In the state of Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker has extended the “Stay At Home” order through April 30 as the novel coronavirus accelerates across the nation.
While you’re doing your part at home flattening the curve, you can treat yourself to the sounds of Lake County’s finest homegrown music.
The land of lakes has plenty of talented individuals that have succeeded in the music industry, and this your opportunity to create your own Spotify list in the process.
We all hope that the numbers of COVID-19 drop soon so that we’ll be in Highland Park at Ravinia Festival, in Waukegan at Genesee Theatre, in Grayslake for the Lake County Fair or numerous other community festivals so we can see these masterminds in music perform their craft live.
Here’s a list of born and bred Lake Countians that you can add to your stay at home music playlist.
Andrew Bird of Lake Forest
The talented former Lake County resident Andrew Bird. The Lake Forest High School and Northwestern grad had albums “Break it Yourself” and “Are You Serious” peak at no. 1 in the US Folk Billboard Charts. Before pursuing a solo career, the violinist, singer and songwriter was a band member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire. Bird has returned home a few times to perform at Ravinia Festival. Since 1996, Bird has released 15 studio albums as well as a slew of live albums and Eps.
Jack Benny of Waukegan
Besides Ray Bradbury, the late Jack Benny is one of Lake County’s most notable celebrities. The jack-of-all-trades was a TV star, film actor, vaudevillian, comedian and musician as he a splendid violinist. The gentleman born Benjamin Kubelsky had a weekly radio show turned television show that ran on NBC and CBS from 1932-to-1955. He also was a master of gages. Benny also has an Academy Award from his film “The Hollywood Revue of 1929.” Following dozens of film, TV and awards won, Benny passed away, but his legend lives on like the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Waukegan.
Grace Slick (lead singer of Jefferson Airplane) of Highland Park
That iconic voice from Jefferson Airplane came from the mouth of the City of Highland Park bred performer Grace Wing (otherwise known as Grace Slick). While she didn’t live in the land of lakes city for that long, we will still claim her as our own. For over four decades, Slick provided that powerhouse voice of her to a slew of well-known hits like “White Rabbit” in her Jefferson Airplane days, “We Built This City” during her Starship career and “Dreams” as a solo artist. Slick has since retired, but the perfect album is “Surrealistic Pillow” for a stint with stay at home orders.
Adam Jones (of the band Tool) of Libertyville
This 1990s band has been known in many circles with their expertise in musicianship and arrangement in their genre. Tool is a band of highly-critical acclaim. Selling over 13 million albums in the states, the band, including Jones of Libertyville, has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards achieving the award four times in their 30-year career (including one for “Best Metal Performance” for their song “7empest” this year). Pending on the spike of the novel coronavirus, this storied band’s tour makes stops in the land of Lincoln on June 10 and a stop in Madison on June 9. Jones also was classmates with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello at Libertyville High School.
Dylan Kroll of Waukegan
Kroll was the winner of 2015 I Love Lake County Song Contest with his song “The Bounty of Lake County.” The Lake Forest-born rock, acapella and country musician is a fourth-generation Lake County dweller. Kroll has an extensive repertoire of instruments as he plays guitar, ukulele, piano, bass, drums, accordion, harmonica as well as others. Since winning the contest, the Lake County local musician has dropped albums like “Metropolis” and “The Christmas Special.” Kroll’s song was Visit Lake County’s anthem for two summer campaigns.
Billy Corgan of Highland Park
“The world is a vampire.” Everybody from the 1990s knows that phrase. Those words spoken from the lips of Billy Corgan, who is also a current resident of Lake County has been the lead man of bands like Zwan, Spirits in the Sky and most famously the Smashing Pumpkins. As a member of the pumpkins, Corgan and the gang registered to Grammy wins, and they sold over 30 million records. Corgan also has released a number of albums as a solo artist and as a hobby deejayed under the moniker DJ Ivory Tower. For six years, Corgan also was the proprietor of a tea shop called Madame Zuzu’s. The store has since closed since 2018.
SHOES of Zion
John and Jeff Murphy partnered up with Gary Klebe and they created a band called Shoes. The ZeeBee alums achieved fame after teaching themselves how to play an instrument and never looked back. With 180 songs on 17 albums recorded since 1974, SHOES remains the power pop rock band of their era.
Tom Morello (from the band Rage Against the Machine) of Libertyville
From Rage Against the Machine, to Audioslave, to Prophets of Rage, to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Libertyville native had a hand with an extensive range of musicians for over four decades. As a member of Rage, Morello and his were nominated for seven Grammy Awards winning two. The guitarist has also made an appearance in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Morello’s mother was an English teacher at Libertyville High School, and Jones was also a classmate with the Audioslave ax player. Morello and Rage are again back on tour with Grammy-nominated Run the Jewels, but were forced to postpone their two-day Chicago appearances due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Deborah Voigt of Wheeling
Who says opera can’t be soothing at times. Deborah Voigt was raised in Wheeling and grew up to be a dramatic soprano singing roles in operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss. Voigt has sung numerous classical arrangements accompanied by very well-known orchestras. She has released two albums. On the album “Ariadne” the New York Times said the album stands as one of the top classical recordings of 2001.
MC Chris of Libertyville
If you haven’t heard of nerdcore hip hop, now is your time. If you haven’t watched Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, he was pretty heavily involved. From “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” to “Sealab 2021,” to writing for “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast” and much more, the Libertyville resident was all over the late-night television programming from 2000-04. The rapper, born Christopher Brendan Ward, has dropped 10 studio albums, a few EPs and two children’s albums.
Chevelle of Grayslake
Brothers Pete, Sam and Joe Loeffler created the band Chevelle in Grayslake. The Christian Rock band has sold over four million records worldwide. Their second album “Wonder What’s Next” went platinum in 2002. “Send the Pain Below,” a single from the aforementioned album reached no. 1 in the mainstream rock and modern rock Billboard Charts. Their song “The Clincher” was featured in Madden 2005. The Loefflers of Grayslake are planning to release a new album in 2020.
Honorable Mention: Michael Jordan formerly of Highland Park
Well he may not have sung in the song at all, but the former Lake County resident was hooping in a bonafide chart-topping song’s music video. That counts right? MJ and MJ – Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. One commenter on YouTube says this statement that I will utilize for the sake of this blog “This is the most 90s song to ever exist.” Enjoy.
For more information on how better to experience your Lake County’s Music List, continue here. Pair it with a bite to eat and drinks from our Lake County Libation Trail with curbside pickup and delivery. Stay healthy and stay connected Lake County!