Live bluegrass at ‘Rockford’s oldest bar,’ Mary’s Place
By Brad Fugiel
Ever wondered how often world-class bluegrass music comes to one of your favorite local bars? It is probably more often than you think.
The Henhouse Prowlers, an international touring bluegrass band from Chicago, will be at Rockford’s Mary’s Place at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 9. In fact, the Prowlers have been making regular tour stops at Mary’s Place (Rockford’s oldest bar) at 602 N. Madison St. for several years.
The Prowlers consist of four members who play the banjo, stand-up bass, guitar and fiddle. Their catalog consists mostly of original bluegrass songs written throughout their 10-year existence, but also includes songs taken from all genres of music. They perform in front of a single microphone while looking dapper in their tailored suits. If you remember the Soggy Bottom Boys singing to one mic in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, you’ll smile at the style.
The Prowlers have played in cities all over the country, including the famous Telluride, Rocky Grass and Summer Camp music festivals. In addition to touring regularly throughout the United States, they have had several international tours throughout Europe and Africa. Last year, they qualified for the prestigious American Music Abroad (AMA) program, which is through the United States State Department. The AMA sends uniquely American musicians and bands to impoverished nations all over the world to work as musical ambassadors for the United States and its people. That incredibly successful AMA tour through western Africa even led to an invitation from the U.S. embassy in Nigeria to help in the U.S. embassy’s July 4 celebrations.
The Prowlers will remain very busy in the next few months, having been invited to tour Russia for two weeks, qualifying for the AMA program again (locations yet to be determined). This will coincide with their annual tour through Europe. In addition, they will also be recording a new album in the coming months.
Mary’s Place will host the Prowlers as they have for every Henhouse show in Rockford, other than one appearance at On The Waterfront. Mary’s Place continues to stand atop Rockford’s thriving music scene having friendly service, a warm atmosphere, and music acts of the highest caliber like the Henhouse Prowlers.
For more about the show, go to www.marysplacebar.com, or call (815) 962-7944.
From the Dec. 31, 2014-Jan. 6, 2015, issue