Cornmeal - In the Kitchen
Jason Berger-Mandolin, Vocals
Erik Smith-Guitar, Vocals
Wavy Dave Burlingame-Banjo, Vocals
Chris Gangi-String Bass
Ruby Harris-Violin, Mandolin, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Thick in vocal harmonies and instrumentally stimulating, Cornmeal explores the depths of acoustic-based bluegrass, bringing forth vibrant life and extending the boundaries of the traditional setting. Singer/songwriter, Jason Berger’s lyrics grasp emotion from the obscure depths of the soul placing them in quirky relatable topics ranging from trains to corn to scallywags.
Three founding members, Jason Berger (vocals, mandolin), Erik Smith (vocals, acoustic guitar), and Chris Gangi (String bass) started the band as a side project almost two years ago only to watch it grow into a Chicago phenomenon. Having grown up in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, the three began making music together in various incarnations over ten years ago.
Over a year ago, Cornmeal acquired the talents of Wavy Dave Burlingame (vocals, 5-string banjo), adding a rich vocal texture and versatile presence. Critical to the band’s recent success has been the addition of the newest member, drummer Martin Kondziolka. Adding a jazz and swing element to the already diversified sound, Martin holds a solid rhythmic layer which enables the band to break free from the structure of traditional bluegrass and add the element of improvisation.
Presently, the band has been playing over 100 dates a year throughout the mid-west gaining valuable exposure and amassing an interest in the band wherever it goes. Playing high profile venues such as The Vic Theatre, The Abbey Pub, and Martyr’s in Chicago, The Barrymore Theatre and the Union Terrace in Madison, and festivals such as the Big Wu Family Reunion in Wisconsin, and Blackhawk Farms Music Festival in Illinois, the band has shared the stage with such highly acclaimed national acts as THE DEL McCOURY BAND, JOHN HARTFORD, LITTLE FEAT, THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND, THE YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND, DARK STAR ORCHESTRA and THE BIG WU.
With the release of their debut studio album In The Kitchen (Livn’ Live Records), Cornmeal is poised to turn the likeliest of skeptics into true lovers of that high and lonesome sound. Recorded in Chicago, the self-produced album contains 8 original tracks featuring brilliant vocal harmonies and thoughtful roots oriented songwriting.
Performing tirelessly, Cornmeal prides itself on the energy it puts forth each night creating a live performance that continues to shape itself into a truly unique experience.
2- Dirty Rag
3- Red Speckled Thai
4- The Boy and the Scientist
5- Yesterday Morning
7- Wishing Well
8- Raging River
9- Moving On Up