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Thursday, July 12, 2012 01:00 pm

Prairie State Heartache makes a break


As the old saying goes, “You never know until you try,” and how true it is. Prairie State Heartache, a Springfield rock band, just took the plunge, as they soon make the move to Savannah, Ga., with a new record in the can and eyes on the road.

The band, featuring Jonathan Cour, Granville (Ben) Helm, Andrew Shackelford and Justin Angel, went through stages and phases for a time, all the while focusing on work with producer Rick Beato, best known for his big-time success with Shinedown and Need to Breathe. Cour, a prolific songwriter, found early triumphs a few years ago by working with some heavyweights in the industry. He moved to Savannah some time back and the band began working with the Atlanta-based Beato. The resulting record seems to poise the boys for a shot at radio airplay and touring, the necessary ingredients to getting somewhere in the music business.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the album.  It turned out better than we imagined,” said Cour.  “Going into the studio, I think we were all nervous to be working with such a big name like Rick Beato. We didn’t know what to expect, but Rick made the whole process fun and enjoyable. The best part about the whole experience is that the band gained a fan, an ally and a true friend.”

By relocating to the South, the band feels the sound they’ve developed, strike a “Southern rock-Americana feel,” would be more accepted there, where that type of music originated and continues. Only a year ago in IT’s Band Spotlight, PSH was Cour-less, reorganizing while working on demos to present to Beato. Now Cour is in the mix, the five-song EP is complete and the band heads south with the future wide open.

 “When this core of the group got together it just clicked. That’s why we’re doing it. There’s something here,” said Helm. “The recording has, like Rick says, ‘Something for everybody,’ with ballads, rockers, in-betweeners and appeals on many levels. It’s all of us, but together.”

Helm sees the band on the road in six months opening for bigger names, promoting the record and working the radio market. Cour also has goals, not as definite, but just as vital.

“What I love about this band is our spontaneity and our ability to surprise. The group was started without any big aspirations in mind.  Two years later we’ve recorded an album with a platinum recording producer and seem to be creating a stir in the local music scene,” said Cour. “I’m not sure where we’ll be down the road.  I can tell you I like not having any big plans in mind for the group. I just hope we’re still making music together.”

Check out Prairie State Heartache, 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, at Catch 22 with guest Grant Essig at the CD release party. It may be awhile before you can again.

The Illinois State Fair Museum Foundation hosts their big fundraiser, Corn Dog Kickoff, July 14, at the Orr building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Harmony Deep plays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., extremely worth the price of the $4 admission, but there’s also free food, wine and beer, plus games, auctions, tractor displays and more. Help yourself and help out the museum for the fair.

I’m playing the Mercury Theater in Denver with Jason Eklund on July 12 (Jason’s birthday – heaven help us) and the San Juan River Music Festival in Pagosa Springs, Colo., on Sunday. In my stead at the Brewhaus this week is Beautiful Collision, an up-and-coming brother duo band playing Cuban-flavored rock. They’re also at Marly’s on the Friday and Saturday.

Bon voyage.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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