December 28, 2005
Really nice review this week in
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
Critics.org. 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
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
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
December 2, 2005
The Dutch radio documentary about GFCI called
"Welcome to Cairo, Illinois" aired yesterday
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
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.
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
Misunderstudio, where the CD was primarily
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Fox! See 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
September 14, 2005
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
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
Shock. See 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.
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 Rockinwil.com 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.
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.
Our thanks to Richard Marcus, a.k.a Gypsyman, for his very complete review
of GFCI at blogcritics.org. Blogcritics.org 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.
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
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 Airwaves. Properity 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,
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.
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 here. See Playlist.
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 Border. Radio
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.