Stace England and the Salt Kings
Stace England - guitar - Charlie Tabing - lead guitar - Ron Johnson - bass - Dane Spalt - drums
Stace England hails from southern Illinois in the Great American Midwest, and found his creative footing in Chicago during the early '90s with House Afire, one of the first country/roots bands in what was to become a very vibrant alt-country scene. House Afire enjoyed tremendous fan support, and released one album, Progress (Bigwood) in 1992.
England returned to the isolation of rural southern Illinois and recorded a project of aggressive folk material under the name Tecumseh, releasing the well-received Bearings (Union) in 1995. His next musical adventure was with the alt/slasher/country-rock outfit Jubilee Songbirds, which released the eclectic Birds of North America (Western Front) in 1997. England released his first solo record, Peach Blossom Special (Relay) in 1999, garnering Release of the Year honors from Midwest music publication Nightlife and other strong reviews. The driving power pop of his 2003 release, Lovey Dovey ALL the Time (Gnashville Sounds), highlighted his extensive musical range and brought new fans into the fold.
England's concept/historical album Greetings From Cairo, Illinois was a culmination of five years of research, hundreds of conversations and "countless hours of general hanging around" in what he describes as "the most fascinating town in America, bar none." The CD traces Cairo's history from 1858 to the present through the Civil War, lynchings, the blues years, civil rights struggles and spectacular decline. England is joined on the CD by top musicians from southern Illinois, Los Angeles and Nashville including alt-country legend Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers.
With 2007’s Salt Sex Slaves England, along with his stellar core band The Salt Kings tackled another bizarre slice of unknown US history weaving true stories of brutal salt production, slave breeding, kidnapped free blacks and murder in a supposed Free State, the Land of Lincoln, into a volatile, provocative Exile on Main St.-ish stew.
Stace England and The Salt Kings have now set their sights on the amazing life story of Metropolis, Illinois born filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. After leaving Little Egypt he spent time as a Pullman porter, traveling all over the US and as far as South America. He then became the only African American to homestead a farm near Gregory, South Dakota. In his isolation he began to pen semi autobiographical novels, starting with The Conquest in 1913 and The Homesteader in 1917. A small, black owned movie studio approached Micheaux about making the standard short film of the period based on The Homesteader, he instead formed his own film company and wrote, filmed, produced and directed the sprawling epic, The Homesteader in 1919. It was a sensation in Chicago and other cities. Then, in a direct challenge to D.W. Griffith's racially charged Birth of a Nation Micheaux released his masterpiece, Within Our Gates in 1920. Audiences were stunned. The film remained lost for almost 60 years until a single copy was discovered in Spain in 1990. His triumph was the equivalent of making Citizen Kane without any financial backing from Hollywood or other connected sources. Micheaux bested Orson Wells in accomplishment, and by two plus decades, yet he is virtually unknown to most Americans.
Their live Micheaux show will feature multimedia including clips from eight of Micheaux’s available films.