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During the original flourishing of what is often referred to now as Americana or “old-time” music, the American south was rife with a musical integration that stood in sharp contrast to the strictest segregation in the country. Musicians both black and white played country music, and prior to its codification in the commercialism of Nashville, certain old-time country songs were indistinguishable from the blues and gospel that heavily informed them.


Downstate Illinois’ band the Woodbox Gang hearkens back to that sort of diversity, combining elements of blues, country, and rockabilly with a belligerent, punk rock delivery.

Impressively, their music remains entirely acoustic, composed of guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass and various found sounds and unconventional instrumentation. Despite their not choosing to plug-in, the band has signed with Alternative Tentacles, the label founded by the legendary and outspoken Jello Biafra.

Woodbox Gang begins tonight at 10 p.m. after a performance from the Corn Desert Ramblers at the Highdive (51 Main Street, Champaign).