RiverRoots Music Series

Chicago Farmer comes to Madison
to play concert series

Illinois musician Diekhoff found success in Chicago

RiverRoots Music Series

• 8 p.m. April 26 at Red Bicycle Hall in Madison, Ind.
• Information, tickets at www.RiverRoots.org

(April 2019) – Cody Diekhoff, 40, of Bloomington, Ill., started his musical journey by writing poems during study hall that he eventually set to music. As he grew up in the small town of Delavan, in central Illinois, Diekhoff began to discover a love of guitar, songwriting and making music that he desired to turn into a career.
“Nothing was going to keep me from doing it,” said Diekhoff. “After I played every bar and restaurant in my hometown, I decided to move to Chicago, where I began to play more often and became more well-known.”
Chicago Farmer was born out of Diekhoff’s creativity and pursuit of his passion. “I like to think of my music as poetry in motion,” he said. Diekhoff describes Chicago Farmer as a “solo acoustic troubadour,” since he predominantly tours and performs as an individual act.
Chicago Farmer will appear at Red Bicycle Hall, 125 E. Main St., in Madison, Ind., at 8 p.m. Friday, April 26, as part of the RiverRoots Music Series. This will be Diekhoff’s first time performing in Madison.
“I haven’t heard him play, personally, but I’ve heard he is very good, and we’re looking forward to hosting him,” said Jane Vonderheide, a RiverRoots committee member.

Photo provided

Cody Diekhoff turned his early love of poetry into songwriting success.

During Chicago Farmer’s early years, Diekhoff said he found musical inspiration from bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and songwriters like John Prine. He was mostly intrigued by musicians who told stories through their songs. “My personal inspiration comes from allowing the song to shine through. I like expressing things in a simple way with just an acoustic guitar and the story of song,” he said.
Diekhoff said that his music has evolved over the years, becoming more nuanced and deep as he continues to experience life. “When I started writing, I hadn’t really experienced life. I hadn’t left my hometown. Now that I’m older and have been kicked around a little bit, my music is more real and more true to what has happened around me,” he said.
While Chicago Farmer’s music fits within the country-folk genre, Diekhoff also describes it as Americana. “I like to think of my music as Midwestern, but it also has the ability to relate to anybody,” he said.
In 2018, Chicago Farmer released an album called “Quarter Past Tonight” that was recorded live at the Theatre in Peoria, Ill. “This album really encompasses what folks will see me do live and showcases what a Chicago Farmer show is like,” said Diekhoff.
Diekhoff said his songwriting process typically takes place on the road. “I’m always driving, so I don’t have as much time to write, but I’m always coming up with ideas as I drive,” he said. “If they’re good ideas, I usually remember them and write them down at my hotel or in the green room before a concert. Once I’m home, I’ll put all my ideas together. That’s been my process as of late.”
Diekhoff tours mostly in the Midwest, predominantly in his home state of Illinois and the surrounding states of Indiana, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. He plays around 150 shows each year. “I’m particularly fond of Indiana,” he said, also noting that he has spent extensive time in Cincinnati. “That’s a place with great folks and great music,” he said.
One of the most unique aspects of Chicago Farmer is the “solo” aspect of the band. Diekhoff said that his decision to perform individually took place after his move to Chicago. “I had six roommates, and they were all musicians. I needed a little space,” he said. “I found that playing solo gigs was the best way to express the simple themes of my music. I didn’t need a whole lot happening other than songs and stories.”
Diekhoff said that the playing individually pays off when it comes to his interaction with the audience. “When I hear the crowd sing along, it’s like the music and the audience are becoming one. I already have background singers, and I don’t have to pay them,” he said.

To see Chicago Farmer in Madison on April 26, visit www.RiverRoots.org to purchase tickets for $10 in advance of the show. The sixth and final concert in the RiverRoots Music Series will feature Wild Ponies on May 18 at Red Bicycle Hall.

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