Urbana Sweetcorn Festival: Folk & Roots Stage

Friday, August 23
5:00 – 5:30 – Paul Kotheimer
5:45 – 6:30 – Emily Anne 
6:45 – 7:45 – Jordan Kaye & the Jordanaires 
8:15 – 9:15 – Chachi & the Bandidos
9:45 – 10:45 – Blues Deacons

Saturday, August 24
8:30 – 9:30 – Jean Rene Balekita and Bomoyi
10:00 – 11:15 – Caleb Cook Band 

Paul Kotheimer is a songwriter, activist, recording artist, and performer of DiY/acoustic, indie rock, and political folk music, performing since the late 1980’s, based in Urbana, Illinois. He is also the founder of DiY/folk & acoustic recording company – www.handmaderecords.com. Paul’s songs are characterized by intricate, poetically expressive lyrics. Many of his political folk songs adapt melodies traditional to American folk and protest music, adding new lyrics. Part of the vibrant Urbana music scene, Paul is one of the best songwriters in the area. Along with a repertoire of witty and insightful originals, Paul performs classic treasures such as Lydia the Tattooed Lady, made famous by Groucho Marx.

Emily Anne is a local musician (guitar, piano, accordion) and singer/songwriter. She sings with the voice of an angel and the grit of a country girl. Her wide variety of folk originals and country covers will rouse even the most ardent of critics for a boot-stompin’ drinking song or a heart-breaking country waltz. Emily is the co-host of the weekly Urbana Hootenanny, held every Monday night at the Rose Bowl. For this performance, Emily will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Cody Jensen.

Jordan Kaye and the Jordanaires are led by Jordan Kaye. This band offers up a variety of folk music, country songs, jazz standards, western swing and more. One of the best guitar players around, Jordan has been living in Nashville, TN for the last few years. He’s immersed himself into the Nashville music scene and his guitar playing continues to evolve. Jordan still maintains a regular series of gigs in the C-U area, including his longtime “first Friday” gig at the Iron Post. Fronting the Prairie Dogs for many years, Jordan also performed with the traditional jazz band Medicare 7, 8 or 9. Jordan’s interest in music and songs runs wide and deep, from bluegrass to jazz, from country blues to western swing and more. He knows hundreds of jokes, thousands of songs and twice as many guitar chords,

Chachi and the Bandidos, fronted by Marten “Chachi” Stromberg and featuring Everett Elam on guitar, plays country classics and b-sides, RnB hits and deep cuts, soul and rock n’ roll; everything from Willie Nelson to Chuck Berry to Marvin Gaye.

The Blues Deacons have been a mainstay of the downstate Illinois blues scene since 1990. Led by Billy Galt (guitar/vocals), the band also includes Andy Burnett on drums and Beau “Blind Dog” Renshaw on bass. Together, these three veterans form a tight blues machine while retaining a raw, soulful edge. The Deacons have appeared at the House of Blues tent at the Illinois State Fair and they have played many festivals (including the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival), street fairs, small town taverns and roadhouses throughout Illinois. With a huge catalog of material including originals, lesser-known covers, well known classics and modern blues hits, the Deacons serve up a live show that is soulful, bluesy, and a lot of fun.

Jean Rene Balekita & Bomoyi Congolese sing in English, French, Lingala, Kikongo and Tshiluba. Their music is tinged with Gospel and Jazz, all played with solid and infectious African rhythms. The group has toured in Africa, Europe and the United States and now live in Urbana. Jean Rene teaches guitar lessons at the Community Center for the Arts in Urbana. This group performed on the Folk and Roots Stage last year and we welcome their return.

Caleb Cook Band, a stalwart of the local country music scene, is dedicated to providing a good time through the preservation of Classic Country, Roots and Old Time music. Studying the music of the greats such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Buck Owens, the Caleb Cook Band draws inspiration while composing music in the same timeless style.