Cheeks McGee
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Cheeks McGee

Quincy, Illinois, United States

Quincy, Illinois, United States
Band Pop Acoustic


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"Q&A: Cheeks McGee talks about HillStock and local music scene."

Local musician Cheeks McGee recently answered some questions about the upcoming eight band event Hillstock, which is at 3 p.m. Saturday at Culver Stockton College in Canton, Mo.

He comments on the lineup choices, how the event came about and local music in the area. Thanks Cheeks for the interview below and for practicing what you preach, because he goes out and supports local bands in the area and new music all of the time. So, be like him and support local music and go to this show!

NAME: Ryan Christian “Cheeks McGee”
PROFESSION: Instrumental and jazz director at Highland High School and a musician
COLLEGE: Music Education bachelors with an emphasis in secondary instrumental music from Culver-Stockton College in 2003.

Well my good buddy Jason Richmond also attended Culver Stockton College and we ended up joining the same fraternity. We realized that at that time our fraternity house was made up of almost all musicians and we wanted to form an event to showcase all this talent. So in the spring of 2000 Jason and I sat down and put together our 1st DUStock, Delta Upsilon was the name of the fraternity. We used this as a rush tool to get upcoming freshman as well as the whole campus to our event which was held in our huge backyard. The response was great. We had three bands form from our house as well as Jason’s band Temperamental and my band at the time called Hoohash.

HillStock officially started the year after Jason and I graduated from CSC which was the 2003-2004 school year and the headlining act that year was one of my personal hero’s and mentors that played trumpet which was Maynard Ferguson and his band. I was invited to play during the festival. DUStock is in its 10th year as a music event at Culver and HillStock is in its seventh year. Jason and I are very proud that those festivals are still alive and well attended.

Culver-Stockton has a committee that selects the bands. The Student Activities Director is now Brent Hickenbottom and he was in my fraternity and my college roommate. He was a senior at DU when we started DUstock and now calls me on input when they put HillStock together on any bands that would be good for it.

I am excited about this years lineup and I’m glad they went with more of a local approach with my good friends Predawn Hour, Double Vision, Pike Station, the Graduate and more. We have so many great bands around the area and it feels good that we can showcase them and introduce these bands to college kids.

I also get to emcee the event this year.

I think a way we could start to improve it is if all the other local bands and musicians support each other. We are all in this together and it needs to start with going to other local bands shows or at least stopping by. I know how frustrating it is sometimes getting people out to see live music but lets help each other out and promote for one another tell your friends buy their merch or just spread the word about local music.

I really think your blog “The Breakdown” is a great source for upcoming shows that people might not realize is happening. Also, Y101 does a great thing by featuring local music once a day at 5:45pm and the Grizz 105.9 has the Girls on Rock at 5 p.m. which are all things that promote and help local artists and we thank you and Quincy for all you do to help local music.

Annual Hillstock
BANDS: Jason Richmond, Cheeks McGee, Predawn Hour, Double Vision, Maybe Later, Pike Station, Cohesion, and the Graduate
WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Outside of the Gladys Crown Student Center at Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Mo.
INFO: Contact Brent Hickenbottom at (573) 288-6571 or at - The Quincy Herald-Whig - Jessica Martin

"SafetySuit from Nashville headlines back-to-school concert tonight at Quincy University"

SafetySuit, This Is Energy and Cheeks McGee will perform at a back-to-school concert at 8 p.m. tonight in the Quincy University stadium.

"We've been wanting to do one for a few years, but didn't have the funds or capability," said Crystal Sutter, director of student development at Quincy University. "But it worked it out this year."

The headlining band, SafetySuit, was chosen by QU students from the Student Programming Board who attended the National Association of Campus Activities conference in Boston last February.

SafetySuit is a Universal Music Group recording artist from Nashville, Tenn. The band's most recent album, "Life Left to Go," features the hit single "Someone Like You," which hit No. 17 on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart this summer.

St. Louis band, This is Energy, recently has received international media attention, including on the "MTV Buzzworthy Blog."

The group is really excited about the show at QU.

"I think the crowd will hear and see This Is Energy at our absolute best," said Dave Beezy, guitarist. "Fans tell us that being in the same room with the band playing and singing is a magical experience, and we feel that magic coming from them as much as we try to put it out there."

Cheeks McGee is a popular acoustic artist from Quincy who recently released a live full-length album, "Cheeks McGee Live!," featuring his best performances over the last year.

"I really love playing at colleges, I think the college crowds really understand what I do," McGee said. "It is always a good time."

He also really enjoys the music from headliners SafetySuit.

"I recently downloaded SafetySuit's CD and have been listening to it nonstop," McGee said. "I'm really excited about them."

Admission is $10 with a college identification card, $15 for non-students, and free to students with a QU Identification card. Concessions stand will be available.

For more information, call QU's Student Affairs office at (217) 228-5432, ext. 3788.

-- - The Quincy Herald-Whig - Jessica Martin

"Q&A: Cheeks McGee set to open for Bret Michaels"

Quincy acoustic act Cheeks McGee is gearing up to open for the Bret Michaels shows Wednesday and Thursday at Backwaters. He talks about what he has been up to and how it feels to get the chance to open for a “rockstar.”

“It hit me by total surprise that I was even considered to open. Bryan Smith of TNT Harley Davidson in Quincy is the promoter of the show and was the guy to actually get Bret Michaels to play in Quincy. Bryan and his family are wonderful people, and he has hired me many times playing for some of his functions and along the way he became a fan of my music. So he comes to a lot of my shows and is constantly hooking me up with gigs or getting my info to people that are looking for live music. He put in my name and discussed it with his team along with the tour managers and sound and light people. It also helped that my management company (SoZo Productions) is running sound and lights for the show, so they are familiar with my setup, and it doesn’t hurt that I don’t take up too much room either.”

“I am super excited to get the opportunity to play a show with Bret Michaels. This summer has been really good to me. I did a full nationwide tour, played six sets in two days at SummerCamp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Ill., with musicians such as my hero Keller Williams, Moe, Umphree’s McGee, The Avett Brothers and Gov’t Mule to name a few. Now getting to play two nights with Bret Michaels. I am very grateful.”

“My sound can be very versatile, and I usually play to the type of crowd that is before me. I feed off people and the interactions from the crowd to the stage. People have labeled my sound as ‘high energy acoustic rock’ or ‘a one-man band.’ I play acoustic guitar and use a live looping pedal that records what I play in real time. After a loop is set, I hit my guitar for a kick drum and snare sound, use vocal percussion or beatboxing for the hi hat sound, use a pedal to drop my guitar sound one octave for the bass guitar, then solo with my trumpet and flugelhorn, and end it with singing over all that and adding vocal layers. When all that is going, it sounds like a full band in front of you, but it is just me creating layers upon layers of music stacked like a cake.”

“I’m the party before the party! It’s going to be a huge two nights. I am actually releasing a live album Wednesday night available via my new website. My management company, SoZo Productions has recorded lots of my live shows, so we compiled about 10 to 13 of my best live moments and songs onto a full-length album. This will be my first official live release and will be available on my website and itunes. So on Wednesday, Aug. 18, go to and check out the new website, download the new live album and check my upcoming dates! There are lots of fun things in the works for this fall.”

“Bret Michaels is the definition of a “rockstar” and it is great that Quincy will get to experience this.”

Jessica Martin - The Local Q - Jessica Martin

"Quincy offers rich and growing music scene"

"He [Cheeks McGee] writes songs relevant to today's youth and usually has some pretty hilarious lyrics." - The Falcon (Qunicy University paper) by Brittany Ellerman

"After Math ("Funions Follies")"

"Cheeks McGee debuted his new band and they were tremendous. As much as I enjoy his solo performances with the loop stuff, his band is way better. Of course having Keith, Big Mike and a super drummer helps too.

Way too much fun." - Rodney Hart (Quincy Herald Whig)

""There's something about a local favorite""

Q-town musician Cheeks McGee is entering a new stage
of his music career. With the release of his new CD, A
New Beginning, and a tour across the country coming up
this summer, this local favorite may not be so local soon.
“There is something for everyone on the album,” Mc-
Gee said. “It you want slow, it’s on the album; if you want
fast, it’s on the album.”
McGee, originally from Kahoka, Mo., hosted a CD re-
lease party for the album on May 3
at the Winters West
Wing in Quincy.
This is just the beginning before his tour this summer.
Though he toured last year, McGee’s plan is to hit both
coasts in a more expansive tour.
Yet, touring is not so easy, according to McGee. There’s
a lot of work involved with booking. To ease the work,
his stage name actually comes in handy.
“I use my real name as a booking agent and the act is
Cheeks McGee. It’s only one but they think it’s two.”
The name Cheeks McGee actually has a base in his love
for music. Originally playing trumpet, McGee took after
players such as Dizzy Gillespie, who puffed out his cheeks
when he played. McGee did the same.
“When I got into junior high, the high school kids start-
ed to call me ‘Cheeks,’” McGee said. “It became cool, I
was the junior high kid sitting with the seniors. It kind of
caught on, and the teachers started calling me that.”
It stayed with him ever since, so he decided to use
Cheeks McGee when he needed a stage name.
Ever since high school, McGee has wanted to play music
professionally. “I played trumpet in a band for a couple
of years. It started to take off, so we switched to guitars,
but I was horrible. So they put me on bass.”
After playing bass for a while, McGee tried to master
the guitar again one summer in North Carolina. It was
there that he learned how to play the instrument and
started songwriting, which he hopes to do for the rest of
his life.
“It felt so good to be like, ‘I’m so disturbed in my life
but I just want to write about it, get it off my chest.’ I
thought this is what I want to do with my life: write mu-
sic,” he said.
McGee carried his love for music into his academic ca-
reer at Culver Stockton College. Originally he was only a
music major. Though he wants to be a professional musi-
cian, he has had to make some practical decisions. He
therefore majored in Music Education and currently is a
high school band teacher at a local school.
“I’m using my education to make money and then us-
ing the money to be a performer,” McGee said. “I hope
to leave and pursue what I’ve always wanted to do, and do
it while I’m young.”
McGee looks forward to touring the states this summer,
but don’t worry about not seeing this local legend. He
can still be seen around at Quincy venues.

BY - Erin Hodgson
& Casey Francis
- Quincy University Paper - The Falcon

"Royal Bliss returning to perform in Quincy the same night as Cheeks McGee and Friends Freedom Festival"

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Quincy has a big city-sized music conflict Saturday with Cheeks and Friends Freedom Festival, featuring nine acts, and national touring act Royal Bliss with Resident Hero and Shamen's Harvest at Backwater's the same day.

Royal Bliss lead singer Neal Middleton says he just found out that Freedom Fest is the same night as the Backwaters show and he wishes the band had known, "because they would've combined them somehow." The Royal Bliss guys are talking about maybe loading up their RV after the Backwaters show and heading out to the Adams County Fairgrounds to take advantage of the free camping, after-party and local music.

After hearing of the conflict, Cheeks McGee said "who knows, maybe I can convince them to play the after-party."

When it comes down to it, it's about supporting music in the area, and as Middleton says, "hopefully everybody will hit up both shows."
- Quincy Herald Whig

"Listen Up Concert"

Fresh off his nationwide tour Cheeks McGee of the Quincy, Ill., music scene, will again bring his barefoot acoustic jams to the Listen Up stage. - Daily Gate City

"A New Beginning for Quincy artist"

Quincy's one man jam band Cheeks McGee, a local favorite at Jeds Brewhouse on 18th and Chestnut recently released his own album titled "A New Beginning."
Known for his original and entertaining shows in the Quincy area, it was a real treat to be able to review the album as i had high hopes for what I would hear. I didnt come away dissapointed. It was exactly what i expected it to be, an album full of acoustic, entertaining lyrics and some nice integration of trumpets, percussion and backup vocals.
Most of the lyrics of the album are something a student can relate to. On McGee's myspace he describes them about as "songs about love, women, drinks, and sexual innuendos!" "A New Beginning" does nothing to refute that claim as hooks and verses are certainly geared towards the ups and downs of relationships.
McGee tells the stories in a laid back but rhythmic way that is both inviting and challenging to the listener. You really have to tune in to the album, which can be cumbersome to some, but not enough to be turned away by the music.
I found the album to be very catchy as a whole. The lines of "Wiki wiki" are sure to catch the listener's attention. A trumpet session accompanied by a chorus plugging "" was absolutely hilarious and a brilliant promotional placement.
"I'll Forgive You When I Forget You..." the closing song on the album, was outstanding. The song is emotional and, as the title would suggest, about a broken relationship. McGee shows a different side on this track, something a little more slower and more tonal than the rest but it fits just right as the end of the album.
Songs accompanied by backup vocalist Tiffany Dean were intriguing. McGee and Dean work well as a duet.
If you are into a mellow, easy listening style of music, acoustics accompanied by some percussion and trumpets then "A New Beginning" is definitely for you. Anyone else looking for something new and local should at least give it a listen. - The Falcon - Quincy University/Richard Markey - staff writer


"Detachment" (2001)- Cheeks (solo album)

"Live at Culver" (2002)- Southern BBQ Trip (Cheeks former band at college)

"Less is More Festival" @ Bradley University (2005)- Highlights of Cheeks McGee's performance (DVD)

"Three Chords Make a Song" @ Listen Up Festival (2004)- Highlights of Festival (DVD)

"Coconut Pirate Sessions" (2006) - a series of "practice jams" and experimentation that was never finished
**Release single - "One More Day" - first Cheeks McGee song to get on local radio stations
"A New Beginning" (2007) - 1st full length album!!
***Released the single - "A New Beginning" - played on local radio stations
***Released 2nd single - "I'll Forgive you when i forget you..." played on local radio stations

"Cheeks McGee Live" (2010) - Live tracks of select shows from 2009 & 2010.



Cheeks McGee is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator originally from a small rural farming community in the Northeast corner of Missouri. Cheeks plays his trademark mahogany acoustic guitar while looping tasty riffs and chord progressions using a live looping sampler. Once the loop is set Cheeks adds percussive patterns by either hitting his guitar or making unique sounds with his mouth to personify the illusion of having a drummer and bass player. He then throws down some wicked solos with his trusty sidekick...the trumpet. (which he has been playing since he was 10 years old!!) He also has a plethora of pedals he uses with his acoustic guitar to create some outrageous sounds to take listeners to a different dimension of music appreciation!
Cheeks McGee is a fun-loving one man jam band and singer/songwriter known for his songs about love, women, good times, and what happens when you mix the three together! McGee's on stage antics and humorous...yet sometimes sentimental lyrics wins the hearts of the crowd which makes the fans love him more and more!
Cheeks McGee has gained the respect of many bands around the area as well as across the nation and is constantly sitting in with touring bands performing on his trumpet.

Using his skills on various instruments, Cheeks has built a solo show that has opened the eyes and grabbed the attention of many bands, people, and venues in the area as well as across the nation!!

This is where we are today. A high-energy and mesmerizing, get out of your seat show that makes his fans want to come back for more.

This past summer Cheeks put together his fourth NATIONWIDE TOUR that expanded across the Country from coast to coast and included over 30 live performances. Cheeks also had his debut performance at the 2010 SUMMER CAMP MUSIC FESTIVAL in Chillicothe IL playing along side musicians such as Keller WIlliams, Moe, Govt Mule, The Avett Brothers and more which expanded his fan base and brought his unique solo show to fans from across the nation!

In mid August 2010 he was asked to open up back to back nights for Mr. Bret Michaels on his "Roses and Thorns World Tour" then two weeks later was asked to open for Safetysuit when they passed through town on their college tour. (Safetysuit is best known for their single "Stay" which topped at #1 on VH1's Top 20 Countdown.


Bret Michaels
Maynard Ferguson
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Reverend Horton Heat
Buckwheat Zydeco
Melvin Taylor
Lucky Boys Confusion
The Graduate
The Forcast
Alex Winston
Corey Crowder
Check out

THE BAND: On some selected shows Cheeks has very talented musicians backing him on many songs that he used to do just acoustically. The bands sound is funk/alternative rock and a bit of a power-pop vibe. The music will have you on your feet dancing all night. If you threw the musical sounds of Dave Matthews band, Cake, P-Funk, and Jack Johnson into a musical blender im pretty sure you would pour out a tasty concoction that will forever change your life. That concoction would be Cheeks McGee and his band!


office # - (217) 653-8763