Quarter Past Tonight: Chicago Farmer's First Live Album

Quarter Past Tonight: Chicago Farmer's First Live Album

As hard-working musicians go, few can hold a candle to the Midwest’s own folk hero, Chicago Farmer (aka Cody Diekhoff). Back and forth across the great wide open, the authenticity of his music just resonates with something in the human spirit, with material ranging from raucous and boot-stompin’ runaway hootenannies, to subdued and heartfelt odes to love and loss. The release of the live album Quarter Past Tonight, recorded at the Apollo Theater in Peoria, IL, preserves the legacy of a live Chicago Farmer show for posterity, in all its blood-sweat-and-tears glory.

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Featuring songs spanning the entirety of his career, Quarter Past Tonight showcases the sheer wealth of material that Chicago Farmer has amassed throughout his travels “backenforth,” as he might say, from the classic “Watch Doctor,” an aching lament of the rapid passage of time, to “Farms and Factories,” an upbeat barn-burning tribute to the farmers and laborers who keep the country moving from their small towns. His verbose and meandering stories often involve audience participation, whether it’s teaching them his “stuck-in-the-middle-type of a drawl” in “Workin’ On It,” name-dropping various bars he’s played on the tour, or discussing his off-stage antics at the set break.

What sets Chicago Farmer head and shoulders above the crowd is his ability to seamlessly combine his famous troubadour aesthetic and typical subject matter with a whip-smart comedic sensibility, and then turn around and deliver a heartbreaking song about the pitfalls and instability of life. The track “Rocco N’ Susie” takes it a step further, confronting the outside factors and social injustice that could lead someone down a path that would otherwise seem unthinkable. It demonstrates a real understanding of the problems facing humanity, particularly of the small-town variety, but also a sincere desire to help in whatever way he can.

Replete with the sort of special moments that make a Chicago Farmer show something to remember, Quarter Past Tonight finds Diekhoff right in the pocket: classics like “Illinois Anthem,” “People N’ Places,” and the fiery “Jon Stokes Prison Break Blues” hold up just fine alongside newer tunes like the tearfully optimistic “Umbrella” and “$13 Beers.” At a whopping 32 tracks, it’s a terrific representation of not only his street cred as a folk singer, but also his growth as a musician and performer.

Folk music has always been about authenticity and providing a deep connection through song. Chicago Farmer achieves both gracefully on Quarter Past Tonight, an enthralling live portrait of the Midwest’s finest ambassador. Steeped in the culture of the area, with a mission to bring his music to the vast, sweeping land we call home, Chicago Farmer is the spiritual heir to Arlo Guthrie. Whether you need to heal your heart or just put on some porch music, Chicago Farmer has you covered. Dig into Quarter Past Tonight and you’ll see why.

Don’t miss Chicago Farmer’s 40th Folkin’ Birthday and live album release, happening over two nights: Friday and Saturday, August 3rd and 4th, at the Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1664568

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