By Laura Marks
Within such a close proximity to the big city, Champaign-Urbana is heavily influenced by the music of Chicago. Stepping into the Canopy Club, one senses a familiar atmosphere with an authentic urban feel. Last Thursday night was no exception with a range of Chicago’s finest musicians. Sharing the stage for an intimate night in the void room was Chicago Farmer, Jaik Willis and James Moore. Although some patrons were puzzled about the small stage, I personally preferred the close and friendly environment that the crowd created.
James Moore is a singer/songwriter from Chicago. He opened the night with a mix of his own original music, and a couple covers on guitar. A familiar face in the Canopy Club, you may have recognized him from when he opened up for the Piano Man every Wednesday last semester. These days you’ll find him hosting at our Monday Night House Party, so be sure to catch him every Monday if you liked what you saw!
Next on the bill was Jaik Willis, a nationally touring independent performer based in Chicago. Jaik’s sound is entirely unique: he has a fierce 4-octave vocal range that stretches out in solos, over a heavily hammering guitar. His range of music is equally as versatile from deep-rooted folk, to bluesy rock, to funky classics. By far one of my personal favorite songs of the night was “Friends” by Led Zeppelin. However, his close made the crowd never want to leave! He begun with Ani Difranco’s “Next Bold Move,” and then beat-boxed his way down to some Sly & The Family Stone.
When the crowd was beyond warmed up, the main artist of the night took the stage. Chicago Farmer is the lone Cody Diekhoff, belting out his soul on an acoustic guitar. Based in Chicago for a decade now, Cody has been profoundly inspired by the working-class folk musicians of our time. “This is a working man’s singer/songwriter. The strident tones of his voice will make you sit up and listen” (Chicago Acoustic Undergroud). Bringing me right back to the city I love, Cody performed classic songs off his “About Time” album, while debuting songs off his latest album “Backenforth, IL.” It just came out in January, so be sure to take a listen if you missed this great show!