American Grizzly bassist Marty Funk and guitarists Jack Doyle and Dennis Wilson rumble about their Pilsen rehearsal space with their friend and photographer Tim Nagle. With only a few weeks until the release of their third EP, a self-titled folk-rock compilation out on February 14, the Chicago-based rock band works to finish their album photo shoot.
They’ve hung a tapestry along one of the ways directly over a wooden piano. To the left are two amplifiers. To the right, a white electric guitar. The scene feels vintage; a perfect old southern rock setting, but what really sets the vibe is what’s front and center: a lamp with a cowboy boot base. The look is laid back and in a way may seem out of character for American Grizzly, but Funk, Doyle and Wilson explain, the music found on their new EP American Grizzly is as genuine as the rock-infused tunes fans are used to.
The Midwest’s largest city may not seem like the ideal hotspot for up-and-coming folk bands but through the thicket of Chicago’s noise, Wild Skies is making an impression on the city’s local music scene. Just months ago, the four-piece band buckled down at I.V. Lab Studios with Chris Harden to record their debut full-length album Far From Below. It’s a compilation filled with rich folk instrumentation, lyrical hooks, catchy grooves and vocal harmonies; a creative step forward from the band’s 2015 self-titled EP.
Staying silent during a politically charged state strums many artists as difficult, especially when they view surrounding actions of their government and peers as immoral. After the pipeline crisis in Standing Rock and spending time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Chicago-based folk singer Ryan Herrick saw an opportunity in his art; to use his music as a catalyst for change. On Earth Day 2017, Herrick buckled down for a day at Kingsize Sound Labs with engineer John Abbey to record his third album Sagitta, out for release on Friday, September 15 with a show at Edgewater’s Uncommon Ground.
Named after the Latin word for “arrow”, Herrick views the songs making up Sagitta as arrows; arrows of thought to be directed at people in power or people under the illusion that they are in power. Herrick explains that these songs, or arrows, can also be a light on into the world, a moment of intention.