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Comprised of Chicago musicians with a broad spectrum of musical backgrounds, the Bandits’ sound is a highly-conductive amalgam of styles. Bluegrass-inspired, Country-imbued, with flecks of jazz and more than a little bit of rock 'n roll, these songs and this band bursts with originality, raw emotion and poetry. Described as "soulful," the Bandits perform regularly in Chicago venues such as Martyrs', Double Door, Jerry's, the Abbey Pub, Uncommon Ground, Katerina's, Lizard's Liquid Lounge, the Custer Arts Fair in Evanston and countless other clubs and festivals throughout the Chicago area, including the Chicago Bluegrass Legends Concert Series. Blogger and music fan Pat Hickey has called them "...One of the tightest and most disciplined groups of artists in the trade. Not since Poi Dog Pondering have this many talented artists brought together Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, Pop and Brazilian music to Chicago." English musician/ manager/ record producer Peter Asher (Beatles, James Taylor, Dixie Chicks) raves, "Really excellent - both the playing and the singing very beautiful. Great harmonies... Count me in as a fan!" Everywhere they go, they continue to garner praise.
Recently voted into the Top Ten Bands in the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues contest to open for Bela Fleck, they garnered many new fans and a great deal of exposure. Their original song, “The River Bend” recently received an Honorable Mention in the Billboard International Songwriting Contest.
April 2011 saw the release of their long-anticipated debut album, "When Darkness Glows," to wide acclaim, with ten original songs penned by Crumley and a beautiful cover of Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns." Songs of heartbreak go hand in hand with the theme of finding light inside of the darkness itself; not 'redemption' necessarily, but even better: finding reward in the journey. Produced by Crumley, with help from renowned pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Brian Blade, Shawn Colvin), local Chicago giants John Rice and Brian Wilke, the music shimmers. With a new line-up of musicians including Rob Clearfield on piano and accordion (Information Superhighway, District 97), Jim Tashjian on guitars (Treehouse, District 97), and Jess Birch on drums (BRONZE), the music has truly come into its own. Paving a fresh new route of 'Americana' highway, Mandy & the Bandits are gaining velocity.