Over the river and into your ears

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

I know we have that new bridge and all, but if you're anything like me you rarely see the point of heading over into Illinois (unless you're hungry for "hushpuppies," of course). But now there might not be any reason to leave anymore. That bridge can be used for coming, too, and that's what several bands from Southern Illinois have been doing lately. Here are a few things about three of those bands:

Woodbox Gang

Hailing from a place called "Vulture Valley," the Woodbox Gang's music is a combination of bluegrass, blues, folk and punk rock, all delivered under their self-made label of "Trashcan Americana."

"We are influenced by everything we've heard, whether it's a symphony orchestra or a push rod knockin' in an old 350 engine," said Alex Kirt -- who himself plays a wide variety of instruments -- in a press release. "Just about anything that makes a sound can be used to enhance the mood of a tune."

The Gang doesn't have any dates scheduled in Cape right now, but stay tuned to their Web site, www.woodboxgang.com, for updates.

Ivas John Band

The Ivas John Band comes from Carbondale and play, according to guitarist Ivas John, straight-up blues. Their influences include mainstays like Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf and T-Bone Walker, but their music -- most of which is original -- isn't necessarily of the run-of-the-mill variety.

"We like to put little twists on traditional forms of the music," said John. "The elements and tone bring you back to a time already gone-by."

To hear the Ivas John Band's vintage Chicago-style blues in person the next time they're in town, keep an eye on their Web site, www.ivasjohn.com. †

Rich Fabec Band

This band's blues music is becoming well-known around Cape since they began playing here over the last year. Guitarist and vocalist Rich Fabec is not only a guitar player, he's also a guitar teacher, so if you want to get schooled or you just want to listen, be sure to check them out the next time they're in town. The band's Web site is www.richfabec.com.

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