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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Musician Chase Walsh of Frankfort looks ahead to Hopstring Fest appearance

By Ted Slowik

Frankfort’s Chase Walsh may only be 15, but he’s already an accomplished songwriter and performer who has just released his first collection of original studio recordings.

The Lincoln-Way East High School sophomore is set to make one of his most high-profile performances to date at the third annual Hopstring Fest Aug. 23 at Silver Cross Field in Joliet. Walsh is set to play from 2:45 to 3:05 p.m. on the Deschutes Brewery Stage, one of two side stages showcasing local talent at this year’s festival.

Walsh studies guitar with Kev Wright of New Lenox, guitarist for The Righteous Hillbillies, one of Hopstring’s mainstage performers. Hopstring is headlined this year by rock band Cracker, known for such hits as “Get Off This,” “Low,” “Teen Angst,” “Happy Birthday To Me” and “Euro-Trash Girl.”

Tickets for the 12-hour celebration of live music, food and craft beer are $20 in advance and available through Tickets will be $30 at the door, but the fest could sell out and there is no guarantee tickets will be available on the day of the event.

Walsh’s discovered music at age 5 when his late uncle, Kevin Walsh, introduced him to guitar.  He wrote his first song at age 10 after his uncle passed away unexpectedly.

“While my life is full of positive influences, inspiring teachers, good friends and family, this was the first loss of someone so close and the emotions I experienced at that point of my life encouraged me to create a lasting melody in his honor,” Chase says. “From that point on, I used everyday life experiences to craft my ideas for my lyrics and music.”

Wright and fellow Righteous Hillbilly Brent James helped Walsh record his debut studio EP, “Your Friend the Robber.” The just-released collection of six originals showcases Chase’s accomplished guitar playing and earnest vocals and songwriting. The collection is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more. Learn more at

“Chase is a very talented young musician and songwriter,” Wright says. “We’ve been working together for more than three years and he’s shown real growth as an artist. His singing, playing and songwriting have come a long way.”

About Kev, Chase says, “Not only is he a talented musician, he is my friend, and my mentor. He believes in my abilities and my message. He is a true inspiration.” 

In addition to playing acoustic and electric guitar, Chase has learned to play mandolin, ukulele, banjo, piano and drums. With the Lincoln-Way East Strings Orchestra he is now studying violin, cello, and upright string bass under director Michelle Freeland.

“Training with the orchestra has opened my eyes to the fascinating world of classical music and now I try to find ways to adopt those unique sounds into my more core contemporary melodies,” Chase says.

Chase already has an amazing fan base both locally and throughout the world, with more than 37,000 followers on the popular video app, Vine. You can also find him on social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Chase’s vision for his own original tunes stem from classic songwriters like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix while incorporating the pop-punk acoustic styles of Never Shout Never, The Maine and Jack White. He has performed live to large audiences at Chicago Street Pub in Joliet, The Barn in Manhattan, Tribes Alehouse in Mokena and other venues.

In addition to his musical endeavors, Chase is also active in sports at Lincoln-Way East. He cherishes his time with family and friends and never passes up an opportunity to get their input on his latest songs and ideas. He also loves drawing, designing his own album covers, and writes poetry and short stories.

If You Go
What: Hopstring Fest
When: Saturday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Where: Silver Cross Field, 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive, Joliet
Who: Local talent and headline bands like Cracker
How much: Tickets are $20/presale, $30/door