By Jessica Wettig
Of all the talent in southern Illinois, one band seeks to stand out. They are known as Fiddle Rick and the Bourbon Boys.
The band consists of five members. Rick “Fiddle Rick” Johnson is a southern Illinois native who plays the violin, fiddle and does vocals. Chicago native Matt Borowicz is the guitarist and he also sings.
Sam Bates came to the area from Ann Arbor, Mich., and he plays the accordion. Brazilian Beto Franca is on bass, and Decatur native Josh Kidd is on drums. All of the guys now live in the Jackson County area.
Borowicz said the group formed in 2013. He had known Johnson and Franca for over a decade. Some of them spent years just playing in the living room of their homes, and were embedded in the local music scene. Then, one day, Johnson approached them and asked if they wanted to form a band.
The rest is history.
They have recorded two albums: The first is self-titled and the other is called One for the Road. These are available on most online streaming services, including YouTube and Spotify.
They play in various venues across southern Illinois, and their music varies a great deal. All of their songs are original, and they like to specialize in delivering something a little different than what most people are used to.
Their style ranges from folk, Russian, Classical, Celtic, Blues and much more. They have a variety of backgrounds, and a variety of interests.
“Everybody has been influenced differently,” said Borowicz.
He said they all have day jobs, and they are playing music because they enjoy it. Their desire to do something different has worked for them and against them in different cases, because people have different preferences.
Borowicz said his interests have grown based on his stages in life, and he thinks that’s the case for many people.
Borowicz himself started playing guitar in first grade, inspired by his dad’s passion for Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry and his mom’s love for artists like James Taylor. From there, he fell in love with blues music–his first love–along with many other styles.
The band has a big show coming up at Tres Hombres in Carbondale in early February, and a special event Feb. 22-23 at Route 51 Brewery in Elkville. More information will be released at a later date.