Davis, and featuring, among others, Chicago legends Robbie Fulks and Nora O'Connor. http://www.geralddowd.com
Rachel Drew’s first album of originals, "Under the Sun,"was released February 2016. You can usuall find her with her band, Rachel Drew & the Bitter Roots, which features Alton Smith on piano, Gerald Dowd on drums, Dave Nelson on guitar, and John Abbey on bass. Her songs, evoke mid-‘60s R&B, early-‘70s Ronstadt, Roy Orbison, and some classic country. http://www.racheldrew.com/home-1.html
THE HEAVY SOUNDS: Heavy Sounds are John Wills (guitar), Dan Ingenthron (keys), Jeremy Kay (bass) and Ryan Juravic (drums). Think Booker T and MG's, soul and funk. www.theheavysounds.com
THE SUNSHINE BOYS: Sunshine Boys are a Chicago-based trio of veteran recording and touring artists from some of the most revered bands in indie rock. Featuring Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Antenna, Mysteries of Life), Jacqueline Schimmel (Justin Roberts, Big Hello), and Dag Juhlin (Poi Dog Pondering, The Slugs), Sunshine Boys offer a propulsive, melodic take on pop rock. https://www.facebook.com/sunshineboysmusic/
On the food front, those familiar with Tom "Festival" Cimms' past offerings consider his food a festival highlight. Tom is an old friend and former restaurateur who makes his specialties exclusively for our festival — look for a delicious mix of classic American and New Orleans favs.
Please note that NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINK IS ALLOWED AT THE FESTIVAL.
There are several choices for lodging in area -- here are some ideas, all within 20 minutes or so of FitzGerald's (Oak Park is right across the street from the club). Be sure to tell 'em FitzGerald's sent you!
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, ext.0.
WHERE CAN I PARK? You can park anywhere on Roosevelt Rd. or the side streets; no meters or permit restrictions. Make sure NOT to park in business parking lots or the mini-mall to our west. Those are for their customers only and YOU WILL BE TOWED.
DO YOU OFFER HANDICAPPED PARKING? No. Since our lot will be covered by tents, only public parking will be available and Roosevelt Road and the side streets do not offer handicapped parking.
I SEE YOU'RE SELLING ADVANCE TICKETS - WILL TICKETS ALSO BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR? Yes, as long as we have room enough. The festival rarely sells out, but you never know! Four-day passes are also available (on ticketweb.com only).
DO YOU OFFER ANY DISCOUNTS ON TICKETS? Yes. For those who are paying cash at the door, there is a $10 discount during the first hour the doors are open. Good time to get a a table too! PLEASE NOTE: If you have purchased an advance ticket, the $10 discount does not apply and can not be used to admit a child. You can also save money by buying a four-day pass and sharing it with friends! Pass available at ticketweb.com only).
SO WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE FOUR-DAY PASS? The pass costs $140, while paying separately for each day would add up to $180. The pass is good for one entry each day and can be used by anyone. When you present the pass at the door it will be punched for that day, and cannot be used for any other day, as in "I couldn't make it yesterday, so can my friend and I both come in today instead?" Passes can be purchased at ticketweb.com and you can pick yours up at the festival entrance (no mailouts). Makes a great souvenir too!
DO YOU SERVE FOOD? Yes, we will be serving classic American BBQ plus some regional favorites. PLEASE NOTE: DURING THE FESTIVAL NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINKS WILL BE ALLOWED.
CAN I USE A CREDIT CARD? Credit cards may be used to run a tab at the bar or to buy FitzGerald's merchandise, but THE ENTRANCE FEE MUST BE PAID IN CASH if you have not bought an advance ticket. We provide ATMs near the front door.
WILL THERE BE A PLACE TO SIT? 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.
CAN I RESERVE A TABLE? No, your best bet is to come early and stake your claim.
WHAT IF I'M ONLY INTERESTED IN ONE BAND, DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY FULL PRICE? Yes.
CAN KIDS COME? IF SO, HOW LATE CAN THEY STAY? Children are welcomed (under 12 $10) and may stay until 10pm. NOTE: We do not sell advance tickets for kids, simply pay at the door.
CAN I LEAVE AND COME BACK IN? Certainly -- when you pay at the door you will be given a wristband -- just show it to the doorman as you come back in.
HOW MUCH ARE YOUR DRINKS? Bottled beers run from $3.50-$6 -- draft pints $4-$7; standard liquors $6; premium liquors $6-$12 -- wines from $9/glass.
IS THIS A DRESS-UP PLACE? 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!