Just Posted Episode 3 – The Chicago Songwriter Podcast – Michael McVady

My little interview with Chicago Singer – Songwriter Michael McVady. Hope you enjoy. Smooth, contemporary songwriting with the hint of a good 70’s cognac.

We talk about songs, recording on the the lake Michigan beaches and open fire hydrants in the hot Chicago Summer.

Our next live taping will be Wed. September 18th at Blue Island Beer Company 6-9pm. I will be interviewing Becky Levi Andy Seagram and Erin Edmister. Free, Kids Ok.



Hi All,

Here is a quick rundown about the show Saturday Dec 1. If you have children this may be a win win situation with a good ol’ music show and bbq at the end. Looks like there is a tree lighting and santa thing happening before hand a few blocks away. There will be BBQ being served at the Blue Island Beer Company taproom. Come grab some BBQ from Blue Island BBQ, have a Beer and listen to some tunes. This is a full band show. Playing 7pm to 10pm. No guarantees that Jesus will show for this one but I did get a picture of the last time we hang out. He usually goes back to Baby Jesus mode after Halloween.

If you are interested in the parade and santa stuff here is the info from the City’s website: “Plans are underway for a fun-filled, family friendly day to kick off the Holiday Season. The highlight of the day will be the Blue Island Light Parade that will take place on Saturday, December 1st at 5:30 pm. It will begin at Western Ave. and Prairie, go south to New Street.

Join Mayor Vargas at MetroSouth Park following the Parade to light the Christmas Trees in the park. Then bring the kids over to the Santa House at High and Western to take their picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus, bring your phone or camera (from 6:30 pm until 9 pm).

Earlier in the day, the Blue Island Public Library will be showing Christmas movies from 1 pm to 4 pm. There will also be a Kringle Mart under the tents in the parking lot located at High and Western from 2 pm to 9 pm. Free train rides, Kiddie Carousel and Ferris Wheel rides are also available for the kids from 2 pm to 6 pm while you shop!

Your can do a little Christmas shopping or get something to eat at the annual Business Open Houses up and down Western Ave and Olde Western Ave. There will also be free horse-drawn wagon rides down Greenwood from 6:30 pm to 9 pm. Pick up is by the Kringle Mart at High and Western. The Blue Island Public Library will have their annual Open House, lighting their tree and serving refreshments following the parade as well.”

Dirt Farmer

This past week I found myself attending a funeral of a friend that had committed suicide. Gut wrenching shock with 100’s in attendance. A definite crying out loud in your car on the way to work kind of moment. Less than a week later I find myself at a show playing this song called Dirt Farmer. A dark story of a Nebraska farmer in the dust bowl era that takes his life. I’m honestly struggling to stay focused with this song. Actually I may have to put this song down for a while, or for good, as I find it very hard to get through since his death.

Suicide is a very real problem. This is my third friend that has committed suicide since 2009. You can’t tell someone depressed to pull up their bootstraps but you can listen and try to have a serious conversation. Depression is a very serious illness and there is help out there. It starts with you – listening with empathy- and trying to find help. If you know of someone that is in the darkness, do not delay. Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline to learn more about what YOU can do.


Just a quick reminder that we are playing Uncommon Ground on Devon tonight at 7pm sharp, opening for the Iowa songwriting duo Society of Broken Souls. The Reservations are doing well but could always use a few more friendly faces. They just released a new record which will be show casing tonight. You can listen to it below. This is a listening room show, which in my opinion are the BEST!

$12 Reservations $15 Door



OR CALL Edgewater (773) 465-9801 to request Listening Room Reservation

About the Uncommon Ground Show Friday May 18

I know some of you have already bought tickets for this listening room performance on Friday at Uncommon Ground. I regret to inform you that I will not be able to perform Friday but my partner Jimbo Delta ( Jim Parks) is going to fill in the slot with his material …which is outstanding… He truly is a musical hero of mine and I am always thrilled to listen to him. A mid-westerner’s Sonny Landreth but with better lyrics and more distinct sound IMO.

My last living Uncle, George Logan of Rock Falls Illinois passed away on Monday and services are being held today Thursday the 17, May and tomorrow Friday 18th, May.ย  I do not think I will be in the right mindset to sing and play after seeing him off. We are going to spend a little time in Rock Falls visiting family and showing off the kids. The cycle of life is brutal but adoring. Whenever a loved one passes it seems like the little ones help you keep it all in perspective. The next few days will be all about family.

Please see the show, have a drink. You will not be disappointed by any of the performances.



I’ve been getting this question a lot lately so I asked Management.

YES – you can bring your kid to the show! Totally acceptable.
It is not a playground, it is a tap-room so you’ll want to keep a leash on them.
Kids cannot sit at the bar but are totally welcome to sit and watch the show quietly

with their parent or guardian.
The owners said that this rule is only for the Joe Rian Residency shows.

Pretty Cool Huh. So it’s official, you can bring your kids to a free concert,
have a couple of pints of good beer and have them back home and in bed by 10pm.

We have a new drummer joining us this Saturday. Luke Angel is a 30-year-old
professional drummer and teacher. I believe he graduated from the North Texas State’s
music program. He is truly a listening drummer with a jazz background. We are thrilled
that he is joining us. At some point this Grifter lineup will solidify.

It’s great to have the residency gig. It affords us time to meld as a group
in a live performance environment. Soon we will be tracking an EP since the new material is flowing.

Here are the set times:

Promptly @ 6:30pm – 7:15
Joe Rian’s Grifters

Special Guest 7:30 – 8:00 /15
This week’s special guest is Danny Glikis.
He is the leader of my favorite South side band The Juke Shakers.
Sings like a bird and can certainly play a guitar. Juke Shakers FB page

8:30 – 9:15
Joe Rian’s Grifters
This set will be mainly new material written since the last
residency show and a couple old Additives songs.

See you out there?

1990 Rock Falls, Illinois

In 1989 I was living in Mesa Arizona and won a guitar on a radio contest. I’ll tell you all about that entire story in some other post. The main point is that I won a guitar and I ended up in Rock Falls, Illinois after my mother’s death.

That was a pretty shitty Christmas dinner since she fell into a coma after we finished eating. I guess I could say it was a really good dinner but dessert really sucked. In the shock I moved back to be with my dad and help out in the machine shop.

That guitar you ask? Yea, it was really awesome. American Stratocaster signed by Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I think they gave out 20 of these signed models in support of a tour they did together. The guitar itself must have been a B model because I never, ever got the low E string to intonate correctly.

My playing you ask? Again awesome. I had learned “Smoke on the Water”, some of “Suffragette City” and that one part at the beginning of “Stairway to Heaven”. Believe me when I tell you, my dad was a saint for listening to that dribble being emitted from downstairs every night.

Guitar Magazine was always featuring dudes with big hair from some shitty band that could out shred the next shitty metal band. Every lesson was some fucking shredding technique.

In 1990 there were plenty of hair bands and even a little spandex here and there. Florescent colors were all the rage. Van Halen broke up and The Cars had quit putting out records. Even Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson were quiet. Locally it was all hair and all shred. One trick poney.

When I figured out that working in Dad’s machine shop was too damn boring I got myself enrolled in the community college (again). You see at this point I had already flunked out of Saint Ambrose. Well technically I hadn’t flunked out. Technically I was unable to play football with only 13 credit hours after a year. At least I had a B average.

I moved to Lasalle Peru, IL to try to get my shit together at another school. I guess the only problem was school. I didn’t like it and at this point was just building a bunch of debt.

I moved to Arizona, got married for a couple years, worked as a telemarketer, a salesman and a hot air ballon chaser. I finally found myself working for minimum wage at Handy and Harmon a precious metals refinery in Phoenix Arizona.

They say it’s a dry heat but let me tell you something. I would loose 6 lbs of water weight a day working in that shithole. In the dead of summer when it was 120 dgrees outside I would be standing in front of a furnace pouring liquid gold and silver dressed in a flame retardant suit. It was hot as fuck.

I’m sure to have some kind of cancer from cleaning the asbestos bags in the air collection system. It was a nasty job and it was the very thing that got my ass back in school. Finding the description of Idustrial Design in the ASU handbook didn’t hurt either.

I was really into groups like Big Audio Dynamite and Janes Addiction. Yep it’s 1989 and to me the the Alternative AM Radio that was coming out of some garage in Tempe Arizona was where it was at. If it wasn’t that it was Blues or the Grateful Dead.

None of this stuff was on the radio. Shit that was like 35 years ago and they are still playing the same rock crap on AAA radio they played back then. If I hear “Black Magic Woman”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” or “Layla” one more time…

Back home at the comunity college I ran into my friend Clay at the Art 201 drawing class. Clay is a fluid guy. One of those people that can walk, chew gum, play drums and do a slap bass Flea impersonation at the same time.

Of course you can’t go to art class and not be stoned right? Clay thought the same thing so needless to say we car pooled the rest of the semester. He was into the Chilli Peppers, Parliment and anything funky. I remember we’d play Intersellar Overdrive and some other original instrumentals we had made up. My point is that I really sucked at guitar and being a 21 year old art school kid in Midwest small town America kinda sucked. It especially sucked when your father-in-law at the time was a Sterling cop and he’d have you followed around at night. Apparently he had read the “How to Be an Asshole” book.

If you grew up in the suburbs around Chicago you could go to The Fireside Bowl to see a punk show every weekend. Well, Rock Falls is no Chicago suburb. There was no internet back then and if you wanted to hear anything good you had to go to the library. There I would check out all the cool Blues records and make cassette tapes of vinyl.

In the ol’ Rock River Valley there was a classic rock station out of the Quad Cities, one local am radio station and a local fm that was run by a robot. Every day at lunch dad would turn up the “The Trading Post” on the am station WSDR.

I’d love a recording or two of that phone in radio show. You see it was kind of the equivilant of Craig’s List today. Instead if posting an item for sale you’d call into WSDR and tell them all about the three used 205/70/R15 tires you had with plenty of good tread left for $15.00 a piece or a burn barrel that was free for the taking. The caller would then their phone number on the air in case you wanted more info.

If the Jerky Boys had The Trading Post on AM radio in New Jersey they would of had more hit cassette tapes. I can hear it now. “Hey this is Frank Rizzo and I wanted to know more about your rubber tires” who? “Frank Rizzo, open your ears jackass”.

I regret to inform you that the station is now owned by Fox and serves up healty doses of Hannity and the rest of the fair and balanced real news to my hometown.

There were a couple of bars you could see music. The main one for me was John’s Bar. If you liked listening to someone trying to be Metallica and watching a bunch of greasers rocking out then I guess you’d be happy. I didn’t get it really but at least it was live music.

I liked blues and the dead and alternative music. I grew up listening to classic country and let me tell you a fact. “What Goes On Behind Closed Doors” is a shitloads more interesting than someone screaming about something in a microphone pretending to be their favorite rock star. What’s the use of being someone else when it’s so much easier to be yourself? There was no country, no blues, no rockabilly. Just metal.

So that’s the stage. 21 years old going to my 4th comunity college wanting to play music and nothing but Metallica, Docken and other crap that sounds like it being performed locally. I’ve grown to appreciate it now that it’s not the only option. Back then I hated that crap.

Clay called me one Friday or Saturday and told me he was going to be playing drums out at Charlie’s. Great guy. He did a stint in the armed forces after high school and swore that they had planted a chip in him. He was not joking. He ran away from his wife and went missing in action for a number a days. I remember the authorities were looking for him. He had killed himself. I think the story was that he had gotten exposed to some liquid weed killer monsanto shit and went off the rails. He was a real sweet guy that loved music and had a heart of gold.

He had rented a farmhouse outside of Sterling in a little town called Galt. There was a music room there that the Padilla brothers would practice at. Clay would sit in on drums. I came with my guitar and wide eyes hoping to play but these guys were really good. I mean Mike for sure knew all of Stairway to Heaven and another 40 songs. His brother Tom could sing and play bass. I remember their band The Spitfires played our high school dance.

I had finally found it. A group of guys that played good songs and were nice enough to let me hang around and play when they were finished.

As far as John’s Bar. Yep, it’s still there and there are still dudes playing metally rock that I don’t identify with. I heard they have country bands there some nights. I was back there recently and it still has the smell of beer and body odor. In fact a childhood friend of mine bought the joint and is keeping it alive. Seemed like it was doing well last time I was home.

There is no more trading post on the radio. That cop that would have me followed around is retired and moved to Tennesee. From what I hear the department couldn’t have been happier. Clay married a great Irish girl from Donagal. The Padilla Brothers along with Scott Seally will be performing a small set of original material between my sets April 14 at Blue Island Beer Co.

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?

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