Jay Stanek
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Jay Stanek

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"Review: Turning of the Wheel EP"

It's hard to fathom how Big Sky Stringband derived a bluegrass instrumental from "The Jeffersons," but "Sherman Hemsley" is a toe-tapping winner nonetheless. The country & western quintet's six-song EP, Turning Of The Wheel, also includes "Rich Koz," a fun tribute to the erstwhile Son Of Svenghoulie, as well as "Get Down Boys," a somber song about a family losing its farm. (www.bigskystringband.com)
- Terrence Flamm

http://illinoisentertainer.com/2007/05/30/local-cd-reviews-19/ - Illinois Entertainer


Discography

1140 (Jay Stanek solo) - Full-length, 13-song, studio album; released March '08

With his bands:
Places In Between (The Otis Problem) - Full-length, studio album; released May '07

Turning of the Wheel (Big Sky Stringband) - 6-song EP; released February '07

Flyin' Blind (Big Sky Stringband) - Full-length, live album; released August '05

TwangOff Homegrown Series: August 2004 (Big Sky Stringband) - Live album featuring Big Sky's winning TwangOff performance; released September '04

Electric Demo (Big Sky Stringband) - Featuring four original electric songs; released May '03

Big Sky String Band (Big Sky Stringband) - Ten song acoustic release performed entirely by Jay Stanek and Chris Meier, and featuring the song "Centralia" as heard on NPR and PBS; released June '01

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Bio

Jay Stanek is a prolific singer/songwriter performing throughout Chicagoland and beyond. The multi-talented Stanek fronts two diverse bands along with his solo efforts. With the perspective of a well-traveled, well-worn soul, Stanek's songs give voice to the voiceless and tell unique stories about scenes around his native Chicago and beyond.

You can hear more of Jay's music and learn more about his bands at:
www.myspace.com/jaystanek
www.myspace.com/bigskystringband (Big Sky Stringband)
www.myspace.com/theotisproblem (The Otis Problem)

As guitarist and vocalist for the Big Sky Stringband, Stanek leads the band through songs that stretch out into elaborate jams grounded in folk, rock, bluegrass, and country traditions. On the flip-side, he lends piano, guitar, and vocals to the alt-country/indie-rock quintet The Otis Problem, focusing the band on concise and meaningful tunes.

But in his solo work, Stanek is truly able to showcase his singular abilities as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. Skilled on the guitar, piano, bass, banjo, and mandolin, Stanek's solo work is compelling and engaging folk music that explores familiar themes and anecdotes that shed light on the human condition.

Jay Stanek's debut solo album, "1140," is a 13-song effort is out now through CD Baby. It was recorded in an apartment at 1140 N. Wolcott and at Shirk Music + Sound in Chicago with Stephen Shirk as producer and engineer. Stanek plays nearly every instrument on the album, allowing Big Sky's Chris Meier to strum the mandolin and long-time playing partner Adrian Garza to tap out the beat on drums and percussion. Two of the albums tracks feature additional Big Sky Stringband members.

Stanek has performed solo at venues including Uncommon Ground, 3rd Coast, and Ed & Joe's, among many others. With his bands, Stanek has played Cubby Bear (Chicago), Hideout (Chicago), Kinetic Playground (Chicago), Sheffield Garden Walk (Chicago), Highdive (Champaign), Cosmic Railroad Family Gathering (Pleasant Prairie, Wisc.), and many other venues, festivals, and clubs.