Mr. Blotto & Henhouse Prowlers - The Castle Theatre209 E. Washington St. Bloomington,IL
12/14/2018 8:00 PM - 12/14/2018 10:00 PM
Mr. Blotto was born in Chicago as an off-night vehicle for musicians who loved each others playing but were in different bands at the time. The only rule was that they would only play what they loved. That philosophy continues today and has led Mr. Blotto into unique musical situations.
Mr. Blotto takes the Jam band asthetic into areas unfamiliar to the standard Jam Scene. They have been known to cover entire albums by Led Zeppelin and the Who as well as perform entire shows of Country and Reggae. Artists as diverse as the Grateful Dead, the Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson and The Velvet Underground have seen their material interpreted by Mr. Blotto in the 2000+ shows the band has performed in the last 15 years, yet covers only pepper the bands hefty catalog of original material stemming from five studio albums and other unreleased crowd favorites.
The Henhouse Prowlers
Since 2004, Chicago’s Henhouse Prowlers have played their own brand of bluegrass music shaped by the city they live in, and the experiences they’ve had on international tours. What started as a group of musicians humbly working at their craft with weekly shows in local neighborhood establishments, turned into a full-time job; performing, creating, and teaching music - not only around their hometown, but across the United States, and distant locales in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The roots of bluegrass shine through the band’s shows, performing around a single microphone, respecting tradition while pushing its boundaries. On stage, story-telling songs mingle with hard-driving instrumentals and ballads to complete a sound the band has been honing for years, but it’s more than a musical performance. As one long-time fan says, “You can't leave a Prowlers show without getting the feeling you actually know the people you just saw perform on stage. It’s like the show was happening in your living room.”
Performing 200 shows a year, this band places no limit on where they will appear. Cross-country U.S. tours, and annual tours in Europe are a band staple. In 2013 the Henhouse Prowlers began a relationship with the United States State Department through the American Music Abroad program (AMA), visiting four countries in West Africa. AMA involves teaching, workshops, and collaborations with local bands in countries seldom visited by foreigners, let alone American bluegrass bands. The boys embraced their initial opportunity and since then have been invited to perform in other far reaches of the world, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, 11 countries throughout Africa, and Kyrgyzstan, thus making cultural diplomacy a part of their brand.
The Henhouse Prowlers have five studio albums (with a sixth due in the fall of 2017), and two live albums to their credit. Their most recent release, Live From Kyrgyzstan, consists of 13 tracks captured during their recent tour in the Kyrgyz Republic. Along with a handful of original songs and fan favorites, the album features two of the many songs that the band has learned on their international tours (Sitya Loss, by Ugandan superstar Eddy Kenzo, and popular Kyrgyz folk song “Kara Jorgo”), as well as covers by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Earl Scruggs, and The Grateful Dead. Rounding out the album, HHP is joined by Kyrgyz folk group Ordo Sakhna for a cross-cultural collaboration of the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.”
Whether at a show in Chicago or a market square in Liberia, the Prowlers see bluegrass as a way to make a musical connection from the stage to the people in the audience. You feel it at every show.
Sun Beard is a rootsy and rockin collection of Chicago artists from bands we all know and love in the local and regional club and festival scene. With a focus on songwriting influenced by the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Wilco and more, the songs set the scene for pedal to the floor guitar solos and extended grooves.
Matt Robinson - Old Shoe
Janis Wallin - Family Groove Company
Scott Tipping - Scott Tipping Trio, Cornmeal, Backyard Tire Fire
Jonathan Reed - Old Shoe