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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hopstring Fest Aug. 23 features return of Chicago Farmer


By Ted Slowik
Chicago Farmer is among the 10 mainstage acts at this year’s Hopstring Fest and will perform from 3:05 to 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, in Joliet’s Silver Cross Field.

Tickets for the 12-hour celebration of live music, food and craft beer are $20/presale, $30 at the door and are available through hopstringfest.com and at Chicago Street Pub, 75 N. Chicago St., Joliet.

Chicago Farmer is the stage name for Cody Diekhoff, a songwriter and musician who moved to Chicago from a small central Illinois farming community in 2003. He writes, sings and plays mostly acoustic roots Americana music inspired by the likes of Woody Guthrie and John Prine. 

Chicago Farmer has released six albums: “Backenforth, IL” (2013), “Somethin’ Else” (2011), “Gunshots on Tuesday” (2009),  “Talk Of Town” (2007), “From a  Small Town in Illinois” (2006) and “About Time” (2005). 

Growing up in Delavan, IL with a population less than 2,000, Diekhoff’s grandparents were farmers, and their values have always provided the baseline of his songs.

“I love the energy, music, and creativity of Chicago, but at the same time, the roots and hard work of my small town,” he says on his website. 

He writes music for the “kind of people that come to my shows. Whether in Chicago or Delavan, everyone has a story, and everyone puts in a long day and works hard the same way,” he says. “My generation may have been labeled as slackers, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t work hard – many people I know put in 50-60 hours a week and 12 hour days. That’s what keeps me playing. I don’t like anyone to be left out; my music is for everyone in big and very small towns.”

He listened to punk rock and grunge as a kid before discovering a friend’s dad playing Hank Williams, and it was a revelation. Prine and Guthrie quickly followed. The name Chicago Farmer was originally for a band, but the utilitarian life of driving alone from bar to bar, city to city – to make a direct connection to his audience and listener, took a deeper hold.

Chicago Farmer has previously performed at Hopstring Fest and at Joliet’s Chicago Street Pub.

Visit chicagofarmer.com to learn more.

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 at the door