Written By: Chad Berndtson
:: The Art Of The Sit-In - Allie Kral::
Welcome to another edition of The Art of the Sit-In, where we mix it up with the scene’s most adventurous
players and hear some stories from the road. For more, check out our recent interviews with Al
Schnier, Nikki Glaspie , Matt Butler and others.
Allie Kral is one of those musicians with whom you just know you’re going to have a good time – she loves to play,
she radiates energy and warmth, and she can really bring it in the heat of a jam.
[Photo by Brian Spady]
She’s become ubiquitous on our scene, and since departing Chicago jam-grassers Cornmeal in May, she’s made it a
point to spread her wings and embrace the “Artist-at-Large” concept, lending her talents to a number of different
ensembles and collaborations over the past few months.
Let’s hear a bit from Allie, who’ll be once again “at large” during next month’s Jam Cruise and has no plans to
commit to any one band for the immediate future.
JAMBASE: You left Cornmeal about seven months ago and you’ve turned up in a number of places since.
How are you picking your spots these days, and whom you choose to play with?
ALLIE KRAL: I really think this is a chance for me to get out there and try new things. I’ve been spending
time again listening to music and people that I’d listened to while I was with Cornmeal but never really had a chance
to play with. Now I can spend more time reaching out and being all, I like your style and let’s play a song together.
It’s been really fun for me to try new things.
JAMBASE: ‘Trying other styles’ makes me think Cornmeal might have become too confining. Did you ever
feel like you were put in sort of a ‘bluegrass box’ or close to it?
AK: No, not too much because we really did play so many different types of music and expand our
horizons with Cornmeal. But I really love to do the rock ‘n’ roll thing and I love to do the folk thing, and maybe
Cornmeal would do a rock tune but if I’m going out and jumping on a gig like Magic Box, I’m playing a whole show of
rock tunes. So that’s how I see it.
JAMBASE: So you’ve been reaching out to these types of bands a lot lately?
AK: Yes. I was Artist at Large at Shoe Fest and for the most part I played a couple of songs with…I forget
what the count was at the end but I think I played with about 17 new bands. Sometimes it’ll be a song, depending on
who it is, but sometimes it can be the whole set.
JAMBASE: What’s an example of another band you’ve gotten close to and collaborated more with?
AK: The Brother Comatose. They’ve got an awesome fiddle player and I love his style (Philip Brezina) and
his stuff. But I also brought the two brothers (Alex and Ben Morrison) together to do a trio format with me, and we’re
looking to do a lot more of that as well. Maybe we’ll try to folk people up a bunch more in the new year!