Jay Stanek's debut solo album, '1140,' features 13 songs penned and inspired while Stanek lived at 1140 N. Wolcott in the heart of one of Chicago's changing neighborhoods. During his stay there, Stanek watched cultures, socio-economic conditions, and ideas all meet in a collision that was pure poetry to a songwriter of Stanek's prowess. With his upstairs neighbor, producer/engineer Stephen Shirk, Stanek began recoding his experiences and observations. But Stanek is not just a casual observer in these songs. Using his training and experience as a world-traveler and historian, he crafts songs that feel out the essence of human nature and the urban life-cycle. Beyond "1140's" songwriting, Jay Stanek plays nearly every instrument (acoustic & electric guitars, banjo, piano, bass) appearing on the album. He is joined on nearly every song by Adrian Garza (drums, percussion) and on five of the songs by Big Sky Stringband band-mate Chris Meier (mandolin). Other Big Sky members (Dick Mallory, bass; Bob Bechstein, drums) drop in to add additional rhythm work on M-89 and Mad City Breakdown. Outside of his solo work, Stanek is a prolific singer/songwriter performing throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. The multi-talented musician fronts two distinct bands: Big Sky Stringband and The Otis Problem. With the perspective of a well-traveled, well-worn soul, Stanek's songs-both solo and for these bands-give voice to the voiceless and tell unique stories about scenes around his native Chicago and beyond. As guitarist and vocalist for the Big Sky Stringband, Stanek leads the band through songs that stretch out into elaborate jams grounded in folk, rock, bluegrass, jazz, and country traditions. On the flip-side, he lends piano, guitar, and vocals to the alt-country/indie-rock quintet The Otis Problem, focusing the band on concise and meaningful tunes.
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