Cornmeal: Fresh Jam With a Side of Bluegrass

Cornmeal:  Fresh Jam With a Side of Bluegrass
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Spread
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Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Main Street
Hangar 9

More Articles
Spread: Making a Nice Jam
Cornmeal: From the Kitchen to the Festival Scene, This Band Cooks
Cornmeal: Serving up a Progressive Bluegrass Salad
Giving Tree Band: Serving the Song and the Earth at the Sunset Concerts
Jake's Leg: Taking a Long, Strange Trip to Carbondale
Old Salt Union: A “Bluegrass” Band that Defies Labels
Swamp Tigers: Celebrating a New Record at the CarbondaleRocks Revival
Whistle Pigs: Bless Your Hearts and Livers


Who: Giving Tree Band / Old Salt Union; Cornmeal / Whistle Pigs / Swamp Tigers / Spread / Jake’s Leg / Team Bayside High
What: Carbondale Main Street WelcomeFest
Where:
When: 2013-09-13 - 2013-09-14
On Saturday, September 14, progressive bluegrass band Cornmeal will return to Carbondale as part of
Lauren Bonner

On Saturday, September 14, progressive bluegrass band Cornmeal will return to Carbondale as part of the Carbondale Main Street WelcomeFest, which will kick off at 5 p.m. at the Hangar 9’s parking lot.

While in recent weeks Cornmeal has played a few festivals around the Midwest, the group spent the prior three months taking a break from the road, adjusting to changes in their lineup, and working hard on new tunes.

Though progressive bluegrass seems to be the most common descriptor of Cornmeal’s style, they’ve alternatively been described as playing roots music, progressive slam, and jamgrass, or as a jam band. From all of that, one might begin to get the idea that the Chicago-based group is rooted in traditional American music, and from there they add their own spin.

And all this is true, but it doesn’t begin to convey the group’s ability to push against boundaries of genre and tempo, nor does it do justice to the improvisation, sheer talent, energy, danceability, and fun offered at a Cornmeal show.

Formed more than ten years ago, Cornmeal started playing for small audiences in the Chicago area. Since then, the band has grown in popularity, playing shows and festivals all over the country and releasing several well-received albums. In 2010 and 2011, they released a two-part compilation of live recordings made in Chicago.

This year, Cornmeal has reentered the studio to work on their first studio album in almost six years, a long-awaited venture that comes with major changes in the group’s lineup. Ten-year member and fiddle phenom Allie Kral parted ways with Cornmeal in May to pursue other musical paths, and since then the band has launched a nationwide search for a new fiddler.

In July, Cornmeal announced that two new musicians would join their ranks: Scott Tipping is a Chicago-area acoustic guitarist who, with his extensive background in roots-influenced music, should fit seamlessly into the group; and Drew Littell, also from Chicago, will bring his folkloric-tinged rhythms as Cornmeal’s new drummer.

Tipping and Littell will join vocalist/banjo player Wavy Dave Burlingame and upright bass/vocalist Chris Gangi.

Despite the changes, there is no doubt that Cornmeal will put on a show to remember. Gangi told Nightlife back in 2010 that style-wise, the band likes to “[d]raw in a little bit of everything,” adding, “Progressive bluegrass leaves a lot up to interpretation. We are all interested in different kinds of music, and we like to play around and see what fits and what doesn’t, but we also have a lot of room for improvisation, too.”

This penchant for flexibility and improvisation may help make Cornmeal’s latest incarnation a success, and allow each show to be different from any other.

For more information, visit <http://www.CornmealInTheKitchen.com>.

WelcomeFest will actually kick off with a preparty Friday, September 13 inside the Hangar with bluegrass shows by the Giving Tree Band and Old Salt Union. The rest of the Saturday bill will feature locals the Whistle Pigs, the Swamp Tigers, and Spread, plus Chicago groups Jake’s Leg and Team Bayside High.

For more about the event and other Carbondale Main Street activities, visit <http://www.CarbondaleMainStreet.com>.

who: Giving Tree Band / Old Salt Union; Cornmeal / Whistle Pigs / Swamp Tigers / Spread / Jake’s Leg / Team Bayside High

what: Carbondale Main Street WelcomeFest

where: Hangar 9

when: Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14