CARBONDALE — One year after a double album release party at The Varsity Center, Brent Stewart returns to Southern Illinois to celebrate a new record, “Home to Roam.”
Stewart and guitarist Daniel Tejada will perform an album release show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 6, at The Varsity in Carbondale.
“Home to Roam” is Stewart’s ninth album. In March 2017, Stewart and Tejada released the albums “The Restlessness” and “Haze” at The Varsity, and the show was filmed and broadcast by WSIU PBS as part of their “Little Egypt Live” series.
“The idea behind ‘Home to Roam’ really started at that show at The Varsity last year,” Stewart said. “We played a few of the songs that ended up on the record, and we basically used the same combo of musicians. We had so much fun at that show, we just took it right into the studio.”
“Home to Roam” contains 14 songs and was recorded at Misunderstudio in Stewart’s hometown of Murphysboro by Mike Lescelius.
In addition to Stewart on vocals and acoustic guitar and Dan Tejada on electric and acoustic guitars, a number of guest musicians are featured. The list includes Tobias Merriman on fiddle; Kyle Triplett (The Bankesters) on banjo, mandolin and guitar; Nathan Graham (The People vs. Hugh Deneal, Jenny Johnson Band) on upright bass; and Jessica Pease and Amy Etcheson (Rattle and Dags) on duet vocals.
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Joining Stewart and Tejada on stage at The Varsity will be Merriman, Pease and Etcheson.
“The new album is something of a love letter to Southern Illinois,” said Stewart, who currently lives in St. Louis. “A lot of the songs deal with the dichotomy of loving your hometown but not being able to stay there. I was looking for a real lived-in, casual feel for the songs on this record, something you might associate with Bob Dylan’s ‘Basement Tapes’ or a Dan Hicks and the ‘Hot Licks’ album. It’s that obvious presence of camaraderie in the music, I kind of feel like is the ‘Southern Illinois Sound,’ if there is such a thing.”
“Home to Roam” will be available on CD for $10 at The Varsity show. The show at the Varsity will be followed by a St. Louis-area release show at 7 p.m. April 7 at Evangeline’s Bistro and Music House in the city’s Central West End.
For more about Brent Stewart, including samples of his music, go to brentstewartmusic.net.
The April 6 show at The Varsity starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased in advance at thevarsitycenter.org or at the door beginning at 7, when the doors open. The Varsity Bar also will open at 7.
The Varsity is downtown Carbondale at 418 S. Illinois Ave. To keep up with events, go to facebook.com/varsitycenter.