Demo2DeRo: Kory Quinn and the Comrades

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Since starting this column a few years back, submissions from local bands have come via the usual snail mail and email (which actually has become my preferred method–no reason to waste the expense and the natural resources on shiny discs when online music is so much easier), as well as in person whenever I’m out and about. But Kory Quinn was the first musician to pop up on my radar via a flier stapled to the box of the pizza I ordered. But darned if the music wasn’t even tastier than the pepperoni.

You’ll find precious little background info on the group–which features Quinn on guitar, banjo and lead vocals, Joe Paul on upright bass, Dobro Joe on dobro and Jake Moon on guitar–posted on its Web site, I gather the band migrated to Chicago from Indiana; that its biggest influence is Harry Smith’s famous “Anthology of American Folk Music” and that it’s gearing up to perform at the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Okla., in July. Beyond that, the details of the Comrades are a mystery, but that’s fine, because stark, haunting but brilliantly rendered songs such as “Shoes of the Dead,” “You Ain’t Coming Back,” “Austin” and “Under the Gun” succeed because of their dark and twisted layers and the many lingering questions of that vaunted “old, weird America.”

The band has a busy schedule of upcoming gigs, including F. O’Mahony’s, 3701 N. Broadway, on April 7, and the Horseshoe, 4115 N. Lincoln, on April 17. But you’ll probably have to provide your own pizza.

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