Interview by Scott Preston
Cornmeal continues to forge a path all their own, pushing the boundaries of bluegrass, Americana and folk for a whole new generation of music lovers. Steeped in the tradition of musical acts such as Old and in the Way, John Hartford, and New Grass Revival, Cornmeal has proven to be an influential presence in the world of roots music. Cornmeal has consistently evolved its sound and stage performance using bluegrass as a springboard for long improvisational work and songs ranging from country, rock and blues to jazz, funk and disco.
Heavily influenced by American roots and folk music, Cornmeal was started as a side project over seven years ago only to watch it grow into a Chicago institution. Known for their vast musical repertoire, lightning fast tempos, and impeccable harmonies, the five-piece acoustic-electric band prides itself on the energy it puts forth each night creating an unrivalled live performance that continues to shape itself into a truly unique experience. (from cornmealinthekitchen.com)
Cincy Groove: How did it feel to win the Jammy award for New Groove?
Chris Gangi: We were all pretty excited about it. We have been touring for a long time, pretty much keeping it to the midwest. But with something like this happening it really opens things up for us nationally.
Cincy Groove: Did the band get to jam with anyone at The Jammys?
Chris Gangi: Our fiddle player, Allie Kral got to jam with some people. We were on the road at the time, so we flew her out to the Jammys while we were still touring. Allie got to sit in with Tea Leaf Green, Big Head Todd, Warren Haynes.
Cincy Groove: How many shows does Cornmeal play in a year?
Chris Gangi: It ranges anywhere from 130 - 160 shows a year. Like I said earlier we are expanding to more of a national market now so that number is starting to creep up pretty quickly. Its one of those things, when you are a musician, its hard to turn down work because you never know when your next paying gig is going to be. You just can't take anything for granted in this business. We just feel fortunate to be able to play and have a good time doing it.
Cincy Groove: How did Cornmeal first get together?
Chris Gangi: There was three of us in the beginning, we were playing in a more jam rock oriented group and we had started talking about starting an acoustic side project. Basically if your in a band looking to hire other musicians, you can't hire anyone until you have something to offer them. If you don't have any gigs yet, nobody is going to bother with you. So we went out and got a wed night gig at a small pub here in Chicago. So then it was a lot easier to say "Why don't you come down and sit in with us?" The other original two guys aren't in the band anymore, but we have assembled a very solid lineup over the years.
Read the full Interview here