Farmer and the Shoe Tomorrow Night

Farmer and the Shoe Tomorrow Night

This summer has been a whirlwind of insane music performances, from Phish and Dead and Co. on their respective tours to festivals both titanic and microscopic. Many of these bigger tour dates feature pre and post-show events as well, and both local and touring artists are putting together innovative tributes to these legendary musical figures.

One of the most exciting of these performances is coming up tomorrow night in Palatine at Durty Nellie’s: Shoe Farmer (Old Shoe and Chicago Farmer) rears its head once again to perform the renowned live album Dylan & the Dead (coinciding with Dead and Co.’s shows at Alpine in Wisconsin this weekend); to those who may not be familiar, the album consists of seven songs written by Bob Dylan with the Dead as accompaniment.

As the latest incarnation of Shoe Farmer, the show is garnering quite a bit of attention and is set to be a highlight of the summer. Matt Robinson of Old Shoe and the Chicago Farmer himself have a few words to say about the whole experience.

AH: “Give me a little backstory on the inception of Farmer and the Shoe. The when, the where, the why, if you will.”

CF: “I'm not sure where or when we jammed for the first time, but for me, after playing years solo it felt like a revelation and a rebirth. The friendship and music clicked right away. With Old Shoe I felt like I could still make the poetry, and those five dudes could put it in motion with a feel that hadn't been felt before. I think it's a similar story and premise to Dylan and The Dead.”

MR: “I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and I was thinking…it’s the day off of Dead & Co tour…we should do something special for all the folks in limbo between shows. That album just seemed like the perfect pairing for Chicago Farmer & Old Shoe. Plus, just conceptually, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead just seems like the best marriage ever.”

AH: “You’ve mentioned how much you’ve enjoyed the research part of this project. Anything you’ve found that really stuck with you that you’d like to share?”

CF: “I'd like to mention that Bob Dylan has a ton of lyrics, some of them I already knew, but man that guy can write. It also hit me that even though these songs were written so long ago, they're so current and still hit home with so many social issues that are still occurring today.”

MR: “I had read Bob Dylan’s book, and I remembered that he had gotten overwhelmed at the first rehearsal with the Dead. They were huge Dylan fans, and they wanted to do a lot more material than he had anticipated. Dylan stepped out, intending not to return, but ran across this jazz band on his walk, got inspired and headed back in. I found the rehearsal recordings. There are like 75 tracks on it. Some great fly on the wall stuff. The resulting live album from the shows ended up getting bad reviews, I understand the songs were loose and Dylan’s voice was worn, but I love it. I love rehearsing these songs, too. There’s lots of fire, there.”

AH: “Old Shoe and Chicago Farmer have a unique track record of performing outside the box and making performances really stand out. How does that happen?”

CF: “It's been a ball working on this project and getting out of our comfort zones. I think both acts appreciate our fans, who soon become friends, who soon become fam, and love to give them something off the wall on a current basis.”

MR: “Cody usually gets the setlist together with new tunes added in each time. We sometimes say hey we should cover that Tom Petty song or we really like that one song off your album, can we do that? I enjoy that we change it up. Shoe Farmer shows seem to constantly move forward and cover new ground. That’s exciting for us, and I imagine all the good folks who hoot and holler with us.”

AH: “Both Old Shoe and Chicago Farmer have also played excellent tributes to bands like Phish, the Dead, and Nirvana, in a style strongly reminiscent of Phish’s Halloween musical costumes. Is that something that you’re likely to keep doing in the future?”

MR: “Gosh I hope so. It’s really rewarding to go to school on that stuff, and I love the challenge. Maybe Shoe Farmer could do Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers’ album or a Rolling Stones album. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there that our vibe would be great on.”

AH: “When you’re playing another band’s material, particularly such well-known artists as Dylan and the Dead, is there ever any pressure to sound like them? Or is there ever a feeling that you should try and pay homage while putting your own spin on it?”

CF: “I found myself trying to sing somewhat like him when I first started rehearsing. As time progressed though I think we found our own sound and vibe that still expresses the ‘happening’ that was on the album.”

MR: “Probably more so the latter. We’ve definitely played with the arrangements. The stompy grooves are a perfect fit though, and we definitely kept everything that should be there. So yeah it’s the same road we’re driving but probably in a different car.”

Anyone who has seen Shoe Farmer knows what to expect from them boys, but they continue to surprise and delight with their collaborations. Rewarding experiences that clear the mind and enrich the soul, these performances are quickly becoming Midwest music legend.

So don’t miss Shoe Farmer playing Dylan & the Dead tomorrow at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine! Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of the show. The buzz has been building for a while, so expect a packed house and a great show. Both Old Shoe and Chicago Farmer are pretty much on fire right now, and they’re just itching to unleash the jams. Do yourself a favor and check out the show. You won’t be disappointed.

All event info here:


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