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John C. Reilly will bring friends to the barn
Enjoy classic country, folk and bluegrass on June 21st
John C. Reilly friends
You’ve seen John C. Reilly — the crude and crass character who is comfortable with inappropriate nudity and jokes about farting in movies like “Talladega Nights,” “Step Brothers,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” and “Cedar Rapids.”
You’ve also seen his darker, serious side in “Gangs of New York,” “Magnolia,” “Chicago,” “The Hours,” “The Perfect Storm” and “Walk the Line.”
Reilly’s familiar face is well-known.
As a musician, though, the actor, producer, screenwriter and comedian reveals an entirely new side.
“There is purity to expression in music, it is a direct line between you and the audience,” Reilly says. “You don’t have to do a lot of thinking — it just feels right.”
On Friday, John C. Reilly & Friends will show off his softer side, with a performance at the popular yet peculiar, Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa. The concert will feature Becky Stark from the band Lavender Diamond and Tom Brosseau the North Dakota folk troubadour. Also on stage will be Willie Watson from Old Crow Medicine Show, Sebastian Steinberg, Andru Bemis and Iowa’s own, Dan Bern.
More info: Free parking, camping available, food for purchase, coolers welcome, bring seating, family-friendly
Growing up, music was always a constant in his life, Reilly says. He purchased his first Yamaha classical guitar at a secondhand store for $20 and began to teach himself how to play. Now it’s a 1940s Gibson guitar that accompanies him.
“I get more of a personal satisfaction out of music rather than view it as a career,” says Reilly, who first realized he enjoyed playing for audiences when on tour to promote “Walk Hard.”
Reilly’s sound goes back much further. John C. Reilly & Friends brings close harmonies to classic country, folk, bluegrass and ancient spirituals from the 1940s and 1950s to keep the traditional songs alive.
“In general, people are touched by the sincerity and simple acoustic quality of what we do,” Reilly says.
Reilly and Friends have released two singles. One with Reilly and Brosseau, “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar” was originally performed by the Delmore Brothers. The other single, recorded with Stark is “I’ll Be There If You Ever Want” with tunes originally sung by Ray Price, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.
“I think his approach to what he is doing is interesting, in that he is a custodian for older bluegrass and country songs,” said Michael Roeder, a music buff and avid blogger. “He is doing cover versions of old stuff to bring that music back to audiences. I think that’s a nice approach because it draws people away in a different direction than the music he has done in movies.”
Some songs may be off tempo and rowdy while others may be quiet, intimate and pure.
“It’s not a wall sound blasting back at you, but more of an intricate quality pulling the audience closer to the stage,” Reilly says.
Reilly prefers intimate venues with a history, such as the Codfish Hollow Barn.
Located down a long hollow drive, visitors must wait for a tractor pulling a hay wagon to get to the long, rounded roof barn, which fits as many as 650 people.
Sean Moeller, founder of the popular indie music fan website, Daytrotter, found the barn when seeking out locations for Daytrotter’s Barnstomer tour in 2009.
“At Codfish Hollow, it’s more about the music,” Roeder says. “People who go see shows at the barn made the effort to drive out there. There is an emphasis on the band’s connection to the audience more so than any other venue.”
Still a stop on the annual Daytrotter tour, the barn has become a regular venue for other concerts. Owners Tiffany Biehl and her husband, have added a permanent stage and more electricity to the building built in 1954 by Tiffany’s grandfather.
“It’s magical, for every show we’ve had I take a step back and say, ‘Wow, this is really my barn,’” Biehl says. “It’s a crazy feeling. Everyone is there just to listen to the music, the bands step it up and give off good vibes.”