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July 9, 2014 • 05:07:07 p.m.

'American Idol's' Lee DeWyze takes the Ribfest stage

By JAMI KUNZER jkunzer@shawmedia.com

"American Idol" winner Lee DeWyze will perform at 9 p.m. July 11 at Rockin' Rotary Ribfest in Lake in the Hills. His latest album "Frames" came out last year. (Photo provided)

“American Idol” isn’t the only television program to feature Lee DeWyze’s music.

Since winning the reality show in 2010, the Mount Prospect native has had songs featured in shows such as “The Walking Dead,” “Nashville” and “Hart of Dixie.”

He will perform July 11 at the Rockin’ Rotary Ribfest in Lake in the Hills.

“I’m just excited to be making new music,” said DeWyze, who was performing at local clubs and working in a paint store in Mount Prospect when he auditioned in Chicago for “American Idol.”

He won season nine of the show, drawing about 41,000 people to a Homecoming Day concert Arlington Heights Race Track. DeWyze now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jonna Walsh, and his golden retriever, Bear.

His most recent album, “Frames,” was released in August 2013.

Here’s more of what DeWyze had to say:

Kunzer: Tells us what you’re doing these days.

DeWyze: I’m not making any music to sound like this or that. It’s acoustically driven, harmonies and storytelling songwriting. For me, that has really been my bread and butter.

I really love to connect with fans and through my music. Being able to play live is so great.

Every show is different than the last. They may have seen me before and on ‘Idol,’ but what we’re doing now is much different.

Kunzer: You’ve had a lot of success with songwriting as well as performing. Do you prefer one over the other?

DeWyze: [Songwriting] is just another part of my career. ... If I’m not performing live, I’m hoping to have other artists calling up and saying, ‘Let’s write together.’

Kunzer: Any artists you’d like to work with?

DeWyze: Sam Beam of Iron and Wine. ... I think there are so many good artists out there right now. I’m really open to collaborating with anyone that will get in a room and be creative.

Kunzer: You’re always going to be connected to “American Idol.” Any thoughts or even any regrets with that experience?

DeWyze: If anything, I’ll always be grateful for ‘American Idol’ and what it did for my career. At the time, I would say I was at the top of the mountain. Realistically, it was the biggest first step I could have taken. ... It was the greatest tool, and I’ll always be appreciative of the fans, the show.

I don’t really have any regrets when it comes to ‘American Idol.’ If there is one, I had to do ‘Beautiful Day’ as my winning song. I love that song, but I really wish I could have sung an original song. It kind of led people to believe that I’m someone different than what I am. I don’t really even regret that because I feel everything had to happen the way it did.

Kunzer: You’re obviously familiar with the Chicago area. What can we expect from your show at Ribfest?

DeWyze: The live show is going to be great. We’ve got drums and banjos, trumpets and fiddles. ... It’s just going to be a fun time, a fun tour, and we’re really excited to be there.

The Lake in the Hills Rockin' Rotary Ribfest takes place July 10-13 at Sunset Park, 5200 Miller Road, Lake in the HIlls. Admission: $5 adults, free for active military with ID and children age 12 or younger accompanied by an adult. Information: www.lithribfest.com.

Following is a schedule of events:
July 10
4:30 p.m. Gates open
5 p.m. Food/beverage service begins
6:45-8:15 p.m. Jaime Campbell & The Redneck Romeos
9-10:30 p.m. DownϟPour: The ACϟDC Concert
10:30 p.m. Food/Beverage service ends
11 p.m. Grounds close

July 11
4:30 p.m. Gates open
5 p.m. Food/Beverage service begins
6:45-8:15 p.m. Kashmir: The Led Zeppelin Show
9-10:30 p.m. Lee DeWyze: American Idol Winner
10:30 p.m. Food/beverage service ends
11 p.m. Grounds close

July 12
11:30 a.m. Gates open
12 p.m. Food/beverage service begins
12-3 p.m. Car Show
1-3 p.m. Sugar High
3:45-5:45 p.m. Generation
6:30-8 p.m. The Lounge Puppets: Tribute To 80s Hair Bands
9-10:30 p.m. Fuel
10:30 p.m. Food/beverage service ends
11 p.m. Grounds close

July 13

11:30 a.m. Gates open
12 p.m. Food/beverage service begins
12-2 p.m. Steve “Mongo” McMichael Autograph Session
2-3:30 p.m. Eliminator: America’s #1 ZZ Top Band
4:30-6:30 p.m. 7th Heaven
6:30 p.m. Food/beverage service ends
7 p.m. Grounds close

A Lip Smackin' BBQ Smack-Down has been added as a new event this year. Judging takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. July 13, with an awards presentation at 6:15 p.m. on the Main Stage. Information or to register: www.lithribfest.com.


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