Rebecca Rego & The Trainmen
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Rebecca Rego & The Trainmen

Champaign, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Champaign, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Folk Americana




"Rebecca Rego & The Trainmen"

"[Tolono is] an album worth celebrating, from Rego's smart, attentive songwriting, to her earthy and appealing Edie Brickell-like voice, to the rustic warmth of the band that chugs along behind her" - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Five questions with ... Rebecca Rego"

After six years, most of Rebecca Rego's band mates started getting too busy with life - graduate school, new babies, etc. - to devote time to music.
So after four records - including 2012's "Seconds" - Rego was ready for a change. The 30-year-old Champaign, Ill., resident started to seek out other musicians and began working on filling out her solo performance with new songs. Rego started spending more weekends in her husband's hometown of Kankakee, Ill., playing at events like the farmers market or lunches in the park.
It was there that she met drummer Matt Yeates, and bass and mandolin player Eric Fitts, who along with guitar and banjo player Cory Ponton now make up Rebecca Rego & The Trainmen - The Herald Palladium

"Gapers Block -Canasta, REGO @ Old Town School of Folk Music"

Canasta, REGO @ Old Town School of Folk Music

This Saturday the Old Town School of Folk Music hosts two of Chicago's finest, Canasta and REGO. While Canasta is still riding off of the success of its May, 2010 release The Fakeout, The Tease And The Breather, REGO is celebrating the upcoming March 1 release of its newest EP, All These Bones And Us.

pressalbum.jpgREGO's All These Bones And Us is an acoustic showcase of singer/songwriter Rebecca Rego. Despite the fragile and dreamlike moments common on ATBAU, this six-track EP is a decidedly dark offering of songs. However, that is not to say that the songs on ATBAU are not still stunning and highly listenable.

Lyrically, Rego gets intensely personal, inviting the listener into states of uncertainty and wonder. Vocally, she ranges between airy croons and chilling warbles. What's important to note about this EP is its impressive instrumentals. The acoustic singer/songwriter album too often results in strong vocals and insightful lyrics sung over simple guitar plucks. This is not the case on ATBAU. Tracks like the southern-twang-tinged "Light" and the poppy "I Don't Know Pt. 2" incorporate orchestral string arrangements giving these songs a "bigger" feel than one would expect.

REGO typically appears as an alt-country foursome, but All These Bones And Us shows brainchild, Rebecca Rego, in a different light. The stripped-down quality of this EP gives the songs a more vulnerable presentation than previous REGO tracks. Listeners will be wont to sense that these songs are genuinely passionate products of the songwriter's heart and mind.

1279119419_canasta-the-fakeout-the-tease-the-breather-2010.jpgHeadlining Saturday night's show are fellow locals Canasta. Canasta are self-described as orchestral-pop and, frankly I can't think of a better way to describe this band. The Fakeout, The Tease And The Breather is definitely pop, but it's certainly not limited to said genre either. What it is an amalgamation of clever and sometimes obscure instrumentation ("Reading The Map Upside Down"), radio-ready dance numbers ("Mexico City") and heartfelt lyrics via the powerful vocals of both Matt Priest and Elizabeth Lindau ("Becoming You").

Fakeout is robust in both song length (average song duration is between 4 and a half and 5 minutes) and variety. Brooding confessionals such as "Throwaway" are contrasted by quirky sing-a-longs like "Choosing Sides." By the time I reach the concluding track, it was hard to believe the journey Canasta has taken me on in just eleven song. Each one endears itself to a new set of the listener's emotions and each new instrument the band brings into the mix--be it trombone, synth, violin, what have you--is more refreshingly unexpected than the last.

Even traditional pop instruments take on several facets on Fakeout. The guitar and keys that create the sexy funk that appears on "Mountains Of Molehills" have turned to haunting overtones in the dramatic closer "Plan Your Escape" and that's after they've spanned a wide range of sounds and tones in between.

The Fakeout, The Teaser And The Breather is certainly not an album to be taken lightly. Enjoying this album might be effortless, but developing an appreciation for the craftsmanship behind the songs is an inevitable bi-product of doing so.

Tickets are still available for Saturday's show. They're $15, but Old Town School Members pay only $13. Sewing Pattern will also be playing. The show starts at 7:30pm and is all ages. The Old Town School of Folk Music is located at 4544 N Lincoln Ave.

- Gapers Block

"Windy City Rock-Review of Seconds"

"Like Neil Young, Rego hits both the gentle acoustic strums and the fiery country stomps with the same emotional tones." - Windy City Rock

"Chicago Reader-Rego, the nom de strum of bartender and songstress"

Rego, the nom de strum of bartender and songstress Rebecca Rego, has wrapped up her third release, an EP called All These Bones and Us, recorded with producer and composer Mike Przgoda. Bones is due March 1 on the label run by her management, RWIM. Rego plays a release party with Canasta at the Old Town School of Folk Music on February 26. - Chicago Reader

"Chicago Tribune -Rego's searching for a sound, but she has found her groove"

Last fall, Rebecca Rego was having a bit of a crisis, a songwriter identity crisis of sorts.

"It was one of those 'What am I doing with my life?' moments," she said, laughing.

The 28-year-old singer/songwriter lives in Roscoe Village, but at the time she was in between apartments, housesitting for strangers in Oak Park.

"Oak Park doesn't seem that far away from the city, but at the time, once I was there — it was pretty hard to get back into Chicago and do anything, so I was kind of isolated and wondering 'What am I doing with my music?'"

Rego stumbled upon some unexpected inspiration — cassette tapes she had made when she was 16 and just beginning to write songs. Finding out where she had been was about to help propel her forward.
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"I was shocked. I mean, I was horrified in some ways by what was on there," she said, laughing, "but in listening, I would stop and go, 'Wait, that's a great line, I should use that,' or realize there was something worth saving in a chorus. It made me really happy that I had saved all that stuff, to give it a new life."

What she salvaged of her inspired teenage work makes up one-fourth of her new EP, "All These Bones and Us," which is being released Tuesday on her management company's in-house label, RWIM.

Said Rego: "The funny thing about those old lines is that it was poignant to what was going on in my life — still, I could fit it all together, old stuff with new."

While Rego is vague on where some of her current songs come from, she explained the meaning of one track, based on a fatal bike accident last summer in her neighborhood.

"I wrote it from her parents' perspective. Our drummer had just had a baby, and so the idea of losing a child — I mean, it sounds so melodramatic now, but I just sort of inhabited the situation but filled it in with my feelings. That's essentially how all my song writing is."

As for her current musical inspirations, Rego looks no further than her new turntable, which she picked up for Christmas after becoming envious when her guitarist got one.

"My fiance inherited his parents' record collection," Rego said. "And so I am listening to all sorts of things, old stuff, like Hank Williams, from that, as well as new bands. It's just fun to put on records."

As the band issues its new EP, it's also busy working on an album. Rego said it's much more of a full-band affair, written as a quintet, more than her just bringing fully formed songs to the band.

The Milwaukee native — she moved here four years ago, after college — is well-attached to her adopted hometown, which is playing a big role in driving the album's sound.

"I am trying to find a sound that is 'Chicago,'" Rego said. "How can we make this sound like where we are from? To me, that's important, because I love it here, and it's a great town for music, but also, we are trying to communicate to people some sort of feeling: How does it feel to live in Chicago? How does it feel to be in a certain time and place? That's important to us as a band. All these amazing experiences — I want them to be in the music. I want to record this time in my life."

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Price: $15; 773-728-6000 - Chicago Tribune

"the Daily Iowan story"

REGO is currently touring the Midwest, hitting venues in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Tonight, the band will mostly play tracks from its latest album, *From the Royal Arcade*, which came out in 2009. Rego will also perform a few songs from her acoustic solo album, All of These Bones and Us which will be released February 2012.
- The Daily Iowan

"Guest Post: MXNW Chicago Correspondent Lily Hansen Interviews REGO"

Now that I live in Seattle it’s understandable that the Chicago part of this blog has been tough to maintain. I’ve really enjoyed reviewing the new releases of my friends and contemporaries back in Chicago but interviews and live reviews are much more difficult. Luckily, a few weeks ago I met Lily Hansen – a Chicago freelance writer and music lover – through a work client. In a classic win-win scenario, we’ve worked out a fun “Chicago Correspondent” relationship for her and her good writing. Basically, I send her a list of shows that I would go to if I still lived in Chicago, she picks her favorites, we get her into the show, and she writes a piece for this blog on it!

Below is Lily’s first post for MidByNorthwest – an interview with one of the first musicians I met after I moved to Chicago, Rebecca Rego. Please read, enjoy, and drop Lily a comment!

Midwestern Frame of Mind: an Interview with Rebecca Rego

by Lily Hansen, Chicago Correspondent

After spending five minutes with singer-songwriter Rebecca Rego, it’s difficult to believe that the bubbly, statuesque redhead once suffered from crippling stage fright. Rego’s enigmatic stage presence, in which she bares her stories and soul in front of her audiences, indicates a confident woman who simply wants her music and opinions heard. Yet, like her rotating roles between front woman of indie folk band REGO and as the captain of her own solo career, Rebecca Rego is a fluid creature who is determined to restructure Chicago’s sound and officially put us back on the music map.

Get some inspiration from the Village People.

“I’ve been bartending since college and I’ve always just really enjoyed working in that field. Working at The Village Tap, there’s regulars you wait on everyday and that you see more than your boyfriend. Plus you’re getting drunk with them! You see a side of them that other people don’t and I’ve definitely used a few stories I’ve heard as inspiration in my songs. A lot of the people that I’ve met through bartending have become loyal fans of the band and we’ve built up an amazing following just through customers I’ve met at work.”

She’s a Wood Nymph at Heart.

“My favorite venue in Chicago is definitely Schubas. It’s just totally chill and I know all of the bartenders and can just hang out and feel comfortable. Schubas is like magic for me. I’m just on this beautiful, little stage that has so much history and can reflect on how many amazing people have played there before me. Also I like wood around me when I play. That’s the main reason why I love it.”

It’s All Relative- But It May Not Be Literal.

I’ve always had really bad stage fright and it’s the idea you’re getting up in front of people and sharing these songs and intimate details about your life. My band is always watching for signs of stage fright right before we go on and we started doing pre-show rituals just to chill me out. A shot of whiskey usually helps. (Laughs) I’ve played in front of 500 people before and been like, no big deal, but then we’ll have some tiny show in Milwaukee and I get super intimidated just because I’m playing in my hometown.

I play songs about relationships between parents and daughters and they’re not necessarily about my own family but my parents can’t help but infer that. It’s nerve wracking because I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings but at the same time I can’t curb myself as a songwriter.

I’ve had some ex-boyfriends ask if songs are about them but it’s mostly now that people come up to my current boyfriend and ask if a certain song is about him. And it’s usually not a flattering song so thankfully it’s not. (Laughs)

When In Doubt, Enjoy the Free Beer.

REGO’s played CMJ before and we’re playing SXSW this year. Although the festivals are definitely good exposure I always think of it as a vacation and that I’m going to make the best of it and just have fun. I feel like everyone already has a prior agenda and certain bands are already hyped up so I don’t think many bands are actually getting discovered. It’s just good experience to hang out, meet other bands, and network with people. That’s more important than going down there to meet an A&R person and getting discovered.

Fork Over Some Chi-Town Cred

I love my band and they’re pretty rooted here but I’ve definitely thought about moving to a smaller city, just because it’s easier to get discovered. I’ve been looking at cities where my favorite bands come from and most of them are from Portland, Ohio, even Cleveland. Hands down one of my favorite singers, Joe Pug, is from here and his musical style and everything that he does is exactly what I want to be doing. He’s kind of a role model so thankfully I do see that kind of music coming out of here.

I feel like Chicago doesn’t have a sound. With Austin you can identify their sound and the same thing with Brooklyn, L.A., or Portland. You can’t put your finger on Chicago’s sound and that’s sort of the problem. - Mid by North West music blog

"Shephard Express"

"On her six-song debut, Milwaukee native and current Chicagoan Rebecca Rego is about as introspectively folkie as an independent singer-songwriter can be. Her youthful tone and occasionally unexpected phrasing make all that inward reflection more appealing than it might be in lesser hands. The couple of occasions where she exhibits a slight country twang serve her well. Anyone seeking a CD that spans the appeal of Ani DiFranco and Sarah McLachlan may do themselves a favor by learning to be lonely with Rego." - Jamie Lee Rake - Shephard Express Milwaukee

"Around Hear"

With her slightly twanged and swallowed vowel vocals giving her an easy listenin' sound akin to Norah Jones, acoustic-guitar-playing singer/ songwriter Rebecca Rego's "Learning to be Lonely" is a highly polished six-song debut...

- David C. Eldredge - Illinois Entertainer

"Around Hear"

With her slightly twanged and swallowed vowel vocals giving her an easy listenin' sound akin to Norah Jones, acoustic-guitar-playing singer/ songwriter Rebecca Rego's "Learning to be Lonely" is a highly polished six-song debut...

- David C. Eldredge - Illinois Entertainer


Rebecca Rego is a wonderful singer/songwriter with a hauntingly beautiful voice

Micheal Teach - Chicago Acoustic Underground

"Farmhouse Magazine Nov/Dec 2007" - Farmhouse

"Blog Review"

Learning To Be Lonely is the promising debut EP from Chicago based singer/songerwriter Rebecca Rego. The six songs included here are firmly in a folk and alt-country mode, with echoes of artists like Joni Mitchell, Patti Griffin and Bob Dylan. Apart from an assured and literate songwriting style, the most appealing thing about Learning To Be Lonely is Rego’s voice, which is by turns warm, intimate and playful. Rego is set to go into the studio to record a full length record, and if this EP is any indication, it should be something to hear. Definitely recommended for folk and alt-country fans. Standout cuts: “Dreams (Aren’t Made Here),” “The Best Thing You Ever Gave Me” and “Where The Lights Are.” - Just a Modern Rock Blog


REBECCA REGO: Dreams (Aren't Made Here)

Listen to Rebecca Rego's "Dreams (Aren't Made Here)"

By Michael Schmitt
For RedEye

January 31 2008

Listen to Rebecca Rego's "Dreams (Aren't Made Here)"

Return to the Chi-Tunes home page.
Rebecca Rego can be found at

Life itself is the inspiration for Rebecca Rego's music.

"A lot of my songs I guess come from different stories and things that people tell me," the singer/songwriter said. "I carry a notebook around with me and record a lot of different things, and think of lines while I'm out … and kind of later go back and piece them all together and put them to music."

Rego started playing guitar when she was young and eventually studied classical guitar for five years at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. But it wasn't until college that she began writing her own songs.

"I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this after college," Rego said. "But, it's just so rewarding to do something that you love. … I don't know what else I would do."

Rego's music is primarily folk-influenced, but she would like to step beyond those roots.

"I'm trying to develop that country and blues sound. I'm really influenced by Wilco," she said. "I'm trying to evolve my sound a little bit."

Her matured sound will appear in Rego's first full-length album, which she hopes to release in late summer. She also plans to try playing with a supporting band on her upcoming tour.

Although she may reshape her sound and lineup, Rego still finds her lyrics from the extraneous nature of everyday life.

"Just recently my drummer…was just telling the story about a hotel she stopped at and this girl she talked to who was from Alaska," Rego said. "I thought it was really interesting, so I kind of worked that into a new song I was writing. At the same time I just played a gig at a nursing home--which was interesting--so I kind of combined those two things and made a song out of it."

She laughs, "Sometimes it's completely unrelated."

[ Michael Schmitt is a redeye special contributor. ] - Chicago Red-EYE

"Podcast Feature!!!"

Hey everyone I was featured on this podcast in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Here is the link you can listen on itunes and on this website ( - Friday Morning Gibberish

"Millennium Muisc Conference"

"Great....solid songs" - Patriot News -Harrisburg,PA


"Glasswerk Media"

After what sounds like a clumsy start to the proceedings, Rebecca Rego extinguishes any flames of apprehension as our collective ear adjusts to her individual guitar playing and its perfectly suited musical accompaniment (& Stephanie Whiton: Drums/AUX percussion, Jason Ptros-Bass). Her country tinged vocal shares (like good country music often does) reminiscent tales of bygone romances and regrets.

Delivered with poignant patience, bouncy buoyancy and anything in-between, lady folkster Rebecca Rego has justly attracted comparison to the likes of Patty Griffin & Emmylou Harris with her song-writing and execution. What really shines though is her vocal similarity to Norah Jones and her quirky likeness to Regina Spektor, above any strong song fuelled penmanship.

With a myriad of upcoming talent around at the moment, Dawn Kinnard in particular, Chicago based 26 year old Rebecca Rego is sure to appeal to an older market as opposed to the more attitude borne artists who frequent the all too mediocre music charts of today. It would be tragic for Rego to go unrecognised by aiming at the wrong crowd, let’s hope she happens upon the exposure she rightly deserves as she travels along her marketing company paved path. - Glasswerk UK

"MWA Approved"

Did you go and see Rebecca Rego and The Trainmen back in February at The Hideout for their record release party? NO!? Well you missed a golden opportunity to check out one of the best folk rock bands that the Midwest has to offer. With small town values mixed in with big city dreams, Rebecca Rego and The Trainmen are definitely a Midwest Action favorite. Now it’s been over 3 months since Tolono was released and these folk rockers are continuing to rock as hard as ever.

The release show went well but being the great musicians they are, they are not satisfied yet. Having returned from a few shows in the Midwest they are turning right around to head back out on a tour encompassing the majority of the Midwest. This is a band that doesn’t just write and play the old tell-tale songs of standard folk but instead create something deeper and more personal. Rego has prided herself on creating songs that touch on Midwestern ideals, small town luxuries, and family make up while still keeping true to Chicago and the city life she has known very well. Tolono is start to finish an amazing album (started listening a few days ago and haven’t stopped) and will sell you from the start. - Midwest Action

"Family, farmscapes, and the 90s"

When I conjure up an idea of what modern Americana is in my mind, what I hear is something very close to what Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen have created with Tolono. Musically, the album is sparse, in the best sense, but not lacking in impressive instrumentation. From the omnipresent acoustic guitar to the mandolin, slide guitar, harmonica, violin: it has all the hallmarks of what Americana should be. - Smile Politely


Tolono -- 2014 



"[Tolono] is charmingly sincere and offers a genuine reflection of life's well-travelled roads."

        -C'Ville Weekly  (Charlottesville, Virginia)

"[Tolono is] an amazing album...and will sell you from the start."

        -Midwest Action 

"[Tolono] is an album worth celebrating, from Rego's smart, attentive songwriting to her earthy and appealing Edie Brickell-like voice, to the rustic warmth of the band that chugs along behind her"

        -Piet Levy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 "[Tolono] is personal, sincere, charming and genuine."


"I love [Tolono]!"

        - Gene Shay ( WXPN Philadelphia) 

"Rego gets intensely personal, inviting the listener into states of uncertainty and wonder...[Her] songs are genuinely passionate products of the songwriter's heart and mind."

        -Gapers Block 

Band Members