Van McCann, singer and guitarist for the United Kingdom's Catfish & the Bottlemen, has a strange relationship with the song "Homesick."

"I thought it was the worst one of the batch we did ... when we first started recording for Communion," he said, referring to the label/tour founded by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett. "Since then, it's become my favorite."

What changed, McCann said, was that other people liked it. And therein lies a great deal of the charm of Catfish & the Bottlemen, a band described by the UK's The Guardian as "deeply old-fashioned - and unfashionable."

McCann doesn't disagree with that assessment - whether it means an indifference toward appearance or, in a larger sense, a band more in love with the idea of playing for as many people as possible than selling lots of records or making artistic statements. When the quartet performs a Communion/Daytrotter show at Maquoketa's Codfish Hollow Barn on June 19, expect no-frills rock-and-roll with one goal: to connect with the audience.

This Saturday
The Ukulele Connection plays a unique blend of musical styles including standards, popular, bluegrass, and gospel songs. Bass, tenor, and banjo ukuleles along with a tuba, guitar, mandolin and harmonica provide the background for the three part vocals.

Musicians in June

June 7 - Jim Roeder
June 14 - Kevin Boyd
June 19 - Larry Lockwood
June 28 - Terry Stone

Okay Dads, June 14th is a great event for you to bring the kids to the Farmers Market. We have lots of activities for the kids and the kids can make dad a special surprise.

June 14 - Children's Festival 
June 14 -  Dads and kids day at the Market
June 14 -  Health fair in east lot: Bouncy House, Balloon Man, Tattoo painting Lady, Liquid chalk sidewalk drawings,  clown(s) and much more. Rain date June 19.
June 21 - Cake Walk. Proceeds will go to Friendly House Food Pantry.
June 28 - Children bring a white t-shirt.  They will decorate the t-shirts in red and blue paint (fireworks theme).

Crosswinds Farm just had their new "crop" of lambs come in. You just have to take a look at their Facebook page pictures She also has a blog with more wonderful pictures. while you are at the market stop and see Corrine and you can take home some wonderful greeting cards, yarn and home made treats that you can share on special occasions.

Strawberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry lots of your favorite berries. I picked up some plain pastries and topped them with berries, oh what a treat.  Top it off with whipped cream or ice cream and you have a divine treat!  Enjoy!

At the Market in the morning,buy your lunch goodies and have a picnic lunch on the river then catch a game in the evening! 6:00 pm home games June 7,14,21 Click here for the River Bandits Schedule.

Last year, Quad Cities-based singer/songwriter Lewis Knudsen decided to give up substitute-teaching to devote himself full-time to music. Lots of musicians make a similar leap, but few of them commit to it as fearlessly and smartly as Knudsen has.

He performed at open mics and got gigs wherever he could - restaurants, bars, wineries, nursing homes, birthday parties, company parties.

He set out to write and record a new song a week in 2013, a project that ended up generating 40 tracks (all of them available on his Web site at LewisKnudsen.com/songs-from-2013). For the uncharitable who think Knudsen was a slacker for falling short of his goal, the song-a-week project was waylaid by a three-week tour of Europe through the Germany-based Songs & Whispers organization.

He assembled a band and professionally recorded the self-released album Joy, Pain, Love, Songs. - whose debut he'll be marking with a June 5 show at the Redstone Room.

And while studio recording can be a challenge for neophytes, Knudsen sidestepped that issue in two ways - by fine-tuning the songs in live settings and having the process come to him by tracking with mobile equipment in his quintet's practice space. "It was exactly like being in my living room and recording the whole album," Knudsen said in a phone interview last week.

D.R.I. Photo by Colin Davis.

The seminal crossover-thrash band D.R.I. released its seventh studio album, Full Speed Ahead, in 1995, and fans hungry for an eighth album ... well, they'll need to keep waiting.

Founding vocalist Kurt Brecht, in a recent phone interview promoting D.R.I.'s May 30 appearance at RIBCO, said the band isn't against the idea and has made fits and starts. It recorded four demos in 2004 and released a Web-only track from those sessions. And, he added, founding guitarist Spike Cassidy "was saying something about recording the next time we're in L.A. with the engineer that used to do our old albums when we were on Metal Blade Records."

But, he said, if something comes from that studio time, it will likely be an EP. "Not that we couldn't write a full album," he said. "It's just we've been so busy touring and stuff, we don't want to stop to put out an album. ... We're just so happy to have an unlimited amount of dates thrown at us all over the world to play, so we don't want to slow down." Plus, without a current record deal, the band is under no obligation to release new material - and getting a record deal or self-releasing an album would require energy that could be devoted to touring.

When guitarist Damon Johnson was recruited from Alice Cooper's band to play in Thin Lizzy in 2011, he had no idea that he was also joining another band.

"The initial discussions were just about filling that soon-to-be-vacant guitar spot," Johnson said in a phone interview this week. "And that was enough for me, as a student of Thin Lizzy's music - not just the guitar players, but Phil [Lynott]'s songwriting.

"So it was extra exciting for me, literally the second or third day that I was there, [that] there was a discussion about wanting to write and record new material for a Thin Lizzy album."

Few people would be surprised to find Julie Byrne working in the service industry. The singer/songwriter, after all, is in her mid-20s with one album to her credit, and it's hard for an emerging musician to make ends meet performing for small audiences and selling records one by one.

But if you see Byrne working at Rozz-Tox in the coming weeks, it's not for that reason. Instead, she's the first artist-in-residence at the venue, and her one-month stay in the Quad Cities - running through early June - will include a show on May 28.

The residency, Byrne said last week, originated with the idea of finding something to fill the gap between a two-month tour and her summer concert bookings. "I knew that going on such a long tour would be really wonderful and really exhilarating but also challenging just because there's no privacy and no space to reflect on these constant, rapid experiences - each day in a new place," she said. "So I was trying to figure out a calm, tranquil environment where I could exist after the tour to kind of take it all in and begin working on new material."

So many things going on this week. Firstly, we are celebrating moms and Mothers Day at the market on May 10th. Stop inside and sign up for our newsletter and receive an entry for a drawing for a beautiful Hanging Basket.   Bring a family recipe to share and receive a free gift. Bring you mother or daughter and build some special memories at the Market.

Like to win a beautiful hanging basket? We will be drawing for this beautiful plant from all the entries on our newsletter mailing list. So Facebook users or web site users be sure that you click join our mailing list. Be sure to forward this email to your friends so that they can enter to win. Then be sure to respond to the verification email to be sure you have a chance to win.  You may also enter at the comment table inside the Freight House Farmers Market.

Bring a family recipe to the market to share and we will reward you with a special gift. In side at the comment table you can leave you recipe and receive your gift.Sign up for our email newsletter while you are there and receive a chance at the beautiful hanging basket.

David G. Smith. Photo by Avory Pierce.In putting together his new album One House, Blue Grass, Iowa-based David G. Smith "ended up with 10 issues-oriented songs," he said in an interview last week.

This was a bit of an accident. Smith - who will be celebrating the album's release with a May 17 show at the Redstone Room - said he brought 21 songs to producer Blue Miller and "figured we'd find an album out of that. ... We ended up recording two albums. ... We've got another one on deck. It's already been mastered."

And when Smith considered which songs to put on which album, One House's 10 tracks seemed to naturally go together in the order they appear.

The title track asks the question "Can we live in one house built on higher ground?" "Ivory" deals with the illegal trade of elephant tusks. "Jesus Is in Prison" is about a death-row inmate. "Angels Flew" tells the story of a boat lift rescuing people on 9/11. "Doesn't Take Much Light" and "Ariel" are specific narratives based on real people - with Parkinson's disease and the extremely rare Rett syndrome, respectively. (The River Music Experience concert is also a platform to raise money for the latter illness.)

It's a heavy collection, and for some tastes it will likely be too on-the-nose, even though it's rarely preachy - which Smith called "the mortal sin of songwriting": "It's a supreme challenge to try to write something that will strike a chord with people and at least make them pause and maybe think a little bit."

The subject matter and directness are countered by folk arrangements that are thoughtful and evocative, but more importantly the album - Smith's second studio effort - is also filled with hope, conviction, earnest heart, and lovely turns of phrase that elevate it. Smith is at his best finding unexpected light in the darkness.

Water Liars. Photo by Maggie Huber.

With the Water Liars's self-titled album - the band's third record in as many years - you could be forgiven for thinking that you're in for a jarring ride based on the song titles and the opening track's bleak but majestic riff. "Cannibal" is followed by "War Paint" and "I Want Blood."

You are in for a ride, although it's less the beat-down and carnage that the titles suggest than a careening from loud distortion to gentle Americana and back. "Ray Charles Dream" is a hooky, punk-tinged rock song sandwiched between the slow-footed guitar lament of "Tolling Bells" and the even-slower-footed piano lament of "Vespers."

"That's always been sort of a point for us," said singer/songwriter/guitarist Justin Kinkel-Schuster in a phone interview last week, promoting the trio's May 14 performance at Rozz-Tox. "Widely shifting dynamics has always been an important part of our sound ... both live and on records. ... I just always am intrigued by moving between those poles. There's something interesting about taking a ride like that."

It's not merely a sonic roller coaster. The title and sentiment of "I Want Blood" ("I want blood all the time") would seem to lend themselves to a ravenous rock treatment, but the song instead places the lyrics in a warm and ethereal musical context, making it a reverb-heavy anthem to searching and soaring. "Tension is why art exists," Kinkel-Schuster explained of the apparent contradiction. "Without tension, I don't think there's a whole lot to go on. ... Without tension you don't have a story; there's nothing to resolve."

(Listen to author Jeff Ignatius discuss the Fair Tax on "Midwest Week" with WVIK's Herb Trix.)

Illustration by Leo Kelly

How would you like a cut in your income taxes while protecting funding for education and public safety?

Or how would you like the Illinois General Assembly to stick it to you by making permanent the income-tax increase of 2011 that is supposed to (mostly) expire next year?

Lucky you: In a bizarre set of circumstances, a "Fair Tax" proposal would give you both! Ninety-four percent of Illinois taxpayers would see their income taxes drop in 2015, while lawmakers wouldn't have to make the tough budgetary choices they promised to. Win-win!

Sound confusing? It is. Sound impossible? It isn't.

Bear with me, and I'll explain how the legislature - specifically Democrats faced with two highly unattractive options in an election year - devised a "third way" that's not really a third way at all. It's merely a variation on one of those highly unattractive options, but it's been cleverly packaged on the assumption that voters have short memories.

This gambit is technically still in play, but on Tuesday it looked nearly certain that it lacked the legislative votes to move forward to a November referendum. If it has indeed died for 2014, let this be a cautionary tale about the perils of broken pledges - and attempts at marketing them as something positive.

And if the plan finds new life in the next few days, it's essential that lawmakers and voters understand what it really is.

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