Let’s talk Sat. March 24.

This Saturday March 24 we’ll be playing at my favorite dive bar on the Southside, Bernice’s Tavern.

We lost Bernice last year but her boys still keep the coolers running and the mix of locals and kool kids keep coming in. Settle in at this joint for a couple a pops and you’ll see why this little bar is consistently ranked as one of the best dive’s in the city. The routine at B’s? Stingo on Wednesday, Open Mic on Thursday, Mike’s night on Friday and Bands on Saturday leaves Sunday available for Steve’s crazy Bloody Marys. How do I know all this? Well, you can just say that a friend of mine told me.

We will get started at 9:30 with a mini solo set from myself, Jimbo Delta and BC Carter. Then a full set with the band.

See you out there.

Let’s talk about Saturday March 10th.

This Saturday March 10th I’ll be starting my Second Saturday Residency at Blue Island Beer Company. Music gets started promptly at 7pm and will be over at 10pm. Nice right. Seems so hard these days to get out to late shows. Chicago is a good music town but I feel like so many venues would have better success and draw if they’d start their shows earlier. What music loving adult with children can see a band at midnight?

They do it right at BIBCo. Shows start early and they close down around 10pm on most nights.

Earlier in the afternooon they are celebrating St. Variant Day by taping some variants of their favorite relasees!๐Ÿ˜‹ BA Underground Communique w/ Coconut, ๐Ÿ˜‹BA Underground Communique w/ Vanilla, ๐Ÿ˜‹BA Underground Communique w/ Raspberries, ๐Ÿ˜‹ Jerk Store Cream Soda Stout w/ Peanut Butter๐Ÿ˜‹BA Lost Weekend Rye Barleywine, Jerk Store barrel. So if you are a beer nerd, you may want to check that out. I cannot gaurentee there will be any left at 6pm but I am confident that they will have a fine brew that you can enjoy.

If you are looking for a bite before the show might I recommend Giussppe’s Trattoria. A no frills family joint that’s been serving up some pretty kick ass Italian fare at a very good price for over forty years. You may want to phone ahead for seats or you can always get a pie to go and bring it around the corner to the brewery. There is also good Mexican and Cajun food in walking distance.

Let’s talk music!

As you know I am putting together a new long term band to work with. This band will be performing for the first time together and playing the last set of the night. Featuring Jimbo Delta on slide guitar, Michael Dumont on bass and Jonny Watts on drums. Mike and Jon are the rythme section of my favorite Southside band The Juke Shakers.

Ok back to it….

I will be doing a little solo set at 7pm that will be followed by Americana Slide Master Jimbo Delta. 7:30-8:00.

Following up Jim will be a white hot band that just released their second record last month. Erin Edmister and Three Tons. 8:00-8:45. This is straight up high Energy Southern Style Rock. This guy sings his ass off and has a Texas guitar player Killian Sweeney filling in the sound with twangy, drippy lead work. I could watch Killian play guitar all day. My new lineup will then play the last set of the night.

The show is free, starts promptly at 7pm. A tip jar will be present and merch available for purchase.

See you out there?

Let’s Talk Friday March 2nd

I mentioned in my first post that I started taking new show dates and was going to build a brand new, long-term band to work with. The time has come to let you know about one of the players that I am really excited to be working with. Before I do let’s first talk in specifics about the show lineup for this Friday March 2nd at The Law Office Pub and Music Hall in Yorkville Il.

Back before the Holidays I hosted a house concert for the hardest working man in Americana music, Nick Dittmeier. Nick and his band are at this point a pure DIY outfit. They have been for a number of years now. Doing it the hard way with no booking agent or publicist or label support. He and his bandmates play music on the road for a living and are responsible for everything that comes with it. Last year they played 126 shows. Take a moment and listen to Nick Dittmeier and his sideman-guitar player Jason Payton performing to a sit down crowd at our house concert.

If you liked live music and lived in Bridgeport in the late 90s and early 2000’s you will probably be familiar with an artist named Jimbo Delta. He played all the joints. Buddy’s, Harlem Ave, and about another 140 dates in 1999. Did I forget to mention a day job? Yea and a day job at the same time. DIY for sure. I’ve always considered him an Americana Slide Master. He has released some very nice records. I guess you should take a minute and give a listen his excellent 2008 album Beginning Without Endings in its entirety.

Now that you’ve heard Jim can you understand my excitement! If I was good enough I’d be backing him on chunky acoustic rhythm guitar. I somehow have a sneaking suspicion that some of that may be happening in the future. Friday we will be playing as a two piece.

I have not heard Eric Swartz in person but have listened to some of his extensive catalog on Bandcamp. He will bring his songwriting perspective to the stage at 8pm.

Maybe we’ll see you out there?

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Set Times

8:00 pm – Eric Peter Swartz

8:45 pm – Joe Rian with Jimbo Delta

9:00 pm – Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters


A few months back I was bitching about how shitty Chicago was for songwriters. Like where are they? Where are the showcases and what’s the deal. Seems like everything in this town is a cover band. or the songwriting or writers I run into are so FOLKY that even I don’t wanna hang around and listen. Hell I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great players and writers here but where are all the venues that put on the songwriter shows? Lagunitas is doing a thing now which is great to see. I know Fitzgeralds has some regular things happening, but what about the small clubs and local bars? Seems like all you ever find are cover bands or tribute bands, or bad blues bands. ughhh. Where are the listeners and the listening rooms? I was about three beers in when a songwriting friend of mine Richard Pryzdia mentioned that he had been heading to Michigan to this little theater called the Acorn to do a songwriter open mic thing they have monthly. He said to call ahead to get on the list since it sometimes is filled months in advance.

Hummm…I said shit, I should check that out some time.
The next day in the ol’ cube farm I thought “Hey, you should email the Acorn Theatre and see if you can get on the list”. I’ll continue this story in the coming days and tell you more about the scene up there and how I met the next big thing…..(Lil’ Meg Robinson). For now here are the two songs I played. First time out publicly with “Start All Over Again” and a decent version of Baltimore.


1910487_10152498238236325_5756395526353688641_nI am happy to announce that I am putting a band together and picking up dates again.

Since the kids were born I have been for the most part playing only solo shows. after playing the Blue Island Beer Co. with the Bertoletti Family Band’s rhythm section (sister-in-law Susan Bertoletti on drums and Greg “the Eggman” Marvola on base) I realized just how much I miss having a backing band. Having been offered Saturday night residency gig there starting in March also made me realize that it’s time to get a band back together.

Though my wonderful wife Sheila will not (at least at this point) be a regular member like she was in the days of our Additives band; she did say that she would like to join the band on some accordion from time to time. I imagine and hope as the kids get a bit older we’ll see her again killing the piano and organ like she is known to do.

I have decided to seek new players that I have not worked with in the past. The past players involved with The Additives are great people and wonderful players. I decided to find the right players for the type of things I’m writing now.ย  Since recording the last two records with Bloomington Indiana’s 220 Breakers as the backing band, it’s been hard to find that type sound back here in Chicago.

I’ll announce the new lineup soon, but for now know that I am putting together some real special pieces together for this one. Yes I have some new songs and yes there will be another record recorded this year. I will also be releasing the six song EP we tracked this time last year with the 220 Breakers.

I don’t know what the name of the band will be. It may be Joe Rian’s Additives or The Additives, or Joe Rian’s Band of fartblossums… hell at this point I don’t know.ย  The important thing is that in the next month or so you’ll see me with a new cast of characters making (not playing) music. See you out there.

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