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A Letter from Camp: Summer Camp Music Festival, May 24-26 in Chillicothe, Illinois PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Monday, 20 May 2013 10:01

A participant in an open-mic session at Summer Camp 2012. Photo by Matt Erickson ( a reprieve from the unyielding noon sun at the 2012 Summer Camp Music Festival, I head to the Soulshine Tent for a bit of shade and cold drink. Upon entering the tent, I see festival musician Jaik Willis and a camper wrapping up a music jam together. I take a seat, and Jaik invites a young woman to the stage who is next on the open-mic list. With her cowboy hat pulled down tight and a with slow foot tap; she starts her a cappella version of “Me & Bobby McGee.” Within moments you can hear the rasp build in her voice as she works her way toward the chorus. Her brow wrinkles, and – as if she were kicked in the stomach – she buckles over and unleashes her vocal wail. She tears through ’til the end and quietly passes the mic back while the small group of observers erupts into cheers, and I think to myself: “This is Summer Camp. Expect the unexpected.” I don’t remember the young woman’s name, but her passionate one-off performance was unforgettable.

Top-tier musicians and fans will be descending on the 13th Annual Summer Camp Music Festival from May 24 through 26 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois – a drive of less than two hours from the Quad Cities. The festival has a diverse and exciting lineup along with camping on festival grounds. One hundred thirty different acts will bring everything including blues, rock, bluegrass, dubstep, and hip hop to one of seven stages.

The Ordinary (but Really Good) Band with the Exotic Story: Brett Newski & the Corruption, May 28 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Monday, 20 May 2013 05:33

Brett Newski & the Corruption. Photo by Sweet Chucky B.

Brett Newski & the Corruption bills itself as “a band from Saigon, Vietnam,” but before you imagine some sort of Eastern-Western mash-up, know that Newski comes from the exotic environs of ... Milwaukee.

It’s true that the band lived and recorded its album Tiny Victories in Saigon, and that Newski and his collaborators are an international cast – albeit entirely from North America and Europe. But when the band plays Rozz-Tox on May 28, don’t expect any divergence from poppy Western guitar rock. Outside of lyrics based on travels and life abroad, the influence of southeast Asia, Newski said in a phone interview last week, is limited to the invigorating hullabaloo of the city.

“It’s indie rock,” Newski said. “We’re not rocking any sitars or anything. But the energy that the city brings that we’re constantly surrounded with I thought translated well into the energy of the album.”

Blues with a Beach Boys Dream: Rachel Brooke, May 23 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:10

Rachel BrookeRachel Brooke grew up with bluegrass and country standards and in high school played them in her father’s band. Her album A Killer’s Dream (from late last year) puts that experience and her voice in a blues context.

All three of those genres share simplicity. Yet Brooke’s dream is to record her equivalent of the Beach Boys’ famously dense and unconventional Pet Sounds.

She’ll be performing with her band on May 23 at RIBCO, and you’ll hear a little bit of both aspects in her live show.

Electric Blood: Unknown Component, May 11 at Circle Tap PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 13:36

Keith Lynch

When I last wrote about Unknown Component, the one-man DIY project of the prolific Keith Lynch, I focused on one song and compared his voice favorably to Kurt Cobain’s.

Five years – and at least five recordings – later, I’m faced with his 2012 album Blood V. Electricity, and his growth is impressive and, frankly, startling. The Iowa-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer will be performing at Circle Tap on May 11, and the talent I saw before is now mature, the potential is realized, and the flashes of brilliance have been transformed into a consistently alluring and engaging whole. (And while his singing still has a whine, the edge has been sanded off, banishing all thoughts of Cobain.)

The album is on the one hand atmospheric and spacious and on the other concrete and tangible, finding a happy balance between misty textures and solid frames, and forging a successful, alchemical marriage of synthetic and organic instrumental sounds.

Photos from the Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis Concert, May 4 at the Redstone Room PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 11:11

Photos from the Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis concert at the Redstone Room on May 4, 2013, with opener David G. Smith. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis:

Photo by Matt Erickson,

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