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Chicago Farmer

Flyover Country – 2020 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Chicago Farmer

Chicago Farmer is the moniker of Chicago-based singer/songwriter Cody Diekhoff, who is backed by the Band of Heathens on this entertaining mix of alt.-country, folk and traditional country. There is lot of social commentary as in the folksy title track that recalls Diekhoff's hero Woody Guthrie ("There's pastures of plenty, not enough goes around") and "Collars," which laments the disparity in the justice system depending on economic status ("White collar crime pays and blue collar crime takes away"). The rocker "Mother Nature's Daughter" documents the distressed condition of the working class ("They've spent a lifetime breaking us down, watching the tears they go by").

Diekhoff's biting sense of humor comes through as well. With "$13 Beers," Diekhoff melodramatically relates the horror of going to a "big country show" and being confronted with overpriced beverages ("But I am just a poor boy my money disappears, and I just can't get drunk on $13 beers"), but all works out well as he instead goes to a Robbie Fulks show to get his fill of $4 beers. In "All In One Place," Diekhoff details the genesis of a tune ("Started writing this song in a flood, finished it in a drought/Recorded in a heat wave, it was cold when it came out") and describes his performing ability with self-deprecating modesty ("I'm a song and dance man who never learned to dance").

Diekhoff wrote nine of the tracks, the lone cover being an effectively maudlin take on Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man." With Diekhoff's pleasant vocals reminiscent of Steve Young and Gary Stewart and tasteful production by Diekhoff along with Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist of the Band of Heathens, "Flyover Country" is a compelling effort.