Tommy Leland Cantwell and his brother Brandon Cantwell are successful musicians in Nashville, but they have a special take on their hometown of Geneva.
âThere must be something about the water in Geneva that makes this city produce amazing musicians,â Brandon said. “There were so many kids who were passionate about music, doing it all the way and really killing it.”
That belief is solid for the Cantwell Brothers and their alternative country band the Flying Buffaloes as they travel from their Tennessee base to the South and Midwest to play concerts on weekends and improve their skills.
Tommy, 29, graduated from LycÃ©e de GenÃ¨ve in 2010, and Brandon, 26, did so in 2013. As such, it is easy for them to understand how Geneva and the Tri-Cities region have shaped their love music to the point that they could make it a full time job in one of the music hot spots in the United States.
This 2002 family photo shows how brothers Tommy Leland Cantwell, left, and Brandon Cantwell have been interested in music since their childhood.
– Courtesy of Tommy Leland Cantwell
Both have made their way into Geneva school music programs, citing high school teacher Pat Frederick and others as key mentors. But the musical roots were strengthened because their father Tom Cantwell had a local rock band called Gallery.
âThis band was rehearsing at our place and when I was in high school I was their roadie,â said Tommy, who plays lead guitar for the Flying Buffaloes. “By the time I graduated I was playing clubs with them and it was just a classic rock cover band.”
Tommy has performed most of the area’s musical events, including the Swedish Days, the Vine Festival and the Concerts for a Cure for Parkinson’s research.
Meanwhile, Brandon was cultivating his skills through his love for the high school jazz band. And, with Tommy, learning as much as he could from instructor Paul Sargent at the Imperial School of Music in St. Charles. They both performed at the Granquist Music Competition held in Geneva during the Swedish Days.
Geneva high school graduates Tommy Leland Cantwell and Brandon Cantwell (pictured) are enjoying success in Nashville with their alternative country band Flying Buffaloes.
– Courtesy of Flying Buffaloes
Brandon, who plays bass guitar, was one of the first recipients of the Louie Armstrong Award in high school as best jazz musician, and he has gone on to perform with the highly regarded young jazz group of the Elgin Community College.
Tommy moved to Nashville in 2014 after graduating from Berklee College of Music, and Brandon was not far from moving there in 2018 after graduating from the University of Illinois.
âWe met all of the band members in Nashville, and we all came here with the same dream of being musicians,â Tommy said of Johan Stone, Barry Stone and Danny Pratt.
âWe were playing enough gigs that we could quit our side jobs, and we started a company and a business to support the band,â he added.
The name Flying Buffaloes originated when a member of the group’s organization was living overseas and traveling to Nashville for various shows. He had a fondness for Buffalo wings when he was in the United States.
Ultimately, Flying Buffaloes was born and began to function as a rock band with a country look and sound.
âA week for the Flying Buffaloes is busy,â said Brandon. “We usually get together every day and work on a handful of things, rehearsing our set live or writing and getting together to do the day-to-day business.”
The Flying Buffaloes were in Chicago last weekend to present their latest song “A New Day is Gonna Dawn”, while bringing the Cantwell brothers from Geneva closer together. It’s a trip they love to take.
âWe keep busy on the road in the Southeast, but we love to travel to the Midwest,â Brandon said. “All of the band members are from the Midwest, and we’ve all moved to Nashville at some point.”
Nashville tends to do this sort of thing, regularly attracting musicians with a dream.
Attracting the Cantwell brothers is a nice feather in the hat for Geneva music programs and another slice of potential musical greatness for a Tennessee city that benefits.
The bazaar is back
Planners had to cancel the annual bazaar at the Holmstad Covenant Living Center in Batavia last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are set to welcome buyers again this year.
The event, with free admission, is open to the public and will take place at 9 am on Saturday, October 2 at Holmstad, 700 W. Fabyan Parkway.
Residents are ready for the event, having spent much of the past year creating items that will be for sale.
“All of this is possible thanks to the generosity of nearly 300 resident volunteers who give of their time and talent to make this happen,” said Randy Johnson, chairman of the bazaar, in a press release on the event. .
Items range from baked goods, lumber and crafts, seasonal wreaths, designer knits, plants, quilts, and second-hand items like jewelry, furniture, books, and housewares.
Residents use the proceeds for the Charitable Fund, graduation gifts and scholarships for high school food servers, library books, music for the choir, and craft materials for resident projects .
It’s a farm party
Having visited Corron Farm in Campton Township for years when the family hosted a Labor Day roast pork for family and friends, one of the most interesting things was when our friend Dave Corron told us about it. showed around the farm and shared its story.
Everyone has that chance when the township holds its annual Prairie Fest at the historic Corron Farm from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 2.
The free on-farm event, located at 7N761 Corron Road, includes parking, admission, various activities, tours and refreshments.
Dreams from Randall’s past
Having worked and lived in the Tri-Cities region for almost 45 years, I find myself somewhere in the middle of those who have lived here all of their lives and those who are maybe 20 years old or younger.
This could be the reason why, on occasion, when I cruise along Randall Road, my mind returns to what it used to be.
I’ve heard from long-time locals about having car races as a teenager on “the gravel road west of town”. This gravel road, of course, was Randall Road in the 1940s and 1950s.
I only need to go back to around 1977 when I worked for my first reporting job in Elburn, covering news west of Randall Road at the county, township and school levels.
Randall Road was established as a fairly long stretch of road back then, but there wasn’t much on it in the Tri-Cities area – a version that suited me.
A Montgomery neighborhood and Dog ‘n Suds in St. Charles were all I needed. Visiting the monthly flea market hosted by Helen Robinson at the fairgrounds was a nice diversion.
Neither Geneva nor Batavia had frequented Randall Road much by this time, which worked to their advantage later, as they started from scratch with visions of developments such as the Delnor Hospital complex, the communes of Geneva and new housing estates and commercial developments. Batavia has taken the route of shopping streets, a complex of movie theaters, townhouses, and major retailers like Walmart, Kohl’s, Target and others.
These developments provide convenience for shopping and dining, and eliminate the need for any local person to travel to other cities to take advantage of these activities.
I’m definitely not against development, but when you’re stuck in heavy traffic the idea of ââa root beer at Dog ‘n Suds, getting everything I need in Montgomery Ward and just taking a leisurely cruise along Randall Road is very appealing.