Righteous Hillbillies celebrating CD release with party
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent November 8, 2012 1:24PM
Pictured from left to right are Righteous Hillbillies members Kevin Wright, Brent James, Barret Harvey and Johnny Gadeikis. | Submitted photo
If you go
What: Righteous Hillbillies CD release party
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: American Legion Inc, Harwood Post 5, 705 S. Larkin Ave., Joliet
Etc: Special guests, raffles, beer, merchandise and collectibles
Contact: Buy online at
Updated: December 10, 2012 6:14AM
In 2008, Brent James and Kevin Wright of Joliet, an acoustic duo, performed with a full band for a fellow musician’s CD release party.
That artist had introduced them by saying, “I need some righteous hillbillies to help me out.” Post-party feedback on their performance was so positive, James said to Wright, “We need to start a band and the name for it will be Righteous Hillbillies.”
On Friday, Righteous Hillbillies will host a release party for its second CD, “Trece Diablos.” In Spanish, “trece” means “13” and “diablos” means “devil.” That night, the band intends to perform all 13 tracks from that CD.
“People can expect a rockin’ good time,” James, lead vocalist, said. “We plan to mix in some of our fans’ favorites from the first CD as well.”
The main challenge was deciding which songs to include as James and Wright have written hundreds of them. James has been writing for 25 years and Wight, lead guitarist and singer, for more than 30.
In 2009, members released their first, a self-titled CD and followed that with a two-song EP featuring an original James-Wright song called “Not Alone.” The Righteous Hillbillies sent that CD overseas in Christmas care packages through Operation Mom’s Cookies (www.momscookies.org).
“It didn’t take any stance on the war,” James said. “It was simply a song for the troops about the sacrifices the troops make being away from home.”
In 2008, the Righteous Hillbillies took second place in the Grundy County Battle of the Bands and won first prize the following year. In 2009, the Righteous Hillbillies opened for the Charlie Daniel’s Band in the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
The other two members of the Righteous Hillbillies bring to the band talents and interests equally as diverse.
Barret Harvey of Joliet (drums and percussion) began his musical journey at age 10 by studying the techniques of Buddy Rich, Mick Fleetwood, Stewart Copeland, Mitch Mitchell and Steve Gadd. It led to commercial recordings with Disney, Ford, Nintendo, Coors, Budweiser, Gatorade and NASCAR.
At age 5, Johnny Gadeikis of Joliet (bass guitar) was playing mandolin and touring Europe with a Chicago youth orchestra, although no instrument stoked his interest more than the electric guitar. Gadeikis has played in a variety of bands over the last 18 years.
Inspiration for Righteous Hillbillies’ songs derive from personal experiences, from the lofty to something as mundane as a witty line overheard in a gas station. James jots all ideas in a little notebook and draws from them when it’s time to write a song.
The band plays two to three shows per week all over Illinois, but they plan to expand their playing field soon.
“We’d like to get out on the road and try obtaining some commercial success,” James said. “We’ve all grown musically and feel confident that we’re ready to take it to the next level.”