Bio

BLOOMINGTON, IL — Chicago Farmer, the moniker Bloomington, Illinois’ Cody Diekhoff performs and writes under, is set to independently release his 7th album titled Midwest Side Stories on September 30, 2016. Midwest Side Stories is about hope, depression, job loss, meth, skateboards, a divided nation, used cars, the late shift, farms, factories, the destruction of our environment, and still being around to sing about it. The new release contains ten tracks all of which were written by Diekhoff (pronounced dee-cough), with the exception of the John Hartford classic “I’m Still Here.”

Folk hero Todd Snider says, “I love Chicago Farmer’s singing and playing and songs, but it’s the intention behind the whole of his work that moves me to consider him the genuine heir to Arlo Guthrie or Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. He knows the shell game that goes on under folk music… which is sacred to me. Chicago Farmer is my brother; if you like me, you’ll love him.”

Lyrically driven, Chicago Farmer delves into the social and political issues of today’s world, taking it all in and putting it back out through music as a commentary on modern times in the Midwest. With his unfeigned and relatable approach, Chicago Farmer has earned a place in the heart of this generation’s rise of protest songs. He composes music written and sung by and for the working man, the “regular person”, bringing to mind modern day folk tales.

“I arrived here, kicking and screaming the day that I took the stage, I went searching for some kind of meaning, like words looking for a page. Came up empty and full of worry that nothing could cover the pain, then these songs and stories began unfolding like an umbrella in the rain.” This is the opening stanza to the first song “Umbrella”, a song that speaks of the power of music in people’s lives and is dedicated to songwriters everywhere, including many of whom we’ve lost in 2016.

With heartfelt observations of the world around him, Chicago Farmer has been around the folk scene for a while now singing the stories he has written along the way, aiming to capture the essence of the human condition and putting it all on display. He has gotten to know a variety of players over the years and brought together a wonderful cast of musicians to perform on the album. Diekhoff co-produced Midwest Side Stories, with engineer Chris Harden at I.V. Labs Studios in Chicago, Illinois. Harden also played Glockenspiel and harmonized vocals on select tracks. Others on the album include vocalist and guitarist Ernie Hendrickson, drummer Darren Garvey, vocalist Heather Horton, and a handful of other Midwestern mainstays.

Cody has his finger on the pulse of middle America. Coming from a long line of family farmers and factory workers in central Illinois and growing up in a rural farming community has inspired many songs that are autobiographical in nature. Farms & Factories” is a workgrass song featuring fiddle, tempo changes, and the farming side of Chicago Farmer. In 2002 he moved up north to the big city where he came up with the name Chicago Farmer for what was initially intended to be a band, but ended up keeping the name for himself and started writing and recording albums. Eventually he moved back in 2008 to central Illinois where he makes his home in Bloomington. The Midwest is where he was born and raised. It’s where he first started to write poetry and where he would eventually set those words into motion with his guitar.

With Midwest Side Stories Chicago Farmer builds an adventurous narrative that brings issues to the front burner with folk/protest songs. “Two Sides of the Story” is an acoustically portrayed glimpse of the evolving division in the United States. It takes aim at the media, politics, and religion’s role in that division. “There’s two sides to every story, there’s two sides to every town, the side of town that tells the story. The side where the story went down.”

An upbeat electric working class protest song, “Revolving Door,” describes manufacturing job loss in the Midwest with howling vocals, a driving beat, and ripping harmonica. “My home state of Illinois continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the region, and manufacturing jobs continue to disappear.” Cody says, ”Politicians who work the current system to benefit themselves and their constituencies have sold out these industries and workers. While the CEO’s of these companies hand out pink slips to their workforce, they continue to hand themselves bonuses.”

“9pm to 5” examines the plight of the working American and pays tribute to those with unconventional work hours. At other times Chicago Farmer goes tongue-in-cheek with “Skateboard Song” which takes listeners on a ride with this folk story song, questioning our laws and priorities.

Midwest Side Stories is a follow up to 2013’s Backenforth, IL which rose to #33 on the Americana Charts as well as top #10 on several folk charts. Honest Tune wrote of it, “You can smell the dirt in the fields, hear the wind as it blows across the plains, and see the people that Chicago Farmer sings about. Each track captures a moment in time, whether for a person or a particular place. Imagine if a John Steinbeck short story had been written as a song, and this will give you a fairly good idea as to what Chicago Farmer accomplishes on his albums.”

Chicago Farmer is ready to kick down some more doors and put something new in as many ears, hands, living rooms, and car stereos as possible. Midwest Side Stories is available now on pre-order on Kickstarter and folks that donate will receive it at their doorstep several weeks before the official release.  “We’ve set our goal at $20… because we love you.” Cody says, “My last album has a song called The Twenty Dollar Bill. It’s easily one of my top 3 requested songs, I especially love that it’s requested by people of all ages. It’s a story song inspired my grandparents and I’ve been told has moved a lot of people. We put a lot of heart, soul, sweat, tears, and even some blood into making this album. While the basics are covered, we still have a large hill to climb and any support that you can offer is greatly appreciated”

Midwest Side Stories captures everything that Chicago Farmer is capable of as a performer, songwriter and story teller. He draws you in with the emotion in his voice and holds you captive with the lyrical pictures he paints about the real struggle the common man is up against.

Pre-order Available Until Sept 11th, 2016 at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/995602129/midwest-side-stories

 

20 Comments

  1. jacob ebert
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    sounds great brother! I’m from Mokena, IL originally, live in Asheville, NC now, have a string band called the Feral Cats down here. if you ever need somewhere to jam down in the south hit us up!

  2. Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the message Scott, the festival looks great! I’m booked that weekend this year but would be happy to be a part of 2012! I’ll be in Fort Collins this Thursday and Denver this Friday! June 2nd & 3rd…Take Care!

  3. Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    The person who wrote my bio is referring to one of my songs called ’26 cops’ which states there’s 26 cops in Delavan, IL…Population 25!!!

  4. Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    You’ve got a true talent for melody and most importantly lyrical content. My friends and I have enjoyed ” From a small town in Illinois” for months now and are sad it took us this long. You should head south, we’d love to have you in Birmingham. Best

  5. Posted September 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I just found you music on YOU tube today.. I am originally from a REALLY small town in Illinois Delong population about 20… we only had three streets in town and we used to say there were more dogs than people.. When I was a kid we had a post office, grocery store and gas pump, they were all the same place.. We had one Congregational Church, and a Volunteer Fire Dept, I went to a two room School house 1st thru 3rd in one room and 4th thru 6th in the other.. By the time we went to high School we got to go in town.. 7 miles.. and for me that was the late 70′s early 80′s…My town is still there but the School is now someones home, the Church, the Grocery store are too, and the Firestation I bought a few years ago.. and I let the town use it for a community center. I really love your music and what you sing about.. I have lived in Washington state, Seattle area for 20 plus years, and I miss home all the time.. Headed back to good old Illinois tomorrow for 2 weeks it’s fall and the trees will be beautiful.. and colorful.. instead of all the green I see everyday here.. THANK YOU for bringing a tear to my eye and helping me to remember my roots… I am buying your album.. Keep the songs coming you are awesome :)

  6. Mandolin Berns
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I went to a Woodbox Gang show in carbondale last month with Chicago Farmer opening. I’d never heard about you before this, however now I have a deep love for your music. I feel as if you looked right into my eyes and picked my brain during the show. I was sitting up inn the balcony and to your right. Mad respect. Please get back to me about this.
    Peace Love,
    Mandolin M Berns

  7. Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I am from Broadwell, Illinois, south of Lincoln and have been thur Delevan many times. I think I know the cop that hides out there. I have seen some video of you at John Hartford Memorial at Bean Blossom, and have become a fan. I am an old picker now living in St. Louis and I wish you best luck in the future. I see you will be on Cherokee this Friday…v.g.

  8. Stu Leal
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Hey Cody, really enjoyed the show in St.Louis with Greensky. Bought your DVD/T-shirt combo and just finished watching the disc. Pretty cool and inspiring! I moved down from a small Alberta town a few years ago, been writing for years myself, and I can relate so much to your style and music. I even learned a couple of licks on your DVD! Hope you don’t mind me using them! Look forward to catching another show soon and keep on rollin!

  9. Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Stu, great meeting you and thanks for filling the gas tank! I stole all of those licks so help yourself and best of luck. I’ll be returning to Saint Louis on Friday December 15th at Off Broadway. Will be posting the info on here soon. Thanks again and take care! Cody

  10. Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    Verne, thanks for the message! The Hartford Fest was one of my favorites this Summer…can’t recommend it enough! I’ll be back there this year and will be back in St. Louis Feb 15th at Off Broadway for my new album release party. Take Care, Cody

  11. Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much, it was an honor to be a part of that show! I warmed up the stage and the Woodbox Gang lit it on fire. I’ll be back in Carbondale on Feb 14th at Hangar 9! Take Care, Cody

  12. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Cody, I just heard The twenty dollar bill today on an independent radio station here in Houston, TX. The station is KPFT and they have introduced me to some really cool musicians! Now you are one of them. Love your music and style. When are you going to come on down here? Would love to take my wife and kids to your show, no reason to leave the kids out of it! They love good music too!

  13. Judy
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Amazing! I just heard Everybody Knows Everybody in this Town on WUMB – Boston. I was blown away by how great this song was–musically, lyrics, vocals – the whole package.

  14. Brian Sayers
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Ill be attending ur show in Urbana next Thursday. And I’m drivin down from the south side of Chicago to see you. I was just wondering if u were gonna play “Queen” I absolutely love that song. All the best if luck. U deserve it.

  15. Posted February 22, 2013 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    Consider it done Brian, Thanks for making the trip!

  16. Brian Sayers
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    It’ll be worth it. I can already tell !

  17. Posted March 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Cody,
    I was streaming The Whip out of Farmer City, IL and heard a bunch of your songs. Loved “Mackinaw Girl”. Reminded me of growing up in Pekin. Had to tracked you down on the net the rest of your songs on Spotify. Loving your stuff. Keep up the good work. Hope you make it up my way up here in the snowy Kenosha, WI area.
    Peace,
    Jim

  18. Fran
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Hey Cody,
    Just saw you at the Southern in Columbus, Ohio. You put on a great show! I hope you enjoy the rest of your dates with Todd Snider! Thanks for the music!

  19. Mark Fortman
    Posted June 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Cody, I must say I am partial to those homegrown artists from central Il farming communities. I’m sure you remember the late plus-sized frontman of the central Il group, Pork and the Havana Ducks. Jerry Armstrong/Pork was awesome and incorporating one or more of their songs into your routine would be an awesome tribute to a fixture of the IL music scene for 20+ years. If you haven’t heard much of their stuff, go onto youtube and listen to your heats content. Having grown up in Clinton and lived in mahomet, Champaign, Urbana and Bloomington, I had the privilege of being able to see them frequently at the area bars, fairs, etc. I hope you take my advice, it would certainly endear you to those folks from central IL that you haven’t already. From a fan currently living in Madison, WI—keep up the good great work!!! Your fan, Mark/Fast40.

  20. Jeff
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Saw you play at Martyrs last night with Charlie Parr, who I’ve been listening to for six years or so, and am going to have to start listening to more of your work as well. That was an excellent set; it’s always nice to get introduced to a local musician who’s worth a listen.

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