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""Hint of the Hills, Message from the Heart.""

Though the band doesn't want to be known only for its political music, Iowa City duo Illinois John Fever undeniably packs a strong message into each song.

"You go on fight o'er yr Bibles, put that rifle in my hand/Say it's so, Joe, so let's push these people from this land." These lyrics from the song "Cook Co Death Rag" speak explicitly of the horrors of war, one reason the group is included in tonight's PeaceFest benefit concert at the Picador, 330 E. Washington St. The band's goal is to educate its listeners on the status quo of the world and incite them to act. "We try to be aware of what we're doing," said Illinois John Fever's slide guitarist, who goes by the stage name Lute Tucker.

The two man band includes Tucker and Robert "the Doctor" Hall [sic]. Tucker refers to their music - unironically - as apocalypse blues, which the group says is a mix of punk, roots rock, and sounds from the Southern hills. Echoes of a juke joint are heard in their rhythms, which were inspired by rural life, farms, and gospel tunes that date back to times of slavery.

The group's progressive lyrics are oddly juxtaposed with the simple, country-style music that hints of a simpler time. "We think of ourselves as preservationists," Tucker said. This week, Illinois John Fever celebrated its first year of making music, an endeavor that has resulted in more than 24 new songs, a demo album recorded in its bathroom-sized basement studio called "the bunker," and a strong local following.

Tonight's show will raise money for the actual peace event, which will take place Sept. 9 from noon to 5 p.m. in College Green Park. [...]

Though their approach to peace is self-proclaimed as more metaphysical than political, the members of Illinois John Fever hope people do recognize there are real things they can do about situations they don't agree with. "You need to be aware of your surroundings and the footprint you leave on the world," Tucker said. "Uncomfortable things need to be talked about."

For him, music - be it overtly political or not - acts as a buffer for discussing difficult issues, saying it gives credence to the message. But the ultimate goal, Tucker said, is simple: "Live in a good way."
- Daily Iowan

"CMG Scenecast: Iowa City, Iowa"

"These two guys are new to the scene but their live shows have already begun decimating unsuspecting audiences. Their weapons: Acoustic guitar with slide, a drum kit, and two voices. Their theme: the impending apocalypse. Their channel: dirty-ass blues....[M]akes you feel like you might have actually train-hopped and lived life the hard way back in the days of the Dustbowl." - COKEMACHINEGLOW


9 SONG DEMO: January 2007
DEBUT RELEASE: February 2008




We're a hill country blues outfit from up north and the other side of the river. Influenced by R.L. Burnside, Fred McDowell, Bukka White and others, we play to preserve the acoustic roots of this music much as we play to make it our own. This was how the living blues found us, and this is how we mean to replenish what we take from the well.
Most remarkable, we strictly use acoustic instruments and record without amplifiers, gaining notice for our distinctive, trance-stomping originals. "Apocalypse blues," we call it—ragged preaching on genocide, heroin death, war mongers, sex slavery, and other blue terrors of this day.

We've competed in the 2007 IOWA BLUES CHALLENGE, blessed to lose not once but twice. And although ILLINOIS JOHN FEVER's not built to impress contest judges, we've been selected to appear in the 2007 and '08 MISSION CREEK MIDWEST festivals. And we're also proud to announce that we've been invited to appear at the DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL this summer in Minneapolis. Our first independent release will be available in February 2008, after which we plan to tour these contiguous United States.

Lute Tucker and Dr. Robt. Hall met years ago, back when both drove taxis for a living and ILLINOIS JOHN FEVER was launched in August 2006. Since that time, we've written and recorded more than twenty original songs, all of which cycle through our sets. "Your Acoustic Hoss" is collaborating with us to add extra strings and on-the-road percussion.