The Band of Heathens

Harmonica Dunn Presents:

The Band of Heathens

Fletcher Rockwell

Fri, October 20, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Fitzgerald's Nightclub

Berwyn, IL

$15.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

The Band of Heathens
The Band of Heathens
“All I’m asking/Let me change your mind”

Ed Jurdi: guitar, keys, vocals
Gordy Quist: guitar, vocals
Trevor Nealon; keys, vocals
Richard Milsap: drums, vocals
Scott Davis: bass, vocals

duende – [duen-de] (noun) 1. a quality of inspiration and passion 2. A heightened sense of emotion, expression and authenticity 3. a spirit

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.”

Indeed, Duende lives up to those high ideals, a stylistically diverse effort that takes a leap beyond their last, more acoustic, introspective effort, 2013’s Sunday Morning Record, with an eclectic batch of material that shows where The Band of Heathens has been, but more importantly, where they are going.

There are high-energy rockers like the Keith Richards-Chuck Berry guitars and barrelhouse piano in “Trouble Came Early” as well as the Grateful Dead-by-way-of J.J. Cale Oklahoma boogie in “Keys to the Kingdom,” and the New Riders pedal steel country twang of “Green Grass of California,” an ode to the more potent strains of sensimilla on the dispensary shelf and a fervent plea to “legalize it.”

Duende also touches on some of The Band of Heathens’ favorite topics, from the sacrifices of a life lived on the road (“All I’m Asking”) to the limits of materialism (“Keys to the Kingdom”), social media absorption (“Cracking the Code”), and a moving depiction of Mexican immigration in an age of increased discrimination (“Road Dust Wheels”).

Thematically, Quist’s “Cracking the Code” comes closest to reiterating the album’s desire to reconsider the value of relationships and priorities in a world of virtual reality and social media. “While modern technology has certainly allowed us to stay in touch over vast distances – something a band that lives on the road certainly appreciates – it doesn’t really provide the authentic connection we crave,” says Gordy. “We’ve created a portal through which we lose ourselves and miss what’s really going on right in front of us, hiding the fact our supposed connected culture can be a really lonely place.”

“I feel the album brings together all our influences, everything we’ve done over the years as a band,” explains Jurdi. “We’ve touched on every part of our career… our roots, some singer/songwriter contemplative stuff, some high-energy rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all us, the record we were supposed to make. Ten years later, that’s what keeps us coming back.”

Engineer/co-producer Jim Vollentine (Spoon, White Rabbits, …And You’ll Know Us by the Trail of Dead) helped the album’s diversity sound coherent, adding unique touches such as mellotron and drum machines to the loping rockabilly of tracks like “All I’m Asking.”

The term “Americana” was practically invented to describe The Band of Heathens’ approach, which has mutated almost as much as the genre to which they’re identified. And while the Rolling Stones and The Beatles remain touchstones on songs like “Sugar Queen” and “Deep Is Love,” respectively, influences as diverse as Sly and the Family Stone (in the psychedelic fuzz-tones of “Daddy Long Legs”) and Latin music (“Road Dust Wheels”) also rear their heads. Literary inspirations also come into play, ranging from a character in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar depicted in as a strutting cougar in “Sugar Queen” (“She even talks dirty/When she’s on her knees to pray”) to Tom Standage’s A History of the World in Six Glasses, which recounts how beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola have shaped culture and civilization to modern times (“Trouble Came Early”).

Duende is The Band of Heathens playing to their strengths, unapologetically constructed as an old-school 10-track, two-sided vinyl album (which it will be released as, with a second disc encompassing four songs from their Green Grass EP released earlier this year).
Fletcher Rockwell
Fletcher Rockwell
With classic Americana-tinged rock & roll steeped in the blue-collar charm of their hometown, Chicago’s Fletcher Rockwell has been building a loyal fanbase throughout the Midwest since 2009. From humble beginnings at dive bars and late-night house parties, the band has since graduated to the biggest stages in Chicago, including legendary venues like House of Blues, Metro, Joe’s on Weed, Cubby Bear and Double Door. While widely known for their spellbinding original songs, the group is also revered for clever versions of the most popular cover music, spanning everything from vintage Tom Petty and The Band to contemporary roots revivalists the Lumineers, Dawes and Mumford & Sons.

Fletcher Rockwell’s latest release, Urban Heartland, finds the band conjuring the spirit of a bygone era, when classic anthems like ‘’Take It Easy’’ and ‘’The Weight’’ ruled radio airwaves across the nation with big hooks, sparkling harmonies and stellar musicianship. In the first single off the new record, ‘’Too Much to Drink’’, the group boldly mixes the clap-and-shout acoustic rush of modern Americana with the classic rock & roll of 70’s AM gold.

Given their penchant for playing big country hits like ‘’Friends in Low Places’’ and ‘’Chicken Fried’’, the band even throws some cowboy flavor into Urban Heartland with sing-along romps ‘’Dance All Night’’ and ‘’Jenny, You’re the One’’. They aren’t afraid to dial it back, either - the group’s mellow folky side shines through in the Laurel Canyon sparkle of ‘’Change Everything’’ and the laidback front-porch vibe of ‘’Want You to Know’’. Urban Heartland closes out with the raucous boogie of ‘’Scorpion Woman’’, a Jason Aldean-inspired homage to wild nights and crazy love.

It’s an unforgettable party whenever Fletcher Rockwell rolls into town. Catch the band on tour throughout the Midwest in 2015.
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Venue Information:
Fitzgerald's Nightclub
6615 Roosevelt Road
Berwyn, IL, 60402
http://www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com/