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Big Brain benefit for Diane Izzo

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog.

Hi folks. I just received the following from Stacey Earley. You can get tickets through TicketWeb.

Diane Izzo is a singer/songwriter with roots and many, many friends in Chicago.  Her debut CD, the Brad Wood-produced ONE, was released here to much acclaim at the tail end of the 90s “Chicago scene.”  She continued to write and perform her contemplative, evocative music here until she and her partner Marco decided to leave the big city behind and settle in sunswept Taos, NM, where they caretake a ranch sttlement that once housed Aldous Huxley and shipped paintings for Georgia O’Keefe.

Last year, a congenital condition caused Marco’s kidneys to fail and he had a transplant.  Two months ago, en route to his dialysis appointment, Diane suffered a grand mal seizure while driving their van.  An MRI revealed a mass on her left frontal lobe.

Diane had that tumor removed yesterday.  She is recovering well and they await biopsy results. In the meantime, Diane and Marco, like so many Americans, have no health insurance and would face sure financial catastrophe if not for help from their friends.

On Sunday, November 9 please join Robbie Fulks, Califone, the Waco Brothers w Sally Timms, Vernon Tonges and Beau O’Reilly and the Crooked Mouth String Band at the School of the Art Institute Ballroom for a benefit for Diane Izzo.

$20 buys you an evening of excellent muscianship and celebration.
Show at 7.
SAIC ballroom is located at 112 S Michigan.

Go to for more info and to buy tickets online through The Hideout/Ticketweb, and use the PAYPAL link to donate funds directly to Diane and Marco.

Produced by the Curious Theater Branch.


Oh, say can you see… the roller derby

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog. Tags:
The Windy City Rollers. Click for ticket information

The Windy City Rollers. Click for ticket information

My friend (and former Kennett Brothers bandmate) Andy Leach and I will be accompanying Stacey Earley Saturday night (September 25), when she sings the national anthem before the Windy City Rollers bout at the UIC Pavillion. Stacey is a former member of said Rollers, and it should be blast.

Did I mention free beer?

Tangleweed w/ Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at Double Door

By Scott. Filed under: TweedBlog.

Tangleweed will kick off a show with Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers  and Velcro Lewis  at The Double Door on Friday Nov. 21. 

This will be our first-ever Double Door appearance – another step in our never-ending quest to play every known venue in Chicago.

Some may recall that we played with Th’ Shack Shakers at the Abbey Pub a few years ago, at which we released our first cd, Just a Spoonful (and Other Folk Songs of Rural Cook County).  They put on a helluva show and are highly recommended for fans of blast-off rockabilly fire and brimstone.  

Big thanks once again to Amy Butterer and the Billions Corporation for inviting us onto this bill. 

We’ll go on at 9:00 pm sharp before racing over to the Charleston to play three more sets starting at 10:00, followed by our string of Balcony Pop-Up Sets at the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Fest at the Congress Theatre on Sat. 11/22. 

Should be a helluva weekend!  We hope to see you somewhere amidst all the action.


Tangleweed with Jerry Douglas Band at Old Town School!

By Scott. Filed under: TweedBlog.

This just in!

Tangleweed is confirmed to play two shows with the Jerry Douglas Band at Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday, Jan 17!

We are very excited to return to the Old Town School stage, truly one of the finest rooms in town for live acoustic music.

And it will be our great honor to warm up the audience for the incredible Jerry Douglas, the world’s reigning king of hot dobro action. We hope to see you there!


Criminal downloads

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog. Tags: ,
Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals

Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals

You can download DRM-free MP3s of our new CD, Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals, from

The scheduling is a bit of a mistake — we’ve set the release date for the CD on to be October 27th, but the MP3s go through a different distributor, and they’ve sort of jumped the gun. No big deal. They’re there if you want ’em:

Buy Tangleweed MP3s

CDs, with the beautiful album art and spiffy liner notes, are available from our merch page, and

Also, if you live in Chicago, you can snag a copy just by bringing yourself to our CD Release show at the Hideout on Sunday, November 16th.


Get tickets. The good kind.

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: GigBlog, News, TweedBlog. Tags: ,

You could get yourself a ticket trying for a new land speed record on some godforsaken corn-lined back country road. Or you could get a bus ticket to Newark, New Jersey. Or maybe a parking ticket to help our cash-strapped metropolis cling to fiscal solvency.

But we’ve got tickets that are much better than that. They’re advance tickets to our record release show at The Hideout, and they’re on sale now at Ticket Web. Everyone at the show gets a copy of the new CD, Most Folk Heroes Started Out As Criminals, plus sets from Tangleweed and Shotgun Party.

How much would this magical evening of entertainment set a person back? Five hundred dollars? A thousand dollars? Seven hundred billion dollars? Nope. Eight bucks. A measley eight bucks guarantees that you get you in the door and a copy of the new CD. Get `em while they last.

CBGB Fest Results are IN!

By Scott. Filed under: GigBlog, News, TweedBlog.

Well, we have some good news and some bad news. First, the bad:

Tangleweed did not make the Top 5 vote getters in the CBGB Fest contest. We were overtaken at the 11th hour by the Off The Wagon Bluegrass Band from Nashville. And the judges chose Donny Biggins from Chicago as the winner, so he’ll be playing the opening slot for the festival – Congrats to Donny!! And HUGE thanks to all of you who voted for us.

Now, the good news:


The festival organizers just offered us and The Giving Tree Band (#7 in the votes, and also from Chicago) the chance to play POP-UP sets from the balcony between mainstage sets. It’ll be an old-school single-mic/single-spotlight setup, allowing us to keep the hot tuneage flowing for the audience while the mainstage sets get turned over. This should result in four or five short sets from each band throughout the entire day’s festivities.

We are extremely happy with this arrangement, and would like to send our most sincere thanks to Michael Raspatello and the gang at CBGB Fest for giving us this opportunity.

We’ll get good and warmed up with three full sets at our monthly Charleston gig the night before, and we’ll hit the ground running when we get the call on Saturday!

Thanks again to all of you who pulled for us in the contest – your efforts did not go unpunished, and we can’t thank you enough for all the support!!

We’ll see you on 11/22 at The Congress Theatre!

Billy, Kip, Paul, Ryan and Scott


Climbing Mt. Klezmer with Alexander Gelfand

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog.

Alexander Gelfand wrote a piece for Nextbook on Margot Leverett’s bluegrass/ klezmer group, The Klezmer Mountain Boys, that inexplicably mentions me in a positive light*:

Thirteen years ago I shared an office in the school of music at the University of Illinois with a fellow graduate teaching assistant named Kip. Kip looked like what Robin Williams, referring to fellow comic Martin Mull, once described as “Hitler’s wet dream”: tall, blond, and slender, with blue eyes and fair skin. His people came from Virginia, and he studied old-time string band music (he now plays mandolin in the Chicago-based bluegrass band Tangleweed), the kind of square-dancey, fiddle-and-banjo stuff that I had always associated with Hee Haw, incest, and that scene in Deliverance where Ned Beatty is forced to squeal like a pig. As a sophisticated urban Jew, I understood that this was music made primarily by and for hillbillies. Mountain mutants. Toothless wonders.

You get the picture.

Fortunately, Kip, who became one of my closest friends, had no idea what an ignorant, prejudiced jackass I was. In his kind, gentle, and infinitely patient way, he introduced me to rural American music, particularly the stuff that seeped out of Appalachia and into much of the South and Southwest, eventually giving rise to country music and bluegrass, a flashier, more virtuosic version of old-time string band music. At Kip’s suggestion, I read Bill Malone’s Country Music USA, which describes how the poverty-stricken descendents of Scots-Irish immigrants, when not scratching a living from the soil, created a style of dance music that was capable of expressing both great joy and sadness, sometimes at once. It made me think of the bittersweet music my own ancestors brought with them from the Old World to the new, and forced me to confront, for neither the first time nor the last, my tendency to assume the worst about people I don’t know.

Read the full article at

*In the interest of full disclosure, I know Alexander, and probably owe him money. He wrote the excellent liner notes for our first and third CDs.