Truman’s Ridge keeps it sweet home Chicago


Truman’s Ridge plays at the House Cafe Wednesday night.

By Sarah Renae Contreras

DeKALB | Bluegrass may have been born in the windy city, but it lived on in DeKalb Wednesday night.

Local bluegrass band Truman’s Ridge hit the stage Wednesday night and delivered a set of what its members call “Chicago-style bluegrass.”

“Bluegrass was born in Chicago with Bill Monroe,” said Bruce Wallace, the band’s banjoist. “When you think about rock ‘n‘ roll, nobody knows who started it. Who started jazz? Nobody knows. Bluegrass was Bill Monroe. He lived up here. He and his brothers played out here. So we feel we’re really taking bluegrass back to its roots.”

The four-man Sycamore band came together two years ago. Since then, the group has been fine-tuning its sound, which blends Americana and jazz influences. Using a mix of guitars, banjo, harmonica, fiddle and upright bass, Truman’s Ridge creates a lively sound. It isn’t hard to be carried away and imagine yourself at an old-time country party.

“Every college town should have a place where people can hear eclectic music,” Wallace said.

Students don’t have to be crazy about the banjo to enjoy Truman’s Ridge.

“There are very few people that don’t get affected by the beat,” Wallace said. “Even the punk rockers will walk by the stage with a little strut to their step. It’s really a lot of fun. We want to draw in anybody who is interested in different sorts of music.”

Nor do you have to be about the old-timey sound.

“Bluegrass – it rolls around,” Wallace said. “It started in the ’50s, came back with the folk revival of the ’60s, appeared in the ’70s, ’80s and early 2000s, so we’re about due for another go-round. We’re hoping people who want to try different things will come out and give us a listen.”

Truman’s Ridge will drop into the House Café two more times this semester: Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. So if an evening filled with the lively sounds of fiddle and upright bass sounds like a good time to you, be sure to check out Truman’s Ridge.