Chris Archibald - guitar, keys, banjo, vocals, Martin Hoeger - bass, backing vocals, Dru Lee - guitar, keys, backing vocals, JohnPaul Kuyper - drums
Riding on a tractor of six strings, banjo samples and an extended metaphor comes Illinois, a band from Bucks County, Pennsylvania whose music conveys the Hopper/Rockwell-esque imagery of their home, a timeless place of raw emotion, where little league children still ride their bicycles in the street and the first girl you kissed is now your wife.
The true history of Illinois is a mystery. What historians have pieced together is that originally, Chris “Arch” Archibald began recording ideas
so he wouldn't forget them and that those ideas became songs.
Illinoislore has it that Arch had been playing in bands with bass player Martin Hoeger for some time, but the two had never put together the ideal group to play Arch’s one hundred-plus song catalog. Thus, Arch and Martin developed a plan (one which would turn out to be quite successful) to pry long time friend (and drummer) JP Kuyper away from his top secret job with the Bolivian government using only a tuna fish sandwich and a soft pretzel.
It turned out that all Arch and Martin needed was the tuna fish sandwich. Fortuitously, one week later, Arch dropped cheez whiz onto that very same unused soft pretzel. The meeting of the cheez whiz and the soft pretzel caused a delicious aroma to waft forth from the newly created subatomic structure. Enigmatic guitarist Dru Lee did what any of us with a heightened olfactory system would do–he followed his nose. Although over a thousand miles away, Arch, Martin, JP and Dru found themselves in Illinois.
Music snobs who care, have put the group in hallowed company. "The lyrical depth of the Kinks sauteed with the musical overtones of the Flaming Lips and John Spencer Blues Explosion reduction!" gushed one. "Sorry, its more Beta Band meets GBV meets Ralph Stanley" countered another. Regardless of your leanings, and whether you’re happy, mellow, drunk or confused, Illinois plays beautiful music that makes old loves new and the green grass grow. See you on the stereo.
Lisa O'Hara | High Road Touring