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Chicago Farmer Announces 2014 Winter Tour

Chicago Farmer: Foot Stomping, Folk Singing, Story Telling, Spoken Word Poetry Spouting, Guitar Picking, Sing A Longing, Joke Telling, Fighting The Good Fight Songs!

Do you have a voice but are afraid to use it? Do you have feelings you don’t know how to express? Is there a side of you that wants to be freed from under the rock, the closet, the suffocating small town or big city cubicle you’ve been living in? Chicago Farmer is ready to help and will be on tour in your area in 2014!

The son of a small town farming community, Cody Diekhoff, logged plenty of highway and stage time before drifting into the Windy City and becoming known as Chicago Farmer. Profoundly inspired by Woody Guthrie and John Prine, he’s a working-class folk musician to his core. His small town roots, tilled with city streets mentality, are now turning heads North and South of I-80.

“This is not your average ‘man with guitar.’ Chicago Farmer’s approach to solo folk music is traditional, but his soul and energy are uncommonly powerful,” says CBS Chicago. “Arriving with his classic acoustic guitar style is a voice smooth but broken-in that sounds wise beyond its years. He will stomp out a beat in leather boots to drive home a point and throw down a handsome harmonica solo to put a song over the top. The songs are about the places he’s been and the people he’s met, so local ideas are abound in this music from the heart.”

“You can smell the dirt in the fields, hear the wind as it blows across the plains, and see the people that Chicago Farmer sings about.” Honest Tune goes on to write, “Each song captures a moment in time, whether for a person or a particular place. Imagine if a John Steinbeck short story had been written as a song, and this will give you a fairly good idea as to what Chicago Farmer accomplishes in his music.”

“Chicago Farmer represents the best qualities of Midwestern U.S.A,” praises Pokey Lafarge. “His lyrics, his stories and his heart are true. He’ll give you that feeling of ‘going home’. He’ll make you want to say all those things you’ve been meaning to say but were too afraid. At the same time his songs can make you ask yourself some deep questions. His songs give you hope. If you didn’t know him I believe just his voice would make you believe every word he says. Definitely one of my favorite singers out there today.”

In 2013 Chicago Farmer released the full-length album Backenforth, IL. The album broke the top 40 on the Americana Music Charts and rose to #3 on the Radio Free Americana charts. Along with Americana Radio, the album also garnered much attention with the song “Workin’ On It” being featured on Chicago’s WXRT multiple times. On April 17th, Michael Verity of No Depression (The Roots Music Authority) pegged Backenforth, IL as #5 of the best of the year so far, and Henry Carrigan of Country Standard Time says of the album “Stark and joyous at the same time, the songs grab you by the throat and refuse to let go until they’ve penetrated your heart and soul, which, after all, is what great folk music has always done; Chicago Farmer’s new album stands well in that tradition.”

Chicago Farmer plans to carry the tradition and torch of folk music even further with his live performances in 2014. This year Deikhoff goes on to headline many of the markets and cities he’s been the support in; 2013 saw the Folk-Singer priming the stage for the likes of Todd Snider, Pokey LaFarge, and Jeff Austin’s side project The Here and Now featuring Austin, Danny Barnes, and Larry & Jenny Keel. Whether the audience has already witnessed one of his performances or not, they’re sure to be singing along, clapping hands, stomping their feet, laughing, crying, and wishing for more.

Chicago Farmer 2014 Tour Dates
Jan 11  Springfield, IL – Donnie’s Homespun
Jan 29  Madison, WI – Hotel Red
Jan 30  Two Rivers, WI – Waverly Inn
Jan 31  Minocqua, WI – Minocqua Brewing CO.
Feb 01  Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
Feb 07  Nashville, IN – The Cabin Fever Concert
Feb 08  Newport, KY – Southgate House Revival
Feb 13  St. Louis, MO – The Gramophone
Feb 14  Bloomington, IL – The Castle Theatre
Feb 15  McHenry, IL – Winter Roots at Mackey’s Hideout
Feb 20  Chicago, IL – Dunn Dunn Fest at Tonic Room
Feb 21  Davenport, IA – The Redstone Room
Feb 22  Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
Feb 28  Denver, CO – Cervantes’ Other Side

For more information, please visit: www.chicagofarmer.com

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The Barstool Monologues

MIKE CULLISON & The Regulars

“A Honky-Tonk Canterbury Tales”
***   ***   ***

Fans of classic country music will feel right at home with Mike Cullison.
–John Davy, No Depression

A captivating blues rocker … soulful roadhouse songwriting.” –Simon Hallett, Totnes FM (UK)

This is what country music has been missing … [Mike] is bringing it back.” –Renaldo 6, SongCritic.com

I think music is the highway through life and I’m just rockin’ and rollin’ down the road.” —Mike Cullison

www.theroadhouserambler.com

Singer-songwriter Mike Cullison (aka “The Roadhouse Rambler”) is used to hearing his work defined in painterly terms; music journalists commonly pull out such metaphors when trying to describe songs. But with his new album, The Barstool Monologues (due out November 13th through JoeDog Records), it’s almost as if he’s working in the 3D style of sculptor J. Seward Johnson Jr., who turns famous Impressionist paintings into life-sized tableaux, incorporating not only the original images, but his own fanciful imaginings of what went on beyond the canvas.

Cullison takes a similar approach with The Barstool Monologues, weaving lives of bar patrons into songs, then threading them together with spoken-word narrative to create a vivid musical tableau. There’s the heartbroken lover, the fracturing couple, the other woman, the lonely imbiber … each introduced by a bartender named Hollis, who sees and hears it all. Various singers (including Jon Byrd, Davis Raines, and six others) inhabit their personas, spinning musical novellas into what Cullison likes to describe as “a honky-tonk Canterbury Tales.”

“It’s as if you walked into a place and you took a snapshot and everybody’s looking in the camera,” says the Nashville resident. “What I wanted to do was place everybody in that picture into one of the songs, either as its subject or the person singing it to somebody else.”

Mike Cullison. Photo by Greg Roth.

Cullison, an Oklahoma native who’s honed his songwriting skills with such royalty as Don Goodman (“Ol’ Red”; “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands”), Johnny Neel (the Allman Brothers) and Mike Stergis (Crosby, Stills & Nash), describes his style as “roadhouse blues and country roots-rock.” But his influences are as vast as the early rock ‘n’ roll his mom adored and the classic country his dad preferred, and he draws deeply from that well, along with other Americana styles — from Bakersfield to hybrid zyde-Cajun blues — to create a rich aural tapestry as colorful as Johnson’s art.

He considers himself a lyric writer first, however. “The story and how it is told are very important to me,” Cullison says. “Some songs come at you very quickly, but most take time. There’s still a lot of polishing to do even after the lightning bolts strike.”

Cullison’s career has taken time, too. In fact, the release party for his first album, 2004’s BAC (Big American Car), was also his retirement party after 32 years with the Bell Telephone Co. Midway through his Bell Tel years, he moved to Atlanta, “because it was five hours closer to Nashville.” His ultimate goal was always Music City, “because that’s where the writers were.”

He finally made it in 1995. Throughout his day-job years, he always wrote and performed; in Atlanta, he was in a band called Lone Walter. These days, Cullison appears solo or with a variety of friends and collaborators in the states and Europe, where he first released the EP Roadhouse Rambler in 2011, which hit #1 on the Airplay Direct radio charts. (His second CD, Blue Collar Tired, came out in 2007.)

Like most musicians, Cullison spends his share of time in bars. And like most country-influenced players, he’s sung his share of “tears in beer” tunes. But one night, while performing at the late Nashville bar the Sutler (lost, sadly, to developers), a thought struck: “Instead of having somebody sitting on the customer’s side of the bar crying in their beer, what if we turned it around?”

That was the genesis of the Mark Robinson-produced The Barstool Monologues.

“Songwriting is storytelling, so it kind of fit for me,” says Cullison, who also has plenty of “behind the song” stories. One of his favorites involves the opening tune, “Wish I Didn’t Like Whiskey” — a perfect choice to open an album set in a bar.

“I had bought a drink for a friend of mine,” Cullison relates, “and as I handed her the glass, she said, ‘I wish I didn’t like whiskey so much.’ I excused myself for a minute while I wrote that on a coaster. Turned out to be a very good song.”

They’ve all turned out to be very good songs — vignettes, actually, sung and performed by some of Nashville’s finest. If Cullison has his way, The Barstool Monologues might even turn into a musical of some sort, with actors and stage sets. Life-sized, like a Johnson tableau. Only even more real, because we can recognize the characters in Cullison’s stories. They’re our friends, our exes … or maybe even ourselves.

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