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Dolly Varden turns 20

Gearing up for the 20th anniversary of Dolly Varden. The band actually started more like 22 years ago as Stump The Host broke up. After being told by everyone from guys on the street to A&R reps at PolyGram records that Stump was just too “twangy,” Diane and I thought we’d try making a rock band. Bad timing! 1992 and 93 were the years that “country” rock (Jayhawks, Uncle tupelo) was actually popular! Oh, well. We tried with the able assistance of Lisa Wertman on bass and Matt Thobe on drums. Mark Balletto joined sometime in 93, and we played in town, did a bit of touring and called ourselves Dolly Varden. I never really connected with the music we were making, though. We recorded an EP in 94 that was never released. Diane’s songs were the best of the bunch. I decided to go back to writing and singing the way I knew best: with some folk / country narrative, acoustic guitar accompaniment, and honesty instead of attitude. It felt right. Lisa left around this time. It was an amicable split and we’re still friends. We recruited Mike Bradburn from the Andersons to play bass and in 1995 we began recording “Mouthful of Lies” in our home studio. That’s when I reconnected with the music and the heart and soul of Dolly Varden was born, particularly marked by the song, “Not Ashamed,” which appears to be about a relationship but might just be about playing music from the heart.

Dolly Varden 20th Anniversary ConcertSaturday, May 2nd, 8pm
Old Town School Of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

advance tickets on sale now