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Midwest Songwriter Round - 7PM | $10

  • Uncommon Ground (Edgewater) 1401 West Devon Avenue Chicago, IL, 60660 United States (map)

Midwest Songwriter Round: Jeff Krause, Jess Mcintosh (of Joybird), Robinlee Garber, Angela Meyer

Rooted in the tradition of classic Americana & folk storytelling with a tip of the hat to blues & southern soul, Jeff Krause pairs lyric-forward songs with a guitar style that moves from acoustic coffee house strums to dusty bar blues.

Jeff Krause got his start in the midwest as a lead guitar player in the vast and ever growing songwriting culture of the Twin Cities. He says “I'm constantly inspired by the seemingly endless talent harbored in Minneapolis and working to create something worthy of that influence.” Jeff Krause writes original songs that are all too relatable about the ins and outs of love with a common thread of the persevering spirit born from the highs and lows of life. Inspired by the lyric writing of greats such as Jason Isbell & John Prine and the acoustic grooves of Amos Lee & Ray LaMontagne, Krause crafts songs that are suited for an intimate acoustic show or a full stage.

Joybird is the musical project of Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, Jess McIntosh. She has held many titles: fiddler, educator, songwriter, performer and tour mate, visual artist, continual student. With her debut album, Long Time Exhaling, she has also proven herself an accomplished storyteller.

The album, released in 2017, deals with the particular griefs of moving to another city, the end of a relationship, and the arduous process of rebuilding that both entail. While to fear change is only human, Jess’s music embraces the impermanence in life as something that leads to bigger knowledge, deeper growth. Rooted in the fiddle and banjo sounds of Appalachia, her stories speak of unfolding personal and communal strength, told in spare poetry like that of Lucinda Williams or Anais Mitchell. “Oak is a king, the acorn a man, but so many kings and never a plan when the wilt took rampant hold” (“Catalpa”).

For someone who has spent more than ten years collaborating with and supporting other artists, it’s not surprising that this debut album inspired new connections. The project started out as just a song or two recorded in the studio of free jazz percussionist, Bill Harris (Four Letter Words, Bowlcut), who also provided percussion. Then it was one more song, and then another, until a full album was on the horizon. The need for a bass brought in Aaron Smith (The Wandering Boys, Sunnyside Up, Growler), and the three found a groove. The result was Long Time Exhaling, a mix of alt-folk, original old-time-inspired instrumentals, and modern balladry released under Jess McIntosh.

In the spirit of change, the evolving collaboration has since taken on the name Joybird, a name for music that dreams and heightens and travels, music that lands with gentle force to disrupt the day, to make you pause and reflect.

Robinlee Garber was born in Philadelphia and spent her early years listening to and being influenced by her parents’ music which predominantly featured Frank Sinatra and other singers of the Great American Songbook. In high school she became inspired by artists such as Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Rickie Lee Jones, and Elvis Costello.

As a child Robinlee always felt different as she struggled with chronic health issues but found solace in creating art and music. She studied figure drawing and glass sculpture at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and she won a glass blowing scholarship at the Pilchuck School of Glass in Seattle after graduation. Not feeling entirely satisfied with creating her own art for art’s sake, Robinlee did what she calls artist activist work, and then she ultimately got another full scholarship to earn her Masters degree in Art Therapy at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Since then, Robinlee has worked professionally as a creative arts therapist and clinical counselor using music and art to help others heal. Robinlee has been a featured performer several times on WDCB’s  Folk Festival with Lilli Kuzma, she is the music director of Culture Cafe for the widely popular Chicago VeganMania festival, runs a well-attended open mic in Chicago, and has also played her music across the US, Canada, Sweden and Finland. This is Robinlee’s first solo album, and she is looking forward to sharing her music and her message of hope and resilience with everyone.

Angela Meyer has been performing professionally since she was just 16 years old, bringing out the best of the country & western industries.  Her work is inspired by “writing songs for empty rooms & broken hearts in hopes to fill them up” and stays true to three chords & the truth.  A storyteller with a passion for her listeners, Angela pulls in the crowd with a sweet voice and brutal honesty.  She knows what its like to be in the audience, her earliest memories taking her back to being a child dancing in smoky tent while her mama sang on stage with her band at the Iowa State Fair.  Even before she could talk, Angela was singing along with the radio and introduced to her musical heroes through her grandparents’ record player in their Iowa farmhouse.  Around 10 years old, they gave her a guitar for Christmas, but it was so large she had to lay it across her lap to learn how to play it.  She finally revisited the guitar at 15 years old, starting to write her own music and creating the foundation to build her young dream into a lifelong career.

Even during her 25 years of life, Angela has witnessed many changes to the “country” genres and how they are defined.  She sees the backlash as people speaking out about what is getting radio play & publicity may also be lacking authenticity.  Listeners do not need to be educated on musical theory or the music business to feel that what’s being put out there is largely over-produced and under-thought.  In a world more concerned about image than content, Angela boldly offers that authenticity through her artistry.  She does not give a second thought to the fact she is a young woman; she just delivers her intention with conviction.  Each person she encounters lends the inspiration that only many lifetimes could provide.  That translates to writing that paints a whole picture of the human experience, wisdom far beyond her years.

Angela is continuously expanding her career into a lifelong journey of bringing music to those who need it most.  Her debut album, Consequence, is set to be released April 21st, 2018 and is available for pre-order NOW through iTunes and other main distributors.  She continues to perform live at venues all over the Midwest as well as nationally on the Cowboy Poetry & Western Music circuits.  Check out her Facebook fan page as well as YouTube for weekly videos.