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Chicago Roots Collective does more with more

That's some quality graphic design, and the music is even better.
That's some quality graphic design, and the music is even better.

The Chicago Roots Collective is a collaboration of musicians working together to get their music heard. Or so says their mission statement. For proof, I went and saw a few shows put on by the CRC, talked to members of the bands, and got a steady dose of rock for my roll-itosis (which has cleared up wonderfully, thank you).

The name Chicago Roots Collective calls to mind roots music, but that is not entirely the case. Danny Surico of The Future Laureates put it this way: "One of the great things about the CRC is that we’re not going for one specific sound. The idea is to have genres that are compatible—Americana, folk, rock, pop, reggae—but also unique. I think this allows our fans to be exposed to new music that feels familiar."

That's getting ahead of the game, though. The Collective needed a genesis, a springboard of sorts. Enter last year's Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival. Tate Troelstrup of How Far to Austin recalls the painless birth of the CRC: "I was talking with Mike Raspatello, co-founder of the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival, about how I wanted to get a group of bands together basically to help one another out and start a community within a community. Mike had already been approached by Donnie Biggins of The Shams Band, and Danny Surico of The Future Laureates about something similar, so Mike put us together in a corner bar in Ukranian Village and the CRC was born."

Now, as a man born in a bar some twenty-odd years ago, I always put a lot of faith in anything that gets its beginning over beers in a bar. But enough about me, what about the community at large? How have the venues and fans been responding? Biggins, a mustached man after my own heart, says, "Everyone that I share a beer with and shoot the [expletive] about music with wants to party and get involved with the CRC. They know that if their band gets involved they are going to play on a great bill, with an excited crowd and be a part of a great movement in Chicago."

Sounds pretty serious. Seriously fun! No, seriously, these guys do a great job of having fun together at their shows while making sure the audience is along for the ride. And there is sure to be more to come.

Tom Fort of Cobalt & The Hired Guns has some simple-yet-lofty, ambitious-and-sensible goals: "I'm looking forward to sitting down with some of these guys and working on songwriting. Just sharing musical ideas and helping to push each other to become better musicians, composers and lyricists. 'Cause if the music isn't good...well then it's just a bunch of folks sitting around drinking beers calling a pipe dreams a plan, isn't it?"

Like just about every great rhetorical question, that one answers itself, and like any hard working band (or collective of bands), these guys have a few shows coming up that are well worth your time and eardrums:


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