Stace England

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December 28, 2005
Really nice review this week in Chicagoist, an online news and arts publication. We're getting quite comfortable with the Sufjan Stevens comparisons, particularly when people understand our approach and the differences with his, and clearly writer Scott Smith did. Our thanks to him and Chicagoist for mention. See it here.

December 21, 2005
Two items of note, one actually in Cairo – in an incident eerily reminiscent of Robert Hunt's death in 1967, Demetrius Flowers was found hanged in the Cairo City Jail on December 14, 2005 – not by a t-shirt but his own shoe laces. It's our sincere hope everyone in Cairo remains calm and allows the investigation to proceed as it should.

Also, we note the passing of Ulysses S. Grant Jr. in Marion, Illinois: MARION -- Ulysses S. 'Bud' Grant Jr., 72, of Marion, passed away at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Dec.16, 2005, at home. Mr. Grant was also a Veteran and we salute his service to our country, it appears from the obit he led a very interesting life. Godspeed Sir.


December 18, 2005
GFCI Included In Top Albums of 2005 by Blog In a nice development for the CD we appear on their year end best of list along with Sufjan Stevens, The White Stripes, Bright Eyes and Dolly Parton among others. We are perfectly happy to be associated in any way with those stellar acts.  See it here.

Our great thanks to Fred Friction for his hospitality Friday night at Fredricks Music Lounge in St. Louis. For anyone that has never been to Fredericks, run, don't walk to 4454 Chippewa Street and have a Stag at one of the best bars in America. It'll be your new living room, your Moe's to Homer Simpson.


December 15, 2005
Our thanks to Riverfront Times in St. Louis for giving our show at Frederick's Music Lounge Critics Pick status this week. It's a great publication we always eagerly seek out when anywhere near SL, see their write up here.


December 8, 2005
In the "can I use this in my bio forever category" music critic Eric Saeger calls me "the world's only remaining cool folkie" in Spotlight Magazine. Saeger was specifically referring to the song Far From the Tree on GFCI, which made his iPod Playist Top Ten Songs. This is particularly enjoyable because we're on list with The Ramones, KMFDM, George Thorogood and Public Enemy.


December 2, 2005
The Dutch radio documentary about GFCI called "Welcome to Cairo, Illinois" aired yesterday on VPRO 747, which is the Dutch National Broadcasting news channel. It is extremely well done and edited, and surprisingly easy to follow with both Dutch and English used throughout.

Streaming audio of the entire documentary is available here – you will need Real Player to hear the program. Real Player is available at this link if you need it.  Click on the speaker icon labeled uur3.

Our enormous thanks to Jan Donkers for visiting Cairo for the documentary and to VPRO for sending him and airing the broadcast. VPRO has been a big supporter of the CD.

November 30, 2005
Our apologies to everyone who listened to NPR's Morning Edition today to hear the story on GFCI, it was apparently bumped off the program schedule late yesterday evening. With various news events and cycles this is a common occurrence we're told.

However, two stories from NPR reporter Rachel Jones have been posted on the NPR website, including the deeply moving Reporter's Notebook about her physical and emotional journey back to Cairo, her home town, to do the story. Her words honor all 56 musicians who participated and co-producer Mike Lescelius from Misunderstudio, where the CD was primarily recorded.

Since it will be difficult to guarantee the air date the best thing is to check back at our News/Blog tab and we'll post a link to the archived story after it runs. Thanks to all for your interest in the story.  Rachel's stories are labeled as 12/2 on the NPR website so maybe we'll get lucky and hear the story on Friday.

November 29, 2005
The visit from renowned Dutch journalist Jan Donkers went splendidly last week and a good time as had by all. We spent two full days in Cairo speaking with Russell Ogg at the Cairo Customs House, Preston Ewing and several other residents around town.

The 40 minute documentary will air Thursday, December 1st at 3:00 p.m. US Central Time on VPRO's Radio 747 – we understand it will also be archived for future listening and we will post that link when we have one. Those wishing to hear the initial broadcast can click here for the VPRO 747 live stream. We are told that large potions of the documentary will be in English, with comments from me and Cairo residents translated into Dutch. Should be adventurous listing.

Our huge thanks to Jan and VPRO for traveling to the US for the story on GFCI!


November 23, 2005
After some months of delay due to hurricanes, indictments and other huge national stories our National Public Radio Morning Edition piece is officially set to be broadcast on Wednesday, November 30.

We taped the story in late August with NPR reporter Rachel Jones, who grew up in Cairo.  It is of course an honor to have a story about our CD on Morning Edition nationwide, but even more so to have gotten to know Rachel and her family in Cairo.  She is a tenacious, disciplined and extremely talented journalist who wrote her way out of Cairo at a very young age into a national media position.  We thank her for countless hours of work on this story and also the hospitality shown by her family in Cairo. 
You can find your local NPR station here, and it will be archived if you miss the broadcast.  We’re told NPR will feature the CD on their website as well, so we have much to be thankful for and look forward to listening to Rachel’s work.
November 14, 2005
In another remarkable development for GFCI famous Dutch journalist and author Jan Donkers will be traveling to Cobden & Cairo November 20th to tape a radio documentary on the CD and the city for VPRO Dutch National Broadcasting.
Donkers, described as the “John Peel of the Netherlands,” is the most famous music journalist in Holland, but has also done documentaries on numerous subjects throughout the world.  He is uniquely qualified to hit the music history angle on GFCI and bring it to a much wider European audience.
It’s an enormous honor to have person of this stature fly over from Europe to visit us and Cairo, and we’ll keep everyone posted on developments.
November 6, 2005
Out of all the writing around the world about GFCI we take the most pleasure from mentions by current and former Cairo residents.  In a recent Letter to the Editor in the Cairo Citizen newspaper, writer Lonnie Burris does a remarkable job, in humorous fashion, of capturing the current state of affairs in town, plus he mentions our CD in a positive way.  See it here.
October 29, 2005
Our thanks to Fred Friction for airing Cairo Blues on his great show, Fishin’ With Dynamite, on the St. Louis community radio station KDHX.  Fred’s show is the one of the best alt-country programs in the country, and he also owns Frederick’s Music Lounge, which we look forward to playing in December.
We were also honored recently by the placement of GFCI in the audio section of Eastern Illinois University’s Booth Library.  Our thanks for their purchase and making the CD available to students and staff.
October 24, 2005
Nice development this weekend - GFCI appears as a Pick Hit in Robert Christgau’s Consumer Guide for The Village Voice in New York.  Christgau, dean of American rock critics, has written for Rolling Stone, Cream, Esquire, Playboy, Spin, Harpers and other publications too numerous to mention, in addition to many of his own books on rock music.
Christgau is the first reviewer to describe GFCI as “program music,” normally associated with instrumental compositions where programs helped convey the story during live performance.  It’s an angle we hadn’t thought about, but interesting.
Christgau's Consumer Guide has quite a legacy and history, and pretty much set the standard for music ratings adopted by countless other critics.  Our thanks to him and Village Voice for the mention and nice rating.  See it here.
October 20, 2005
Really nice review this week in Luna Café based in Oslo, Norway.  Our great thanks to Anna Maria Stjärnell, a Sweden based writer, for mentioning GFCI and helping us in a new market.  See it here.
October 14, 2005
Nice review this week in the November issue of HARP magazine, a US based glossy you can actually buy at places like Barnes and Noble nationwide.  Thanks to music writer Robert Baird for putting us in.  See it here.
October 7, 2005
We’ll you gotta love this – on September 30 the song White Hats from GFCI was featured on VPRO Dutch National Broadcasting’s Gedraaide Muziek Overzicht van de in De Ochtenden Gedraaide Muziek, which loosely translated means:  "Overview of Twisted Music in the Morning."  Songs are played and then discussed at length; we were right up there with The Rough Guide to the Music of Balkan Gypsies and Tiken Jah Fakoly, a remarkable Ivory Coast based reggae artist.  Show list here.
October 5, 2005
Great mention this week by Jeff Daniel in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in his article about Illinois CDs with themes outside of Chicago, and GFCI gets paired up with Sufjan Steven’s remarkable 22 song epic Come On Feel the Illinoise.  The article appeared on page one of the Everyday section of the newspaper.
Some have been concerned Sufjan’s high profile project would overwhelm our Cairo CD, but my feeling has always been we’re the Yang to Stevens’ Ying – his being a more obscure, spiritual approach to the entire state and ours quite direct and historically accurate about one city.  Illinois is big enough for both kinds of music, and the CDs have been compared in several articles in both the US and Europe.  See the Post Dispatch article here
September 30, 2005
Cairo Blues performer Spencer Bohren safe in St. Louis.  Legendary New Orleans guitarist Spencer Bohren has landed in St. Louis after fleeing Hurricane Katrina with his family.  Spencer is known all over the world as a gifted guitarist and chronicler of American music.  He has a very important connection to GFCI in that he helped me dial in the proper words to Cairo Blues, having recorded it himself for his 1994 release called Vintage
Cairo Blues has been recorded by numerous blues artists, many of whom took liberties lyrically, and for GFCI I wanted to get as close as possible to Henry Spaulding’s original words.  Spaulding, a Future City resident before his death, recorded Cairo Blues for the Brunswick label in 1929 in Chicago, and to this day is it considered one of the pre-war acoustic blues classics.  Thanks Spencer, and we’re glad you’re safe and sound - we'll see you at the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival next weekend.  See the chronicle of his exodus from New Orleans here.
September 28, 2005
Nice review this week in US based High Bias, on of the few music reviews anywhere to actually mention the bass playing.  Ah, how the bassists of the world toil in obscurity.  Way to go do Dan FoxSee the review here.
September 25, 2005
Our compliments to the city of Cape Girardeau for another successful City of Roses Music Festival this weekend.  We had the pleasure of playing Friday on an outdoor stage and Saturday at Buckner Brewing Company with the great Jackhead, southern Illinois' most underrated band.  They sounded fabulous.  The Southeast Missourian newspaper wrote, "Cairo, Ill., band Stace England cleanly delivered southern and sixties-inspired rock," a description of our Friday performance we're certainly comfortable with, even though we're only actually from Cairo in spirit.
Now, I believe all events in life are totally random, with no one directing traffic, but interesting coincidences do occur.  Saturday I was watching the hilarious film Rolling Kansas on Comedy Central – I was checking my email too and had a message from the Honorable Jason Ringenberg who is on tour in Alaska.  As I’m typing a reply I hear Jason singing on TV – the Jason and the Scorchers song “Golden Ball and Chain” was used at the end of the film.  A delicious life moment – As Homer Simpson says, "Jesus, Allah, Buddha - I love you all!"
September 22, 2005
Nice review this week in Holland's Platomania - I think this is the first review anywhere to use the term Blaxploitation to describe the track Jesse's Comin' To Town.   Its vibe is surely an echo from one of my favorite 70's records ever, Curis Mayfield's Superfly, a remarkable lp and entertaining film.  Hey, we take use of the term has a high compliment.  See the review here.
September 21, 2005
Cape Girardeau's City of Roses Music Festival and GFCI get a nice mention this week in the St. Louis entertainment publication Playback, which states in their events calendar:  "This year, though, it will also feature jazz and classical guitar ensembles from Southeast Missouri State University, hip-hop (the Church Boys), alt-country (St. Louis’s own Melroys), bluegrass (the JJMC Folkgrass Project), the blues (Bruce Zimmerman and the Water Street Band), and such unclassifiable artists as Stace England, whose Greetings From Cairo, Illinois has thus far numbered among the most memorable discs of 2005."
We have both a Friday and Saturday show at this festival so please check our Shows tab for details and join us in downtown Cape this weekend.

Photo:  Bobby Mayberry

September 18, 2005

Smith and Groves Tavern RIP
Oh sweet Cairo, why must you break my heart over and over again . . .
Marking a true end of an era, Smith and Groves Tavern at the corner of 8th Street and Commercial Avenue has been ordered shuttered by the city (license revoked) due to lack of structural integrity – in other words the building could cave in on patrons, including me, at any moment.
The writing was on the deteriorating walls when proprietor Duke Washam (an extremely likeable and humorous bear of a man) died back in May, but I remained in a full state of denial up until this week.  Smith and Groves opened directly after Prohibition ended in 1933 and was one of last vestiges of old Cairo, a friendly watering hole in what’s left of the downtown business district.  It became my defacto office during most of the Cairo research, and although it served primarily white patrons I got the most unvarnished view of Cairo from people on all sides there.  Smith and Groves showed up on GFCI on two songs; its picture window referenced in Can’t We All Get Along and the “walking 8th street out of the bar” line on Far From the Tree.  They are also thanked in the liner notes.
Of course, taverns exist for the communal acts of drinking alcohol and discussion, and both took place in large quantities at Smith and Groves.  Everyone was friendly and welcoming on every occasion.
According to the Cairo Citizen newspaper, engineers say the north wall is listing badly, birds are in the second floor and rats and sewage are in the basement.  It's unlikely any money is available to save the structure and it will eventually collapse like all the others. 
Godspeed Duke and Smith and Groves – you both enriched my life in enumerable ways.
September 17, 2005
For a limited time Gnashville Sounds Records is donating all proceeds from four of its releases to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and I’m pleased to say two of my previous CDs are included in the program.  Six to seven dollars will be donated for each CD purchase.  Every little bit helps, plus buyers will get some great music from artists like LA’s Gutter Swans and Robert Thomas Kuhlmann.  Visit their site for more information here.
September 14, 2005
VPRO Dutch National Broadcasting recently added GFCI and the song White Hats to its featured Roots tracks list.  For some reason that particular track has gotten a lot of airplay in Holland.  Must be the Gutter Swans red hot backing.  See it here. 
September 6, 2005
Thanks to Bryan Hollerbach for his very nice review of GFCI in Playback, a St. Louis based entertainment magazine and website.  See it here.
We'd also like to thank Devin Miller for having us live on his wonderful Original Roots show on WSIU radio Saturday.  We, too, are glad for Fats Domino's rescue in New Orleans.  Very enjoyable and we hope to be back on again sometime. 
September 2, 2005
For those within earshot please tune in to a live radio performance of several songs from GFCI on The Original Roots Show with Devin Miller which will air on WSIU Public Radio 91.9 FM Carbondale, Illinois at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 3.  The show will also be broadcast on sister stations:
WUSI 90.3 Olney, Illinois
WVSI 88.9 Mt. Vernon, Illinois
August 29, 2005
Our thanks to Rich Milne for airing Grant Slept Here on Chicago’s fabulous station WXRT Sunday night.  Rich hosts the long running show he created, Local Anesthetic, and features up and coming Chicago bands as well as regional artists.  It’s easily the largest domestic market station we’ve been on to date. 
August 24, 2005
GFCI has showed up on several top ten lists in different countries but the most unusual is rock critic Eric Saeger’s listing in Virus Magazine this week.  Saeger does the infamous Random Stabbings column and reviewed GFCI two months ago, which appeared in numerous newspapers and music magazines in the US and overseas.  It’s a great column and always diverse and humorous - we never figured to be on a list with both Blue Oyster Cult and Kultur ShockSee it here.
Also, we may have hit Cairo’s radar screen a bit this week with both a letter to the editor (here) – in addition someone put Grant Slept Here on the Cairo welcome sign.  We hope these are indications that the town we love is embracing the project a little.
August 21, 2005
NPS Radio gives both Cairo Blues and The North Starts in Cairo more European spins this week which is greatly appreciated.  We’ve been on their playlists numerous times along with many current artists.  Playlist here.
Special thanks to Bill Page, News Director for KBOA AM-FM (and several other stations) down in Kennett, Missouri (formerly Sheryl Crow country) for airing Can’t We All Get Along and Far From the Tree on his 50,000 watt station reaching far and wide out of the bootheel.  Bill reports he received a lot of feedback on both songs.
Also, earlier in then month AP did a nice story on Russell Ogg, defacto dean of the fabulous Cairo Customs House museum.  Russell is a walking Cairo encyclopedia and if you’re lucky enough to get a tour from him you’re gonna leave thoroughly educated about Cairo.  The Customs House is the finest museum in the region – really remarkable.  Well worth a trip to Cairo just to see it.  Russell and Louise Ogg basically saved this spectacular building from the wrecking ball, then proceeded to help fill it with hundreds of Cairo treasures.  We are greatly in their debt.  See the article here.
August 18, 2005
We’ve been talking about a lot of overseas activity here and remiss in mentioning some local southern Illinois folks, so let’s get that rectified:  our thanks to Rockin Wil Franklin for featuring GFCI on his site cataloging southern Illinois music.  This is a necessary enterprise and a labor of love on Wil’s part; I’m always amazed at the depth of players here and that is reflected on GFCI.  Plus, it’s an honor to be on the same page as legends Tawl Paul and Mercy.  This is a work in progress but we all appreciate it.  See Wil’s site here.
Rosetta Stone Bookstore has also featured GFCI on their website and has been a fabulous retail outlet for us.  Many thanks to Jessica Becker, Jerry Bradley and all the folks at RS (website here).
Finally, there’s nothing more pleasant on planet earth than smoking a good cigar, drinking a glass of Alto Vineyards Chamborcin and reading Gary DeNeal’s Springhouse Magazine.  The most recent issue describes Charles Dickens time in Illinois, including his famous 1842 quote about Cairo, then little more than a swamp with a few cabins:
"The hateful Mississippi circling and eddying before it, and turning off upon its southern course a slimy monster hideous to behold; a hotbed of disease, an ugly sepulchre, a grave uncheered by any gleam of promise: a place without one single quality, in earth or air or water, to commend it, such is this dismal Cairo."
OK . . . Dickens was brilliant, yet unable to see the potential and promise of Cairo.  It could be argued that many people in the region, and Cairo itself, currently fall into the same category.  Will the Cairo story come full circle, matching Dickens’s description again, or change course toward renewal?  People are in control of that outcome, not God or fate.
August 16, 2005
Thanks to music critic Mark Guarino for mentioning GFCI in his Home Spun column last week in Chicagoland’s Daily Herald – this is the first Chicago area mention of the project.  Mark gets TONS of product because he’s in such a large market.  We appreciate being mentioned in the same column as Missy Elliot, Lucinda and Frank Black.  See Home Spun here.
August 15, 2005
Our thanks to Richard Marcus, a.k.a Gypsyman, for his very complete review of GFCI at is the place where the blogosphere seems to get it right – they recently hit the 10 million unique visitor mark.  Richard’s review promptly showed up in some interesting places, including Kuwait’s Arab Times and several Cairo (Egypt) wire services.  See the review here.
August 11, 2005
We’re honored this week by Theo Oldenburg and Johanna Bodde to have Prosperity Train played on their great Alt. County Cooking show for Radio Winschoten.  Theo and Johanna describe their show as “Real American Music That Don’t Suck” and after looking at their playlist this week and hearing the show we couldn’t agree more.  Great stuff, hear an archived show here.
August 7, 2005
GFCI Hits Americana & Roots Top 13 (Europe/Benelux).  In a great development for us Little Egyptians, GFCI hits #8 on the Americana & Roots Top 13 this month, which is based on sales and airplay.  See Chart Here.
This news is a testament to the power of the Cairo story, and our friend Robbie Klanderman’s belief in the CD and his efforts on its behalf.  Our enormous thanks to all of our friends across the pond and their continued support of the Cairo CD.
This continuing support, of course, includes Paul van Gelder, who last week aired Equal Opportunity Lynch Mob, one of the first euro airings we’re aware of.  It’s an honor to be on his show on multiple occasions.  Thanks Paul!
August 1, 2005
Our great thanks to Paul Harvey (not that Paul Harvey) for including GFCI in his top 20 for the week on Radio 4FM, a Belgium based show and another Euro radio station for us.  Paul’s been at this game a long time and commands much respect in the region.  Plus, at least this week, he places GFCI ahead of some pretty remarkable records.  See his Top Twenty here.
July 31, 2005
Cairo Blues gets another Euro airing by Johanna Bodde on her BluesTrain show for Radio Winschoten last Friday.  Great show and new station for us.  Thanks Johanna!
July 28, 2005
Our continuing thanks to Paul van Gelder who has been a big supporter of GFCI for airing another two tracks on his Netherlands based roots show.  It’s an honor to have our name on his playlists multiple times.  Thanks Paul!  VARA playist here.
July 27, 2005
The story on GFCI in Cape Girardeau’s Southeast Missourian newspaper generated a lot of response in Cairo and the surrounding area on some message boards, letters to the editor – I even received a call from one concerned resident and really enjoyed talking with that person.  One letter to the Cape paper articulates and demonstrates, I think,  what people outside the region think of the project and the town:
Cairo, Ill., has good opportunities
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

To the editor:

I just read the article regarding Stace England and Cairo, Ill. I am in total agreement with Mr. England that Cairo is a town rich in history -- history that should and must be used to revitalize that city. I drive through Cairo on nearly every trip I make to Missouri to visit my family. When I pass through Cairo, I marvel at the opportunities that present themselves. I hope everyone will get on board with Mr. England and put the past behind them and move forward. Cairo is a great city.

TIM BOLLINGER, Warner Robins, Ga.

Could not have said it better myself, thanks Tim.  Cairo is a great city, and will be even greater when everyone starts working together.
July 26, 2005
Cairo Blues gets one of the first Euro airings we’re aware of on Freddy Celis’ fabulous RootsTime broadcast in Belgium.  Freddy has been a strong supporter of the CD and corresponded with me numerous times.  See his playlist here.
July 24, 2005
Nice review this week in Belgium’s Control.Alt.Country – I love that name.  The translation from Flemish is extremely difficult in a few spots (for us non-flemish speakers), but the reviewer gave GFCI 3.5 stars out of 5.  3.5 stars works in any language.  Thanks guys!  See it here.
July 22, 2005
Our great thanks to reporter Matt Sanders from the Southeast Missourian newspaper in Cape Girardeau, Missouri for his excellent article today about GFCI and to their editorial staff for placing us on the front page.  It’s a terrific newspaper and an honor on both counts.
Matt actually traveled to Cairo to meet bass player Ron Johnson and myself to hit some of the historic sites.  That field work is clearly reflected in his piece, and we appreciate him coming down.  See the article here.
July 19, 2005
Great review this week in Belgium’s RootsTime – odd in that the reviewer apologizes for not writing about the CD immediately.  When someone gives us this kind of press guys, no apology necessary.  Thanks Freddie!  See it here.
July 17, 2005
Grant Slept Here?  We got one of our first spins in Belgium last week by Ray Peiters on Golden Flash Radio based in Leopoldsburg.  Ray’s been doing a roots show for 24 years and it’s a pleasure to be on his playlist.
Our enormous thanks to everyone who attended our Yellow Moon show last night, really a great turnout.  We apologize for the minor technical difficulties on the film but viewers did see it in its entirety after the fix.  It was a pleasure watching people being riveted by John Njagi’s wonderful film, Cairo, A City Caught Between the Tides.  We had fun playing and I hope everyone came away with a better sense of the Cairo story.  Great to see some folks from Cairo out too.
Mike and Donna, thanks for having us as always.  Great central air!
July 15, 2005
Our thanks to writer Jared DuBach for his article today in Pulse on GFCI and John Njagi’s film, Cairo, A City Caught Between the Tides.  Jared has been a real supporter of GFCI and even did a nice article on my previous CD.  He’s moving on to greener pastures and his observations and insights will be missed.  I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last from him.  See the article here.
Also, had a very enjoyable on air discussion Monday with Cuzin Eddie and Gary DeNeal on the Cuzin Eddie Radio Magazine, which airs M-F on WMCL 1060 AM from McLeansboro, Illinois.  In addition to GFCI we discussed zombie dogs (they’re real folks) and songwriter Hugh DeNeal’s (Woodbox Gang) Superman/Incredible Hulk impersonation in Sunday School class, where he had to be coaxed down from a table.  If Woodbox Gang doesn’t put that in their bio they’re crazy . . .
July 14, 2005
Nice review yesterday at KindaMuzik, another Netherlands based web site.  Our thanks to Maurice Dielemans for taking time to review GFCI.  KindaMuzik is deluged by product and it’s great to get a mention.  See the review here.
July 11, 2005
Prosperity Train Hits the AirwavesProperity Train from GFCI gets one of it's first Euro airings on Thomas Kaldijk's Blueprint show on Radio Parkstad - Soul, Blues and Ballads,Music With Heart and Soul.  I'm pretty sure Jason Ringenberg put the soul in that track; if anyone disagrees drop me a note . . .
Thomas has played multiple tracks from GFCI to a large audience and has been a great supporter of the CD.  Many thanks Thomas!  Playist Here.
July 8, 2005
One of the many, many great pleasures of the Cairo project has been hearing from people in different countries who have purchased the CD, but especially current and former Cairo residents who have shared their thoughts and observations on the project and their home town.  I received a note from a former resident recently and loved her description of Cairo, one of the most touching I’ve ever read:
“You did a great job of capturing the essence of my hometown--sad, misguided, fierce, delusional, dangerous, sweet. 
I am a 4th generation Cairoite.  Our great-grandfather was Cairo's first paid fire chief.  I was the only white female to go to the swimming pool when they tried to integrate it about 1963. 
I love Cairo--the tree-shaded brick streets, the view from the levees, the hickory smoke of barbeque, the Delta Queen's calliope, the taste of Chinese food at Harper's---but hate the unrelenting self-destructiveness of the ugly attitudes of so many.   Congratulations on capturing so much.”

An expatriate poet, no doubt.
July 7, 2005
On June 30 GFCI received an 8 out of 10 rating in the National Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, easily one of the largest print audiences we've reached so far with a daily readership of over 850,000 people.  Our tremendous thanks to Robbie Klanderman for his ongoing promotional work with the CD - nice guy, American roots music lover and a heck of a businessman.  See the review here.
Also, many thanks to Paul van Gelder for playing The North Starts in Cairo from GFCI on his Netherlands based show this week.  Paul has the premier roots program in this region of Europe and this is the second time he’s played a track from the CD.  It’s on honor to be on once, let alone twice - and on the same show as Johnny Cash.  His show is archived and you can listen hereSee Playlist.
July 6, 2005
Our thanks to Jos van den Boom for airing Buy My Votes from CFGI on his Cross Roads insurgent country show which is part of the Netherlands based Bergse Radio and Television network.  See Jos’s Playlist Here.

July 5, 2005
GFCI hits Dutch National Radio.  White Hats from GFCI was played last week on VPRO, which is Dutch National Broadcasting.  DJ Chris Kijne also picked the CD as the second most interesting new release of the week.  Click to see the Playlist and Chris’ review.
June 25, 2005
Cool review today at Altcountry.NL from The Netherlands.  It's extremely interesting to see how people in Europe are receiving the CD and the Cairo story.  Anytime we're mentioned in the same sentence as Ry Cooder it's a high honor.  See it here.
June 22, 2005
Our great thanks to Cairo resident Ron Newell for his recent review of GFCI on Yahoo – we’re particularly pleased about this one because Ron is a life long Cairo resident and in a unique position to evaluate its content.  Plus, he’s a heck of a writer!  See his review here.
June 21, 2005
My interview with the Italian publication Mescalina has been posted.   Our thanks to Christian Verzeletti for taking time for the interview and preparing with very insightful questions, really a pleasure to do.  See it here.
June 18, 2005
Grant Storms the German BorderRadio Parkstad in Veendam, The Netherlands aired Grant Slept Here from GFCI and reported the song to the Euro Americana chart.  Veendam is about 15 miles from Germany, so Jimmy Salatino’s master slide work and Charlie Morrill’s skins are careening into Deutschland.  Playlist Here.
June 17, 2005
White Hats Hits Dutch Airwaves.  The song White Hats from GFCI hit airwaves in Holland this week on Paul van Gelder’s Americana/Roots show, which reaches about 100,000 regular listeners on three stations - Lelystad, VARA and Radio 227.  Paul’s show is archived and you can listen here.  Any time we’re on the same playlist as Bobbie Gentry and Dwight Yoakam we say, Amen.
June 16, 2005
On Monday this week the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution to apologize for its failure to enact anti-lynching legislation. The resolution states that the Senate “expresses the deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets of the Senate to the descendants of victims of lynching, the ancestors of whom were deprived of life, human dignity and the constitutional protections accorded all citizens of the United States.”
Legitimate, intelligent debate exists on the need for federal hate crime laws, but historically lynching is entirely another matter.  Few were prosecuted under various state homicide statutes for lynching, so the feds clearly needed to be involved.  No one was prosecuted for the Will James/Henry Salzner lynching in Cairo, for example.
Thanks to Gary DeNeal and Cuzin’ Eddie on WMCL AM 1060 for playing Equal Opportunity Lynch Mob from GFCI to commemorate the Senate action.  One can debate whether these years-after-the-fact apologies mean anything – the African Americans I’ve spoken with this week say this one does, and that’s good enough for me.  If the two Senators from Alabama would have participated, even better . . .
June 12, 2005
Nice review today at the Italian blues site/publication Il Popolo del Blues – we would say Italy is rapidly becoming our favorite country, or L'Italia diventa rapidamente il nostro paese preferito.  See the review here.
Also, the new issue of Springhouse is out and it looks to be quite a read, just like every issue.  If you've not seen this publication do yourself a favor and check it out.  Visit here.
June 10, 2005
Our thanks to Ron Newell, President of the Cairo Association of Teachers, for posting information about GFCI on their website recently.  Ron has lived the full Cairo experience and is no doubt a wealth of information on the city.
Cairo teachers do a remarkable job in difficult circumstances, and they deserve much support and respect.  Thanks for the great work you all do.  See their website here.

June 7, 2005
Great review this week at the interesting Italian site Mescalina, which is linked to a variety of art publications around the world.  The author, Christian Verzeletti, is also setting up an interview.  Guess me, Bruce, Dane and Ron gotta brush up on our Italian, capisca?  See the review here.
June 5, 2005
Brush With Greatness.  Saw LA based comedian Bil Dwyer (Battle Bots, Ultimate Dodgeball, MTV, VH1) Friday night in St. Louis and he said, I am not making this up, “I love your CD.”
He did not, however, plug the CD on his new MTV show That 70’s House, because GFCI was released in 2005 – he did promise to mention it thirty years from now on MTV 8’s “That 2000 condo.”
June 2, 2005
It’s our pleasure to announce another special southern Illinois show on Saturday, July 16 at the Yellow Moon Café in Cobden.  We’re teaming up with Kenya native filmmaker John Njagi for a showing of his wonderful new film Cairo: A City Caught between the Tides.  We’ll conclude the evening with a live performance of Greetings From Cairo, Illinois.
I saw John’s film last month and was amazed at how well he captured the Cairo story.  It’s a great documentary, better than many I’ve seen on the Sundance Channel and other outlets.  John hopes to attend and answer questions.
Check this link for info on John’s film:$1270
June 1, 2005
Deep Throat is the FBI’s Mark Felt.  Yesterday we learned that Mark Felt, who has been on the short list for thirty years, is Deep Throat.  Favorite related quotes:
From convicted felon and ex-con Charles Colson:  Colson said he was stunned to learn that Felt was Deep Throat, saying he never suspected the FBI official because "he was a professional and that wasn't a professional way to behave."
From the Man himself and top henchman H.R. Haldeman:  “Is he Catholic?" Nixon asked. Told by Haldeman that Felt was Jewish, Nixon replied, "[Expletive], [the bureau] put a Jew in there?" To which Haldeman responded, "Well that could explain it."
From our favorite verbal bomb thrower Pat Buchanan:  Speaking Tuesday night on MSNBC's "Hardball," former Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan labeled Felt a "snake" and a "traitor" for having worked with reporters on stories that did severe damage to the administration.
Hardball host Chris Matthews neglected to follow up with the question, “which would be better, loyalty to your country or loyalty to a particular political party or administration?"  But of course, that would have been a liberal media trick question . . .
May 25, 2005
Great news this week for GFCI:  Amsterdam based Sonic Rendezvous and Klanderman Promotions is picking up the CD for distribution in Europe and will conduct an extensive Americana press and radio campaign. 
Both companies are well-respected, heavy hitters in the roots/Americana Euro market.  Our enormous thanks to Robbie Klanderman for his belief in the CD and his follow up, calls and correspondence to make it happen.  He is a very busy man.
CDs have shipped and we’ll keep you posted on developments as they occur. 
May 19, 2005
Nice review this week at the respected German site, Home of Rock, or Das Rockmagazin.  It meticulously lists all the bands/players, which I always like to see.  Thanks to Epi Schmidt for spending significant time with the CD and posting links to this site, Gnashville Sounds and our distributor.  See it here.
May 16, 2005
The local CD release show on May 13 was wonderful – a good time was had by all.  Our thanks to Sally at Hangar and Woodbox Gang who sounded absolutely fabulous.  The last couple of shows I’ve seen from them have been transcendent – this is a remarkable band that needs a breakout to much larger audiences.
Our live line up was great; Bruce Camden, Ron Johnson and Dane Spalt.  I hope we can convince Bruce to do some additional shows with us.  Great job guys.
CD sales were good that night and additional orders have rolled in from the press we received.  A big thanks to Rosetta Stone Bookstore in Carbondale which has become a great retail outlet for us and also Kim over at Plaza Records for selling the CD locally.
Finally, we would be greatly remiss for not thanking Gary DeNeal, who came out to Hangar, for discussing the show and CD on WMCL’s  (1060 am) Cuzin Eddie Show and for the Cuz himself for indulging Gary and playing some of the tracks.  It’s an honor to be featured on such a genuine and interesting program.  Our heartfelt thanks to both of these fine gentlemen.

May 12, 2005
Our huge thanks to Bryan Miller and Marleen Shepherd who did great, in-depth pieces on GFCI this week in Nightlife and the Southern’s Flipside publication respectively (click the name to read the articles).  Both Bryan and Marleen are fine writers and obviously spent a lot of time with the CD.  Our thanks also to editor Chris Wissmann (Nightlife) who gave us the cover of his esteemed publication.
We also owe great thanks to publisher/author/historian Gary DeNeal who has been a real champion for the CD, and has even discussed GFCI on WMCL AM 1060 on the famous Cuzin Eddie Show/Magazine.  WMCL is a classic, far-reaching AM station and about as anti Clear Channel as commercial radio can possibly be.  Tune in for a real treat in their multi-state listening area emanating from McLeansboro, Illinois (the signal is quite strong in Carbondale).   Gary publishes Springhouse Magazine, THE journal of southern Illinois – a subscription is a great gift to yourself or a loved one.  At very least whet your appetite by ordering the most recent issue – the Cairo stories therein are priceless. 
May 11, 2005
Our big thanks to WDBX 91.1 FM and Mike Lescelius for having us on for a live interview yesterday and playing some tracks from GFCI.  Quite an interesting discussion took place and I was joined by bass player Ron Johnson
Also of note, our interview on PBS station WSIU 91.9 FM and affiliated stations has been moved to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.  Please join us for the great Original Roots show with Devin Miller.
May 9, 2005
GFCI retains its #17 spot this week on Italy’s Roots Highway Euro Americana Playlist/Chart but Bruce Springsteen gets bumped from the #1 slot by Ryan Adams.  Talk amongst yourselves.


Went to the Kentucky Derby infield this weekend; Giacomo wins but no one could bring themselves to bet on a horse in any way associated with rock star Sting.  Everyone leaves poor. 
May 2, 2005
Greetings from Cairo, Illinois Hits #17 On Roots Highway Euro Americana Chart.
Italy's Roots Highway listed GFCI as #17 last week on its Americana Chart (see it here).  This is a nice start and we hope to launch a much broader European press and radio campaign in the months ahead.
April 27, 2005
Greetings from Cairo, Illinois Hits Holland and Italy.  Our advance man in Europe, the honorable Jason Ringenberg, reports that a mention/discussion ensued on the Dutch National Radio show, DESMET RADIO -  “they talked, completely 'uncoached' by me, about GREETINGS FROM CAIRO.”  So the word is out, at least a little, across the pond.
We also had a nice review at the great Italian site Roots Highway.  It's particularly cool because they mention most of the bands/players and give us 3.5 stars.  Click here to see the review in english.
We’ve had orders from various European countries plus press and radio requests, mostly, no doubt due to Jason's efforts.  Check out his tour schedule to see where he’s goin’ these days.  I get tired just looking at it.
April 25, 2005
We had a fabulous Saturday here recording a song for the RBF NFP Dome Restoration Project CD.  As posted earlier, Buckminster Fuller was one of the most remarkable minds of the last century and is primarily remembered by most as the inventor of the geodesic dome.  His original dome home in Carbondale has fallen into disrepair and a music CD is being produced by RBF NFP to raise funds to help with restoration. 
Dozens of local musicians are participating and Jason Ringenberg wrote and recorded a beautiful song.  All songs are being recorded in the dome itself, which is great fun and provides some interesting acoustics. 
I wrote a song called Can’t Stand in the Corner and was honored to be joined on the recording by drummer Dane Spalt from the Implications, mandolin player Sam Boss formerly of Broken Grass, singers Chris McKinley and Kathy Livingston (Kathy of For Healing Purposes Only) and bassist Stacey Camden from Big Muff.  What a line up!  It was an enormous pleasure watching these pros breathe life into the song, which I think turned out quite good.
RBF NFP is shooting for a fall release of this project and we’ll keep you posted as we hear of new developments.  My huge thanks to Board President Cornelius Crane, Mike Lescelius and others involved for their hospitality and hard work during the session.

April 22, 2005
Now for the R&D Project by Robert Thomas Kuhlmann and Don Jung, released January 19th by Gnashville Sounds.
I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly when I got this CD.  Kuhlmann’s strong songwriting reputation precedes him and he is well known in Los Angeles song writing circles and so on, does a lot of acoustic shows and has even done SXSW in Austin multiple times.  So there’s no doubt the guy’s got some chops and is recognized by his peers.
But wow!  This is a full electric configuration on many of the songs and they rock in all the right spots.  The R&D Project is a relationship song cycle and I can tell you from personal experience this genre is the toughest one to pull off successfully, and the R&D Project does just that.  I often compared writing and recording my last record, Lovey Dovey ALL The Time to climbing Everest (it was for me) – Bob and Don seem do it semi-effortlessly (I hate guys like that :).  It’s a much better, more consistent record than Lovey Dovey.  I give them both high props for attempting it and succeeding. 
Kuhlmann’s voice is a complex, rich instrument.  He’s sounds tough and road weary but utterly vulnerable, frequently at the same time.  This will probably sound sexist, but it’s a voice women will love, as they will love these songs and I mean that as a high compliment.  His voice can sound Springsteenish at times, but that isn’t quite it either – it’s uniquely Kuhlmann.
The band is great and the guitar player, Todd Robinson, is fantastic.  There’s extremely nice piano in just the right spots too.  My favorite songs are Forgot to Forget About You, Will You Still Change With Me, Goodbye Lover and Let the Girl Go.
The R&D Project could easily succeed on commercial radio and I hope it gets that chance.  Very enjoyable record, listen and buy here.
April 20, 2005
I’ve been able to spend some quality time with the last couple of Gnashville Sounds releases and will comment on one each day, starting with Foolishness Meets Vision from the Gutter Swans released late last year.
Foolishness Meets Vision is the rock and roll record I’ve been waiting for about the last fifteen years.  Yes, that’s  rock and roll.  This CD merges loud, brash guitar rock and literate song writing better than any I’ve ever heard.  Look, I love Velvet Revolver too, but Scott Weiland and Slash are never gonna write a song with the lyrical power of the title track Foolishness Meets Vision or Hearing Voices.  The Swans prove on virtually every song the two are not mutually exclusive. 
This isn’t Motley Crue rock thank god; it’s more like Ernest Hemmingway rock.  The Swans don’t dumb it down to fit rock clichés; other rock bands aren’t capable of smartening it up to this level.  But the songs aren’t so studious as to be tough listens; on the contrary, there are some great love/relationship songs too.  My favorites are FMV, I Really Couldn't Say, Hearing Voices and Way of the Train.
The CD grabs you by the throat from the first guitar cord – Foolishness Meets Vision is the best R&R song I’ve heard in the last ten years.  The last line of the chorus is brilliant:  “Find the place where foolishness meets vision.”  I’ll never write a line that good if I live to be a hundred.
Gnashville Sounds Records is trying to carve out an Adult Alternative fan base and this CD hits that in spades, but will appeal to younger listeners as well.  It’s a well-crafted, well-recorded CD that is fun to listen to and rocks.  Great guitar work throughout and excellent bass playing.  Click here to listen and purchase.
April 19, 2005
The official release date for Greetings From Cairo, Illinois is here (today).  So many people to thank; my Gnashville Sounds colleagues, over fifty musicians, Producer/Engineer extraordinaire Mike Lescelius, Jason Ringenberg and George Bradfute and numerous others.  The project feels much more like a collective creative endeavor than my own record, and I choose to view it so. 
April 18, 2005
I’m delighted to announce gifted guitarist Bruce Camden will be joining us for live performances including the Hangar CD release show on May 13th.  There are probably two or three guitarists in the entire region that can successfully pull off this material (slide playing, different tunings, finger picking, etc on both acoustic and electric) and Bruce is one of them.  I always wanted to find a way to work with Bruce, and Jimmy Salatino’s departure for Florida provided the kick in the pants for me to ask him. 
Bruce released a spectacular solo record two years ago called Nothing Gained, which Nightlife named as the best release of 2003 and rightfully so.  Come out to a show and watch this guy work; he’s worth the price of admission on his own.
April 14, 2005
Our Thanks to community radio station WDBX which recently aired Greetings From Cairo, Illinois in its entirety; they’ve been incredibly supportive of the CD, and we should be supportive of them.  WDBX has one of the best mixes of music anywhere in the world, and as my friend Craig said recently, “this station is a f***ing treasure.”  No truer words were ever spoken.  Listen on the web here.
April 6, 2005
Some of the first press reviews of the Cairo project are starting to roll in; we've had one from the British publication Americana UK and a great, very complete analysis in Alt.Culture.Guide.  This reviewer really spent some time with the record.  Click the underlined publication name to read the review.
March 31, 2005
My apologies to drummer Chad Schaffer who was inadvertently left out of the liner note credits on the songs Equal Opportunity Lynch Mob and the North Starts in Cairo.  Chad is a very talented drummer and did a great job on the recordings, and also graciously came in on a Sunday night.  Nice guy.  One file had his name and another didn’t – we got the wrong file to the manufacturer.  Chad, my great thanks and we’ll correct that mistake on future runs.  Look forward to working with you again.



March 30, 2005

Just returned from a week in Mexico with the family – a good time was had by all.  Went to the bullfights in Cancun under the theory that one should not pass judgment on something without seeing it.  I’m quite open-minded but my conclusion is that the animal is tortured for our “amusement,” and found it disconcerting. More bulls die (all of them) than matadors but this particular matador got nailed hard by the bull, staggered back in the ring to finish him off, then later left in an ambulance.  I guess there was some balance/justice in that.


CD orders from the UK are coming in no doubt from Jason Ringenberg’s efforts.  My thanks again to him for all he’s doing.  Pre-release sales are higher than normal.  Thanks to those in the UK that have ordered the CD and hope you enjoy.

Our thanks to Chris Wissmann for including us in his show on 3-19 and for the show photos; see the Photos page to take a look.  We had a great time.


March 16, 2005

My great thanks to Jason Ringenberg who has begun to help get the word out to the masses about the Cairo project.  He posted a nice overview today in the news section of his website - his perspective on the town of Cairo and project content is quite interesting.  Read it here.



March 10, 2005

Had a really nice article today in Pulse, the entertainment publication of the Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale's student newspaper.  My thanks to Jared DuBach, who has become a fine writer and gave a very good overview of the Cairo project.  Read it here.



March 9, 2005

Our live musician line up is official and it’s a great one.  The core group for the Cairo Shows will consist of guitar wizard Jimmy Salatino (what can’t this guy do) from Triple Dose, St. Stephens Blues and the Dragon Flies, Ron Johnson on bass from Cherry Stoners and Dane Spalt on drums from The Implications.  We’ve rehearsed and it felt great.  By the way, go out and by the new Triple Dose record immediately, it’s great.  It’s a high honor to get to play with these guys.  We’ll float in other players depending on the particular night and venue. 


Also, pre-release copies are now available at the Listen/Buy link.



March 8, 2005

For those of you around the country (or world for that matter) looking for an authentic literary taste of southern Illinois please check out Spring House Magazine, published by Gary DeNeal.  DeNeal is a wonderful author and wrote the definitive Charlie Birger story, A Knight of Another Sort.  It’s my favorite book about the region and I re-read it about once a year.  Gary’s been doing Springhouse for a long time and it’s a marvelous, eclectic stew of regional homespun stories and excellent writing.  Believe me, I’m totally down with his Don Quixote analogy.  My understanding is the next issue will feature many Cairo related stories.  Great stuff and an institution.  Visit here.



March 7, 2005

Cairo CDs are manufactured and have been sent out to review land and distributors.  Do to strong interest in many quarters we’re going to open up some pre-official release online sales from this site.  Please check the listen/buy link if you’d like a copy before 4/19.  Many thanks to all of you who have made contact asking about how to get the record in the last few weeks!



February 22, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson is dead.  Shot himself in the head; checked out.  Much debate about his best piece of writing – for me it's his Richard Nixon obituary in Rolling Stone.   



January 30, 2005

We had an incredible weekend of free music here in the unknown music capitol of world, southern Illinois.  First Nathan Clark George played the Liberty Theatre in Murphysboro Friday in support of his new release, Slam the Door.  I have never seen a more professional, quality show anywhere.  The talent level was amazing; Mark Stoffel and Wil Maring from Shady Mix, guitarist Bill Carter and a cast of many others that included cello and pedal steel.  This was a level of show you’d see in New York or Nashville, quite remarkable.


Saturday Woodbox Gang played the Yellow Moon in Cobden and in these intimate confines is where the Gang really shines.  These songs are simply astonishing.  When I hear a line like, “women with their bruises polish the weapon that he uses” from The Wrong Side of Town (and pick my jaw off the floor) I realize this is a remarkable band.  Every time I see another glowing review of Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst I want to send them a Woodbox Gang CD.  With all due respect, Master Oberst does not touch Hugh DeNeal’s level of writing.  Hopefully the world will learn that one of these days.



January 25, 2005
Please check out Gnashville Sounds label mate Robert Thomas Kulmann's new record, the R&D Project with Don Jung, which is out today.  This is really a quality record in all kinds of ways.  The songs are good, it's well recorded and it rocks.  I like the idea of two good songwriters getting together and it works great on this project.  Value priced too -
click here to listen.



January 24, 2005

For those in the southern Illinois region please get out and see Nathan Clark George on Friday, January 28th at the Liberty Theatre in Murphysboro.  This show has special event written all over it – first it’s a CD release show for his new record, Slam the Door.  He’ll be playing with Mark Stoffel and Wil Maring from Shady Mix who make enormous contributions to the record.  Plus, it’s free!  Just a tip jar.  Show will begin at 7:30.



January 15, 2005

Had a nice visit today in Cairo with Preston Ewing who was head of the NAACP during the civil rights struggles in the late 60's and early 70's.  Preston is a photographer and historian and was kind enough to let us use a photo of one of the helmets worn by the White Hats vigilante group during the period.  The White Hats track on the Cairo CD is peformed by the popular Los Angeles based rock band Gutter Swans, who nail the southern, swampy feel needed for the song.  Julie Sommer and I provide the vocals.


The White Hats, or Committee of Ten Million, drilled like amateur militia and claimed about 500 members.  I always viewed these guys as somewhat cartoonish, but they were no laughing matter to African Americans during the period.  The White Hats and the later offshoot United Citizens for Community Action (UCCA) affiliated with White Citizens Councils in the south and shared their motto, "States Rights, Racial Integrity," making a strange situation completely surreal.  Click here to see the White Hat photo.

January 7, 2005
Speaking of Mr. Ringenberg, he was nice enough to mention me in an interview with the Spanish publication
Todas las Novedades and put me in some pretty good company.  "Lets see, these days I am listening to The Legendary Shackshakers, The Woodbox Gang, Gillian Welch, Stacy Earle, Slobberbone, Jim Roll, Kristi Rose/Fats Kaplin, Spurs for Jesus,  Stace England, The Wildhearts from England, Disciples of Loud, The Seatsniffers from Belgium, Sunshine Delay from Scotland,and my chickens [they can all cluck in key]."

January 2, 2005

Had a real treat last week.  Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers fame was in town to record a song about R. Buckminster Fuller in the Carbondale geodesic dome home Fuller lived in during his time at Southern Illinois University.  So, two famous Carbondale songs metaphorically crossed paths and it was a memorable experience.


Buckminster Fuller was one of the most remarkable minds of the last century and is primarily remembered by most as the inventor of the geodesic dome.  His home in Carbondale has fallen into disrepair and a music CD is being produced by RBF NFP to raise funds to help with restoration.  Jason wrote a beautiful song and was accompanied by Hugh DeNeal and Alex Kirt from Woodbox Gang.  I got to sing harmony on the track and a good time was had by all.  No release date set but we’ll keep you posted.  Both Woodbox Gang and me are writing our own songs for the project and plan to record them in the dome as well.  See more info on the project here.