People always ask The Blueliners if they’re named after a line on Chicago’s “El” railway.
Instead, the band takes its name from the blue lines representing back roads on highway maps, and it’s a perfect moniker for the rock trio, which takes its cues from America’s long road of music history.
Check out a live set and you might here earnest, country-twanged blues followed by labyrinth, prog rock or a footstomping, throwdown jam — with a cover of Edgar Winter Group’s Frankenstein, complete with the spacey experimental freakout, worked in for good measure.
“The one thing we try to do with our originals is have no two sound alike stylistically. So we’re not just a jam band or a rock band,” said lead singer and guitarist, Joe Lottino, 31. ”We play anything. Fast, slow, instrumental, bluegrass-y, acoustic, jazzy, country. We also try to not let the fact that we’re only a three-piece limit what we’ll try to play.”
And you’d be hard-pressed to hear what’s missing.
The band, bolstered by bassist Keith Barnett and percussionist BJ Bischoff, has released a self titled EP, and are back in the studio recording tracks that will soon be available on their Facebook and Reverb Nation pages.
Veterans of suburban stages and city venues alike, The Blueliners have developed on-stage chemistry and off-stage friendships. The band’s live sets are exploratory yet focused, aided by Bicshoff’s precision hammering and Barnett’s rolling bass lines.
Lottino, a music teacher and co-owner of Joliet’s J&B Music Studio, uses expert fret work that seems to guide the trio through the peaks and valleys of their live catalog.
More often than not, The Blueliners will let a jam wind around a bit, either ending up right back where it started or in a whole new direction.
In other words, you never know where their music will take you.
And isn’t that the whole point of following those blue lines?