The music of Cody Diekhoff (aka Chicago Farmer) has been referred to as “outlaw country with heart and humor”. That’s not an unfair assessment, although it is an incomplete one. On the new album Flyover Country (co-produced by Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist), he is backed by The Band of Heathens and runs the gamut from folk to country to classic rock and roll sounds.
When you put this album on, you’ll hear something immediately familiar in “Indiana Line”. After a brief intro on the acoustic guitar, the vocals sound a lot like John Fogerty on an early Creedence hit in both the delivery and the tone.
There is another comparison for Diekhoff’s voice, and you can hear it in songs like the title track. With a slower tempo and a pensive melody behind him, it’s hard not to think about Kevin Kinney of Drivin’ ‘n Cryin’ when you hear this one.
While he shows he does pretty well with heartfelt songs, he also does a pretty decent job of injecting humor into his songs. “$13 Beers” relates a familiar experience of going to a show at an arena only to realize that you can’t afford to enjoy a beer because they’re so overpriced. This is a song that is ready made for singing along.
Countless songs have been written about how little money musicians make. Sadly that hasn’t changed in a long time. “All in One Place” is one that takes a somewhat humorous look at this topic. In this rocker, he sings about how he’s going to take the T-shirt sales and “spend it all in one place.” With a pounding rhythm, loud guitars, and organ, this foot-stomper stands in contrast to some of the more folky numbers on the album.
One of the folky songs is the touching “Dirtiest Uniforms”. The style brings Todd Snider to mind as the lyrics tell the story of some heroes who didn’t come from the best background, or weren’t born with the most talent, but always gave it their best effort. The narrator delivers the message that with the lessons learned from these two heroes, he keeps “working with the tools that I’ve got”.
This album shows both Diekhoff’s ability to spin a tale and to write songs that get people to sing along. It also shows how well he is able to evoke emotions – whether it’s a song that makes you laugh or a song that hits you right in the heart. Beyond all that, you realize that his is a style that will endure in a world where music has seemingly become disposable. Flyover Country will be available everywhere on February 7. https://www.chicagofarmer.com