Folk/Americana Nominees


Hailing from the small town of Mount Sterling, Ill. (and leaving it in 1988), Angie Heaton has lived in the Champaign-Urbana area for over 15 years. Although she received a drum kit at the age of six and her first guitar in the sixth grade, Heaton says she didn’t really learn to play either until high school, when she would jam with some friends. She played in her first official band while at the University of Missouri and has played locally in two bands – Corndolly and Liquorette. Heaton has been writing her own music for 10 years now. Heaton names Concrete Blonde, Jeanette Napolitano, The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, and everything around her that she listens to as musical influences. She is currently working on her new album, which she plans to record in April.


Urbana or Champaign? Urbana

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? Big Lebowski

Beatles or The Stones? The Rolling Stones

Which dead celebrity would you like to face in a boxing match? Elvis, but not because I’d want to box him. I’d want to hold him.

You can catch Angie Heaton live at the Local Music Awards show this April, or in Chicago May 10.

— Susan Schomburg


Claiming both Champaign and Charleston as their home, alt-country band Elsinore is comprised of lead vocalist/acoustic guitarist Ryan Groff, bassist/vocalist Chris Eitel, conga-percussionist/vocalist Dave Pride and pianist/vocalist Mark Woolwine. The band has had formal education in music composition as well as prior band experience. Groff has been a member of both The Last Resorts and Green Jenkins, while Eitel has played with Trickle Down and Solar Rhythm Band. Drawing influences from Ben Folds, Wilco and The Shins, this quartet blends tight vocal harmonies over bongo-driven beats. Despite being an official band only since Oct. 2004, Elsinore has earned a strong local fan base. This year’s nomination for Best Folk-Americana Band marks their second LMA nomination, not bad for a two-year-old event. With such immediate praise, it is no surprise Elsinore has often been referred to as the band “most like ice cream laced with heroine” … for both its sweet and addicting attributes.


Urbana or Champaign? Champaign

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? Tenenbaums

Beatles or The Stones? Beatles

Which Greek god would you like to be? Sweatalotinus. It’s fitting because no matter what I try, I can’t suppress my excessive sweating. Whether it’s playing a show under the obviously sweat-causing lights, or if I’m sitting in a chair … I’m sweaty.

Check out The Elsinores at The Iron Post March 10

– Brian McGovern


The Beauty Shop broke out in the United Kingdom before testing the musical waters of their Champaign hometown. The British have a short attention span, so they’re always looking for something new, says John Hoeffler, songwriter, singer and guitarist for the trio. Influenced by old country music stars, old-school punk, and his favorite band, the Minute Men, Hoeffler strips down his songs to their bare bones, avoiding synthesizers, claps, and especially keyboards. Lyrics for the Beauty Shop are inspired by the colloquialisms he hears on talk radio. “So it’s not really my lyrics, but … organizing them together kind of makes them mine.” The band formed in 1999 and Ben Ucherek, the drummer, joined in July 2005. Before the Beauty Shop, Hoeffler sang protest songs in coffee shops because, “I do believe what’s right for me is what’s right for everybody else and that’s, like, straight up from Ralph Waldo Emerson.”


Urbana or Champaign? Urbana

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? Big Lebowski

Beatles or The Stones? I don’t like either of them. [As for the Beatles-] two down two to go, as far as I’m concerned.

What was the first CD you ever owned? Slave to the Grind by Skid Row

Come see The Beauty Shop bring home the bacon March 4 at the Iron Post and March 11 at Mike ‘n Molly’s.

– Tatyana Safronova


After 15 years of playing guitar and three CDs under her belt, Joni Laurence accredits her initial introduction to music to her mother’s infrequent playing of little ditties and self-written songs on an acoustic guitar she kept hanging from a nail on her wall. After playing in the all-women singer/songwriter groups Girlfriends and Dear Connie during grad school, Laurence became a solo act. Although she claims singing her self-written songs to an audience is the craziest thing she’s ever done, she seems to have perfected it to a science. When asked what her ideal venue to perform in is, she said, “My favorite place to play in CU has been the Unitarian Universalist Church. You can’t beat the acoustics in that room.”


Urbana or Champaign? I’m a Libra – I can’t choose. I love both for different reasons.

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? Huh? I think I’m showing my age, or perhaps, how un-hip I am.

Beatles or The Stones? Definitely the Beatles! Great chord progressions. Great harmonies.

What’s your most embarrassing moment? Last year I was opening for Catie Curtis in Bloomington. I had 20 minutes on the stage, and at the beginning of the second song I broke a string. There were 250 people in the audience and the green room was blocks away, it seemed. So, I continued my set with five strings. I must have gone to my happy place because I don’t remember much about it, other than babbling incessantly. The audience seemed to chuckle frequently, and after the show, I sold 18 CDs. Vulnerability is entertaining, I guess. Lesson learned – always keep spare strings on the stage … even if you’re a folkie.

Joni Laurence’s last show in town before making a move to Portland is slated to be April 26 at the Canopy Club. Don’t miss it.

– Caryle Wisel


Beautiful lyrics, beautiful voices, beautiful production and beautiful wardrobes- this is the Elanors. Blending fashion and function, the sharply dressed quartet has only existed in their current form since this past summer and have yet to reveal their full-band selves to CU. However, the husband and wife team of Noah and Adriel Harris (from Champaign and Chicago, respectively) have been playing together for over three years. The newcomers, Daniel Johnson and Rodrigo Palmas, both herald from Detroit and have previously played in the band Judah Johnson. The Elanors’ influences come from every part of the musical spectrum –

from Bob Dylan to Sade, Chopin to The Zombies. Bringing together elements from such an expansive array of tastes, the band produces a unique sound – both haunting and rich.


Urbana or Champaign? We live in Champaign and like it a whole lot. Then again, nothing beats the really big prizes for Monday Night Football at the Iron Post. I mean, what would we do without our Budweiser light-up key chain?

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? We are probably the only people left on earth who haven’t seen the Big Lebowski yet. I don’t think we’re fit to answer this question.

Beatles or The Stones? Beatles.

Use your favorite swear in a sentence: “I hate you and your ass face,” Corky Sinclair.

Check out Noah this Sunday at the Cowboy Monkey and Adriel March 29 at The Canopy Club with Liz Janes.

– Brian McGovern

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