Illinois native Brett Eldredge, ‘BBQ Pitmaster’ star Myron Mixon head to Windy City Smokeout

SHARE Illinois native Brett Eldredge, ‘BBQ Pitmaster’ star Myron Mixon head to Windy City Smokeout

As River North gears up for the Windy City Smokeout this upcoming weekend, stars like country singer Brett Eldredge – an Illinois native – and BBQ pitmaster Myron Mixon are excitedly preparing for a weekend of country music and barbeque.

“I’ve been waiting for this show since last year!” Eldredge said during a phone interview from a tour bus in northern Wisconsin.

Eldredge, who performed during last year’s inaugural Smokeout thrown by downtown barbeque joint Bub City, headlines the opening night of this year’s festival.

“I got offstage and the first thing I said is – we’re playing this next year. It was insane,” Eldredge said of last year’s performance.

“It’s a good break from the road. It’s a special place. Chicago has been great to us,” Eldredge said.

Eldredge, who was born in downstate Paris and attended Elmhurst College for two years before moving to Nashville in 2006, plans on debuting a new song, “Illinois” about his roots at Friday night’s show.

“It’s a cool piano song. I was running around [in Chicago] having fun there, now I’m playing in front of thousands of people,” Eldredge said.

“It’s going to be one of my favorite shows of the year. I can feel it,” Eldredge said.

Eldredge wrote all but on song on his recent album “Bring You Back.” He cites listening to Frank Sinatra and Brooks and Dunn while growing up in southern Illinois as inspiration for his soulful country sound.

“We gotta keep putting Illinois on the map. It’s a great place to be from. I’m glad — Chicago’s my favorite city in the world. Paris Illinois is my favorite place to be from,” Eldredge said.

Another headliner — though not musical — returns again this year. “BBQ Pitmasters” star Myron Mixon hosts a meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and has at least one meaty surprise for guests up his sleeve.

“I’m looking forward to getting back. We’re cooking whole hogs again!” Mixon said of his return to the Smokeout.

Mixon will be serving pulled pork, smoked chicken wings, and of course, whole hog straight form the spit.

The Windy City Smokeout kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday on the Chicago River at Grand Avenue. Randy Rogers Band headline Saturday night’s show, and Eli Young Band will close the festival Sunday night.

Tickets for festival start at $28 and can be purchased at windycitysmokeout.com.

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