Photos by Scott Preston
with Casey Campbell, Ben Knight
Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
$8 adv, $10 dos, 8pm doors, 9pm show
Do you have a voice but are afraid to use it? Do you have feelings you don’t know how to express? Is there a side of you that wants to be freed from under the rock, the closet, the suffocating small town or big city cubicle you’ve been living in? Chicago Farmer is ready to help and will be on tour in your area in 2014!
The son of a small town farming community, Cody Diekhoff, logged plenty of highway and stage time before drifting into the Windy City and becoming known as Chicago Farmer. Profoundly inspired by Woody Guthrie and John Prine, he’s a working-class folk musician to his core. His small town roots, tilled with city streets mentality, are now turning heads North and South of I-80
“This is not your average ‘man with guitar.’ Chicago Farmer’s approach to solo folk music is traditional, but his soul and energy are uncommonly powerful,” says CBS Chicago. “Arriving with his classic acoustic guitar style is a voice smooth but broken-in that sounds wise beyond its years. He will stomp out a beat in leather boots to drive home a point and throw down a handsome harmonica solo to put a song over the top. The songs are about the places he’s been and the people he’s met, so local ideas are abound in this music from the heart.”
Cincy Groove: Tell me about some of your favorite experiences at whispering beard?
Chicago Farmer: I love everything about that Festival. It really feels like going home for a few days.
Everyone involved is like a sister or brother from another mother. It’s one of the most inspiring Festivals I’ve been too as well. When you’re there or on the long ride home you can’t help but want to sing, write, paint, draw, collaborate etc…it’s a big bowl of creativity at The Beard.
Guy Clark’s set definitely stands out in my mind, as well as Justin Townes Earle’s solo set.
To see the New School Folk, and The Old School Folk together is something very powerful.
Cincy Groove: What would be your dream gig? Where would it be and who would you play with?
Chicago Farmer: The dream opening gig would be for John Prine. He’s kind of a Big Deal to me. I’ve also always wanted to Headline the Old Town School of Folk Music and The Peoria Riverfront in IL.
Every gig is kind of a dream come true for me though. If someone asked me if I ever dreamt I could travel the country, make a living playing music, get to spend that living with the girl of my dreams, and make a small positive impact on people’s lives, I’d say yeah…Every Night!
Cincy Groove: When you are listening to music who are you listening to?
Chicago Farmer: I mostly listen to my friend’s music these days. It’s not always easy to keep up with them in this line of work, so having their albums in my car helps me know what they’re up to and going through. I currently have quite a few Whispering Beard Folk Festival Alums in the car. Pokey LaFarge, The Tillers, & Henhouse Prowlers are good pals who have put out great albums recently. Other WBFF artists such as Guy Clark, Justin Townes Earle, Isbell, Hayes Carll and T Sniders latest project The Hard Working Americans have had recent spins and of course that one guy….Prine is a must in my travels. Sometimes one of his songs will come on and I’ll have to pull the car over. Sometimes to laugh, sometimes to cry, sometimes to just think about it all.
Cincy Groove: Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
Chicago Farmer: In 2005 I harassed WXRT Chicago with all of my might to play a tune of mine on their Sunday Night Show, Local Anesthetic. They finally did, on Super Bowl Sunday I received a call from a friend who luckily was cool enough to be listening to local radio rather than watching the big game! I ran to the stereo and cranked it up…a good feeling for sure! (Ya always sound better on the radio.) Fortunately the Bears weren’t playing, if so, my 7 roommates would have kicked my ass.
Cincy Groove: What has been one of your most unique or unusual experiences while touring?
Chicago Farmer: Playing shows with Gene Ween…of WEEN. About as unique and unusual as it gets…
Probably why I enjoyed it so much.
Cincy Groove: What plans do you have for 2014?
Chicago Farmer: My New Year’s Resolutions have been squandered, so I’ll just keep trying to be the best Folk-Singer, Husband, Friend, Son, and Brother I can be. I’m currently writing new material and excited to share a new batch of songs with hundreds and hundreds of fans. I also want to release my latest album Backenforth, IL on Vinyl. Stay Tuned!