Illinois Nationals

Sun, September 12, 2010 | 2:00 p.m. | Free | Nelson Park
Rain Date: September 19, 2010

Hailing from Central Illinois, the Illinois Nationals are an all-original indie roots rock band. Equally at home on stage shredding blues-infused rockers or porch singing their hillbilly songs, the Nationals cut across age demographics and style boundaries by combining deep and infectious grooves with gritty three-part singing. Audiences commonly describe the band as “real” finding a direct correlation to bands such as The Band, Tom Petty, and Blitzen Trapper to name a few.

All of the members of the band attended the same college in Decatur, IL and became friends through playing in various projects. In the summer of 2008, Illinois Nationals formally organized. John Donze, the lead singer and songwriter, had just moved back to the area after living in Tennessee for a short stint. Since day one, the band's main intent has been to create "good music." Illinois Nationals organically write new songs at a consistent rate keeping their sound fresh but familiar.

Setting the ground work for the Illinois Nationals are John's songs focusing on his infatuation with guns, outlaws, women, liquor and the lives of hardworking men. Whether fact or fantasy, stories from John's life growing up and working on a farm in Long Point, IL are crafted into the songs he writes. Andy Heise is a native to Jacksonville, IL where he started off fronting an alternative band, Eight Miles from Denver, while in high school. After becoming a proficient orchestral and jazz bassist in college, he now provides the Illinois Nationals a driving bass line and an occasional fiddle tune. Lead guitarist, Dave Burdick, has traveled from New York to Texas and up to Illinois to find his home with the Nationals. He has recently played in bands such as The Beatniks, Blue Bus, and The Tribe. He is most often found playing tasty slide lines or crafty solos. The utility player of the band, Luke Alan, plays just about any instrument put in front of him. Whether it be drums, harmonica, banjo, or melodica, he does what he does, and does it well. With his own personal slack-jaw drum style he adds a raw element of sound to the band.

In May of 2009 the Illinois Nationals released their self-titled debut LP album chock-full of tales of murder, living, drinking, and loving.


John Donze - Vocals, Guitar
Andy Heise - Bass, Vocals
Dave Burdick - Guitar
Luke Alan - Drums, Harmonica, Banjo, etc.