rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 04/06/2006
No "Make Believe" - Ernie Hendrickson and the Guys Really Rock!
by Gary Hill

Make no mistake, as jam bands go, Ernie Hendrickson rock out more than most. The guys combine a solid jazz texture with the jam band arrangements, but do it with more crunch and punch than most artists in the genre. In fact, they seem to make a habit of stretching the limits of the genre even more than they do the limits of song length. And they aren't afraid of taking chances by playing with a different style (reggae, hard rock, fusion, etc.)

For those who don't know what a "jam band" is, generally artists in that genre take a somewhat basic song structure and turn it into an extended piece of music (or jam) by instrumental soloing that is often improvised. Bands that have typified (and in many ways pioneered) the genre include The Grateful Dead and The Dave Matthews Band. While instrumental prowess is often a given in this musical style, it's safe to say that this band has plenty of it to throw around. These guys, (Hendrickson on guitar and vocals, Brian Felix handling keyboards and vocals, Chris Clemente on bass and vocals and Brian Abraham holding down the drums and more vocals) have talent to show off, and they find plenty of opportunities to prove it. Still, in a tribute to the quality of the group, that talent never over-shadows the concept of a "good song."

It should come as no surprise that this outfit is so potent. Two of the members have some serious credentials. Felix formerly played in the well-known bay area jazz/funk/electronica group The OM Trio and Clemente has been recognized in bass player magazine for his work in fusion groups. With those two on board, there should be no question that this band is good - but the other members of this Chi-town band are no less talented. The thing is, they've been playing together since 2004 and have grown as a unit beyond the potential of anyone member.

In addition to releasing their debut CD (Only a Dream) in March of this year, the band frequently plays in the Northern Illinois area. Fans of jam bands should really enjoy this group, but so should people into fusion jazz and even classic rock and other musical styles. Focusing on good solid music, they have a fairly universal appeal. Stop by their website ( for more information (including show dates) and keep your eyes focused on the Beet CafĂ˝ calendar to see when they are playing the Rockford area.

Contact Information
Ernie Hendrickson and The Make Believe
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