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RIP Trey Gruber of promising young Chicago band Parent

Plus: New recordings on the way from the Father Costume—and a new album already here from Dan Whitaker & the Shinebenders

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Trey Gruber of up-and-coming Laurel Canyon-style rockers Parent has died at 26. - DAN GEDDES
  • Dan Geddes
  • Trey Gruber of up-and-coming Laurel Canyon-style rockers Parent has died at 26.

Last week Trey Gruber, front man of promising Chicago band Parent, died at age 26. An Ohio native who lived in Humboldt Park, Gruber quickly found fans on the northwest-side scene with easygoing songs reminiscent of 70s Laurel Canyon rock. "He was so captivating," says Paul Cherry, a frequent Gruber collaborator. "Parent were playing at the Bottle—Max [Kakacek] from Whitney came up to me and was like, 'Dude, that was incredible.'" Cherry offered to record Gruber in 2016, beginning their partnership. "Trey would spend a month on one song," Cherry says. "He'd be happy the day that we made it and the day after, and then that third day he'd be like, 'This needs strings, this needs horns, we gotta go bigger!'" Though Gruber had already attracted the interest of Secretly Canadian, Parent had officially released only one song: the glum "I Tried" in July. Given Gruber's perfectionism, Cherry isn't sure what he'll do with the other seven or eight they recorded. "He's got a lyric—'I've got a belly full of gut rot'—and that's how I feel since he's passed," Cherry says.

Local luminaries Sam Wagster (Fruit Bats), Kent Lambert (Roommate), Gillian Lisee (Cairo Gang), Michael Hartman (TV Pow), Seth Vanek (Roommate), and Adam Vida (Singleman Affair) make spacious guitar pop as the Father Costume. Wagster says they've been cooking up an album for three years, and next month they'll mix in Louisville with engineer Kevin Ratterman. On Friday, September 22, they play the Hungry Brain with Dan Bitney of Tortoise and LA synth-pop act Dark Rooms.

Gossip Wolf loves hard-working country cookers Dan Whitaker & the Shinebenders. On Saturday, September 23, they celebrate the new Anything You Wanted To at Phyllis' Musical Inn. This wolf especially digs its swinging instrumentals about local bars: "Bernice's Bounce" and "Cole's Boogie" should inspire plenty of honky-tonk turns on Chicago dance floors!  v

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Correction: Paul Cherry's quote about Parent's show at the Empty Bottle has been amended because he misspoke about Whitney's presence on the bill.

Update: Information concerning Trey Gruber’s cause of death has been removed. The Reader stands behind the accuracy of its initial reporting.

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