Smile Politely

Tractor Kings Pull into Highdive Thursday Night

Jake Fleischli has been around the Champaign-Urbana music scene for several years now, and his band, Tractor Kings, has built a solid following with heartfelt songs and rootsy arrangements that they call “Cosmic Americana.” The Tractor Kings will be opening for Backyard Tire Fire tomorrow night at the Highdive. Tickets are only $7, and that not only gets you in to see those two aforementioned bands, but Golden Quality as well. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Check back in tomorrow morning on Smile Politely for a show preview and interview with Tire Fire frontman Ed Anderson. Click Continue Reading to see the rest of the Tractor Kings preview.

Tractor Kings are no stranger to the Highdive, having opened for Robbie Fulks there just over a month ago. Although the show is billed as a record-release party for Backyard Tire Fire, Tractor Kings are preparing to release an album as well. “It’s called Homesick and it’s coming out on Parasol,” Fleischli said. “We should have copies at the end of the month. We’re having a Chicago CD release party, then traveling to St. Louis and doing some touring along the Mississippi River.”

Tractor KingsCrooked Miles

They’re also familiar with sharing a bill with Backyard Tire Fire. Fleischli noted, “We played with them at Paulie’s [in Bloomington, Ill.]. It was a good time.”
Tractor KingsDrop The Fight

Although they began as a duo more than ten years ago, Tractor Kings are now a four-piece, with Fleischli on acoustic guitar and vocals, Johnny Chemical on lead guitar, Aaron McCallister on bass and new drummer Marty Gray.

Tractor KingsNever Comin’ Back

Fleischli, who grew up in Springfield, Ill., and now lives in Urbana, will head to Evansville, Ind., Sunday to partake in another of his passions: attending Bob Dylan concerts (he has front row seats). He estimates he’s seen Dylan play live “75-90 times. I saw my first show when I was 13 and I’m 34 now, so I’ve seen him three or four times, on average, every year.”

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