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Righteous Hillbillies: Rock with a country swagger

Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 3:45 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 3:58 a.m. CDT
Barret Harvey (left) on drums and percussion; Kev Wright, vocals & lead guitar; Johnny Gadeikis, bass guitar; and Brent James, vocals and rhythm guitar, are the Joliet-based band The Righteous Hillbillies. They Southern rockers will be playing at 9 p.m. May 10 at Champs in downtown Sterling.

STERLING – The Righteous Hillbillies, one of the toughest, purest, and rawest purveyors of Southern rock anywhere, will be playing at 9 p.m. May 10 at Champs.

Formed in 2003 by longtime friends Brent James, the band’s lead singer, and Kev Wright, lead guitarist, the Joliet-based Hillbillies have picked up steam and made heads turn.

Chicago radio host Richard Milne, of WXRT, recently said before playing a dirty, swampy cut (“Hoodoo Voodoo”) from Trece Diablos, the band’s most recent album, that “every time I listen to these guys I hear, just enough of the Drive by Truckers in what they do, and could I pay a band a higher compliment than that? I can’t, actually!”

The Righteous Hillbillies self-titled debut album, released in 2004, earned accolades far and wide from DJs and critics. It also set them ablaze on the live circuit, performing for rowdy crowds in a variety of venues and culminating in a gig opening for legend Charlie Daniels.

David Masciotra, columnist with PopMatters, wrote of the show, “The Righteous Hillbillies reminded the audience that rock/country is currently missing a few crucial elements, namely fun and dance-ability.”

Editor’s note: Nort Johnson, owner of Flying Dinosaur Entertainment Ltd., books The Righteous Hillbillies and other bands.

About the show

The Righteous Hillbillies are playing Champs Sports Bar and Grill, 216 Locust St., from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. May 10.

Guitarist Pete Berwick, "hardcore troubadour and cowpunk pioneer" will open.

There's no cover charge.

Go to to buy a CD or learn more about the band, and to to learn all about Pete.

Find the bar on Facebook or call 815-626-6003 for more information.

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