Cody is a folk-singer’s folk-singer and a poet’s poet. He was born and bred in Delavan IL, population 25, surrounded by the endless skies of the American Midwest. Before moving to Chicago in 2003, Cody tried his hand at sessions in Nashville and carefully hewed and tested his art in college town bars and honky-tonks around the Midwest. He now plays regularly in the city and it’s not uncommon to see whole rooms full of strangers erupt and sing along to the choruses of his songs on their first listen (I’ve seen it happen). Cody’s voice is powerful and gritty, emotionally piercing while subtly imbuing additional layers of meaning and poignancy in his lyrical delivery. His song-writing is deeply rooted in the American Folk tradition and all of its grit but with a post Dylan sense of wit, perspicacity and that certain savior-faire. He didn’t go to college but he drank all of their beer.
Every folk-singer has to migrate to the city, in a way it seems to be hidden in definition of a folk singer anymore. Cody has come to remind Chicago that it is in Illinois. And to remind the rest of the world that when Louis Armstrong redefined, some say invented the art of Jazz in the 1920′s he brought his Hot Fives to Chicago to do it. When Robert Johnson wanted to put his Mississippi Mud on wax, his hellhound chased him to Chicago to do it. And same like, Cody has come to Chicago to deliver what it needs, when it isn’t even sure itself. He is currently recording a collection of songs from his vast back-catalog and performing across the heartland.
In the bluegrass history books, Chicago has been a pivotal stop along the road to success for the Monroe Brothers and, in more current times, noteworthy as home base for the long popular Special Consensus. And now, the Windy City serves as a critical intersection in the lives of four musicians, two who hail from Illinois and the others from as far and near as upstate New York and Wisconsin.
After seven years of hard work and a relentless tour schedule, the Henhouse Prowlers have gained a growing reputation for their highly original, tradition-inspired bluegrass built around intricate harmonies and electrifying stage energy. In 2010, while balancing time on the road and in the studio in Colorado, the Prowlers placed third in the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition and took top honors in the RockyGrass Band Competition.
During this time, the band entered the studio with visionary producer and dobro player extraordinaire, Sally Van Meter, completing its third album. The product, thirteen-track “Verses, Chapters and Rhymes,” features original tales of life’s trials and tribulations laid over vocal and instrumental work as refined as it is danceable. With the guidance and vision of Sally’s truly professional production work, “Verses” offers a mature statement from Chicago’s hardest working bluegrass band that is as clean, crisp and deliberate as it is hard-driving and loaded with the raw passion and energy the boys have made their trademark.
The year 2011 has been filled with exciting opportunities for the band. After releasing “Verses” and performing at Wintergrass in February, the Prowlers embarked on their first ever European tour. The international debut was a stunning success and the band has scheduled an extended return to Europe in April 2012. Meanwhile, the Prowlers are on tour coast-to-coast with featured performances at Summercamp, RockyGrass and the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival.
Dedicated equally to tradition and innovation, The Henhouse Prowlers center their sound on that of the formative years of bluegrass, while keeping their pulse on today by covering contemporary topics in a largely original repertoire. The group’s prolific songwriting provides entree to twenty-first century topics not typically tackled by traditional bluegrass groups. At the same time, the Prowlers wear the Bill Monroe mantle with spit and polish, performing in suit-and-tie in a tightly choreographed, one-mic stage setting. Combining passion, confidence and flair with instrumental and vocal prowess, the Prowlers deliver dynamic bluegrass with an edge.
Original members Ben Wright, five-string banjo, and Jon Goldfine on upright bass, are joined by Eric Lambert on guitar and Grant Ziolkowski on mandolin. All four bring to the table diverse musical palettes, having pursued music in a variety of settings, ensembles, and genres prior to jelling as The Henhouse Prowlers.
Their eclectic musical backgrounds were the perfect fit when called upon by NBC Today Show correspondent Mike Leonard to compose the soundtrack for his PBS documentary series. Based on the best-selling book, “The Ride Of Our Lives” follows Leonard’s family on a cross-country motor home trip with the backdrop of tradition-inspired music composed and performed (off-camera) by The Henhouse Prowlers