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Local Produce: Episode 4 – Old Salt Union


The Old Salt Union is a band from Bellevegas, IL — they know all the bars I like going to, and they are fun people to be around. They actually played one of their first gigs at my favorite hole in the wall, called Blue Agave in Belleville. This didn’t surprise me, because this whole experience and lead up to interviewing the OSU has been a serendipitous one, to say the least. Let me explain.

Over the summer, KSHE held a “Hog Days of Summer” event at Pitcher’s in Belleville. As we started setting up, I noticed how freaking crowded the place was – I mean PACKED. The narcissistic side of me thought, “Well, KSHE hardly ever gets to Belleville, I guess this is legit.” And I was completely wrong. These people were not there for ME and KSHE; they were crammed like sardines in this bar to see local guys, Old Salt Union. I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. Usually, you need to be a band like Joe Dirt, or Brookroyal to pack people into a bar/venue – something well known and with longevity. This band, that I stumbled upon, didn’t look familiar, and they didn’t sound like covers or rock – they were a BLUEGRASS band. Five guys, all in the age range from 23 – 30, bearded, scarved, greasy, skinny, thick, smiling and moving!

“Who are these guys?!” I thought to myself.

I was there to work, so I did, but I found myself peeking inside to hear what they sounded like. I had many townies come up to me, tell me how good they are and what I should do with them. I took note.

Then I left. I left with the name of the band, which I facebook’d when I got home…and I left it at that. I packed them in my brain, and continued accepting submissions from bands for LPS via email.

A few months later, Tim (my fiancé) was doing the “Race of the River” in St Charles, where he kayaked for 20 miles (he’s kind of a big deal…) and I hung out at the finish line at Frontier Park. As I am sipping on a cold one and waiting to see him float up, I hear a band in the distance…and I will be damned.

“I know those guys….” My brain was affixed…I had to think hard.

“It’s that band from Pitchers.”

My brain was right – there on the stage, Old Salt Union! WHAT THE FRENCH!? They are everywhere!

After Tim was back on dry land and exhausted, we walked over to the band. I introduced myself and Ryan gave me a cd to keep. I explained I would love to have them on the LPS sometime. They agreed and from there, this little episode 4 came about.

I am not a huge fan of Bluegrass as a genre. I think it’s equally hard to get into, and play. This band, which is only a year and half old, has this genre maxed out. They are a bunch of passionate, interesting, and devout characters to be around. I enjoyed each one of their personalities the time I shared with them at the Gramophone. This is a local band full of prodigies and enamored with the successes they have already enriched. They tour on a bus named Rosemary (which is a cool dig, for sure!) and they find themselves among friends wherever they go. I believe the term is “gravitating” – they made me listen to their music because it was fun and soothing…two words I would never attribute to the bluegrass label, in my opinion.

Check out what we found out, and where you can expect them to be later in life:

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