Chicago Farmer’s Flyover Country

By Brian Rock

Midwestern Folk singer Chicago Farmer (aka Cody Diekhof) soars to new heights on his sixth album, Flyover Country. With a little help from Texas Country Rockers, Band of Heathens, he plugs in for an electrified session of high energy, countrified Folk-Rock.  The addition of the Heathens adds punch and power to Chicago Farmer’s poetic portrayals of America’s hard working, but often forgotten men and women.

The title song sets the tone for the album by singing the praises of the men and women who are mocked by the media talking heads and corporate suits who infest New York and Los Angeles. Beginning with just an acoustic guitar, Farmer sings, “Flyover country, no one touches down. There’s pastures aplenty, not enough goes around.” It echoes workingman Folk songs of the past in both tone and topic. But in the second verse, Farmer’s voice becomes more urgent as the Heathens add drum and electric guitar. The additional instruments add a haunting layer of emotional depth as Farmer sings, “It’s the same tragedy, a different day. You don’t want to see, but you can’t look away.”  It’s a stern rebuke to politicians who think they can “teach anyone to farm in an afternoon,” and a reminder that these people you mock grow your food and fight to protect your freedoms, so perhaps a little respect is due.

With a Corb Lund voice, Chicago Farmer delivers Woody Guthrie lyrics with John Fogerty rhythms. His tribute to working men and women, “Dirtiest Uniforms” is a prime example. With some Hammond organ and steel guitar flair, he points out that the most successful people may not be the most talented, but the ones who work the hardest. “Indiana Line” is an Outlaw Country tribute to truckers trying to do their job while avoiding weigh stations and police. “$13 Beers” is a Country/Folk lament about the cost of going to see your favorite bands. With plenty of weepy steel guitar Farmer tells us, “I worked all week long so I could go down to the arena for the big Country show. But when I stepped inside, I began to shed a tear. Then I saw a sign that read, ‘$13 beer’…  and I am just a poor boy, my money disappears. And I just can’t get drunk on $13 beer.”

“All in One Place,” is a flat-out rocker that admits that a “song and dance man who never learned to dance,” has to struggle to make ends meet. Farmer uses atmospheric, see-saw rhythms and electric guitar in “Mother Nature’s Daughter,” to expose how land and water management is controlled by the people most removed from the land. But Farmer saves his sharpest critique for our two-tiered justice system in “Collars.” With a traditional ¾ time Country rhythm, he tells the story of a man who, “on his twentieth candle, he flew off the handle and he landed at the scene of a crime. With his future cemented, and his fingers imprinted; he was handed his verdict of time.” He follows the rest of his story before observing in the chorus that, “white collar crime pays and blue collar crime takes away. Now we’re all out of dollars ‘cause we don’t wear white collars except on our final day.”

With a ton of empathy and a touch of humor, Chicago Farmer pays a worthy and welcome tribute to the men and women who keep this nation running. His lyrics are pure, poignant poetry and the addition of Band of Heathens sets that poetry in motion. At turns tragic and triumphant, Flyover Country is a loving tribute to the hardworking backbone of our country.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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