Chicago politics embraces the banjo

Illinois politics has been in the news a good bit this past few years, with a string of colorful Chicago pols making headlines one after another.

Well, last week’s elections have introduced a new element – our beloved 5 string banjo! Sheila Simon, daughter of the late, long-serving US Senator Paul Simon, was chosen as Illinois’ new Lt. Governor. Ms. Simon is an attorney and educator, and plays banjo in Loose Gravel, an all-female bluegrass band based in Carbondale.

I’m not sure if her politics would be a winning platform in the Bluegrass State in today’s climate, especially with comments like this one in the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she teaches.

“Nothing says redneck like a banjo, but the banjo is an African instrument.”

Redneck comments aside, Bluegrass Today heartily encourages the election of more banjo players. Just think of the great campaign slogans: Mash it with Mills; Pick one with Pikelny; Up in B with Baucom.

OK… I’ll stop.

Here’s some video of the new Lt. Governor doing some bare finger picking with Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn on WGN radio prior to the election.

Hat tip: Phil Bankester

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.