The Bears of Blue River
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The Bears of Blue River

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Bears of Blue River "Dames""

"The Bears of Blue River are big on melody. Huge on it, in fact. Their debut full-length, Dames, is in many ways an ode to melody, a testament to the infinitude of a powerful hook, a refreshingly simple pop album with more than a few hidden treasures. Dames can be cute and sparkly, it can be sassy and moody, and it can even rock out pretty hard at times, but above all it acts as a young band’s tribute to the last sixty years of pop music, at once pensively nostalgic and unabashedly modern. And the melodies are towering, constructed as they are on a firm foundation of musical knowledge and discerning taste."
excerpt from a review on "Dames" available in full here: - Musical Family Tree


"Hailing from Chicago, The Bears Of Blue River have just dropped a new EP entitled The Killer Bee Scare. Engineered and produced with friends Margot and the Nuclear So & So's, The Killer Bee Scare combines breezy indie-pop with folk sensibilities. EP opener "Crayola" builds slowly over a jangly guitar riff and simple drum beat only to crescendo into a chorus of voices. "Betty Homemaker" is a sunny little folk tune that features playful tag-team his and hers vocals. Infectious harmonies abound, and the mood in both instrumentation and lyrical themes remains light and fun. Even when Gavin Wilkinson and company implore "Don't waste your time on me!," the backing music seems all honeybees and flowers. This melodically addictive little EP seems unfit for a January release date. The Killer Bee Scare seems better suited for spring. It's the musical equivalent of a light-breeze bicycle ride on a clear, sunny day. -- Capt. Obvious" - Thanks Captain Obvious!


"Closing out the Rock-N-Roll For The Cure was the Bears of Blue River and their lively performance of alternative/Americana music. Sometimes you might hear a bit of bluegrass and country woven within their songs too. This reviewer enjoyed the fun and carefree tone from this band especially when they used different ways and types of musical sounds (vocal or instrumental). BOBR's songs were witty as well as whimsical observations of life, love and the somewhat obscure. For example, new song, On Your Knees, was a very lively and happy tune about watching porn. SouthSide liked the wit found in the lyrics - "...on my knees ...I've learned to please..." She also recommends listening to The Joke (poking fun at one's self thinking he/she is a joke) and Tickle Pink (off the Bear's current EP). The late-night audience was treated to a double encore performance. The first one featured a song called Good Spark with Gavin (BOBR's front man on vocals and guitar) singing solo. The other, Dead Skunk, finally closed out their show with an energetic bang. For more information, visit" - Southside on the Town

"METROMIX Minneapolis"

"Chicago sextet The Bears of Blue River serve up bubbly indie-pop with a pinch of country twang and cutesy boy/girl vocals on their newly released debut EP, "The Killer Bee Scare." The combination of jangly guitars, exuberant harmonies and gently chugging rhythms works wonders on record, and will likely hold up just as strongly on stage tonight" - METROMIX

"NUVO - Indianapolis, IN"

"On Killer Bee, Bears frontman Gavin Wilkinson set out to make an album with melodies that stick in your head. He succeeded. His band has crafted an indie folk-pop gem that blends styles ranging from the mid-century styles of Johnny and June Carter Cash to Simon and Garfunkel, Roy Orbison to Frankie Lymon....The benefits of his musical education are evident on The Killer Bee Scare, with five catchy songs that linger in your mind. Along with Gard’s show-stealing vocals, McManus becomes a musical tailor, weaving his bass through the melodies like thread, pulling all the elements together into a cohesive unit while also giving the songs a buoyant boost. Wilkinson ditches the somber mood that drove This Story and replaces it with a lighter introspection on relationships and age. Finally, his male band mates come together and drape the compositions with doo-wop harmonies, a perfect element to an already pleasurable listening experience." - NUVO

"The Mad Mackerel (UK)"

"a truly delightful mix of folk pop that is simply charming (and cleverly carries enough of an edge to avoid ever becoming too saccharine or twee). Bubblegum is carried along on a jaunty melody, sweet vocals, and a catchy chorus that makes you think of waking up in a log cabin to early morning sunshine. Crayola begins as a slightly more subdued number before a bold chorus stirs everything up, and Betty Homemaker is carried along on a trademark Johnny Cash beat with classic "his and hers" vocals that playfully build to a swelling, climactic finish.
The Bears Of Blue River are from Chicago and we like them a whole lot. " - The Mad Mackerel

"" - Kristen Barker


The Trumpet Sounds Drunk EP - 2009 Self-Released
Available Digitally Only on Musical Family Tree.

The Killer Bee Scare EP - January 2010 Fall Records
Available on ITunes
Physical copies are currently Sold Out.
Charted on CMJ Top 100 for three weeks initially as an independent release
-Betty Homemaker

Dames LP -
Available Digitally on BandCamp
Cassette Version (via Residual Stacks Recording Company
March 2012)
CD Version (via Glass Tank Productions: Louisville, KY) AVAILABLE ON iTunes
-Boy Toy
-Cry Baby

Flamingo/MES-44 7" (via Rhed Rholl: Nashville, TN) AVAILABLE NOW

Self-Released Singles:
-Yellow Belly (July 2011)

New Self-Titled EP due out Summer 2013.



Simple folks with simple hearts with one simple desire; Share the Bear!

The Bears of Blue River are a Chicago based outfit that has played over 400+ shows since January 2010.
The project began as a cleansing for Wilkinson as he fleshed out a new approach to raw, simple pop songs in 2008 and plotted his escape from Indiana. For almost two years the songs would exist only as home recordings that were craft by Wilkinson and a cast of revolving friends who on that particular day just happened to be over. However the end of 2009 and a relocation to Chicago began to expose the Yellow Brick Road of song the band would follow.
First heading out in support of "The Killer Bee Scare" was engineered and produced with Margot & the Nuclear So & So's. (Sony/Epic)
The band's on again/off again nation wide touring schedule has included shows with Jookabox (Asthmatic Kitty), Margot & the Nuclear So & So's, Blitzen Trapper (Sub Pop), Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop), Daniel Johnston, Casper and the Cookies, GIVERS, The Lumineers, Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps, Folklore (Elf Power), Josiah Wolf (WHY?), Or the Whale, These United States, The Growlers, The Moondoggies, Dastardly, Wooden Wand, The Daredevil Christopher Wright, and many more. Their stops included a Daytrotter session, two SXSW appearances, The Foburg Festival (LA), Midpoint Music Festival '10-'11 (OH), Starry Nights Festival (KY), Oranje Fest (IN), Otherfest (MS), Chicago MOBFest (IL), an NBC morning news performance in Minneapolis, as well as many ranting reviews from around the US and overseas!
The Ep spent 8+ weeks in CMJ's Top 200 as well as debuting in the Top 100 despite it being an independent release.
The Bears of Blue River later re-released "Killer.." with Fall Records, former home of Page France/Cotton Jones (Suicide Squeeze) and The Antlers. (French Kiss)
In the fall of 2010 the band headed back into the studio with engineer Tyler Watkins again to record their first LP "Dames." It was not until fall 2011 though that the record surfaced at random online for a pay what you wish download rate via Bandcamp.
The rest of 2011 left BOBR in between a heavy touring schedule, work, and writing which became a tricky balance.

2012 provided the release of Dames on Cassette via Residual Stacks Recording Company, on Compact Disc via Glass Tank Productions, and a brand new 7" via the Nashville label, Rhed Rholl Recordings.

The Bears of Blue River continue to write, record, and tour as often as possible.

Please contact us with any additional information requests!