Mandy and the Bandits came together first in 2007 to bring songs to life written by Amanda Crumley, and what life have they found! After moving to Chicago to be a jazz musician, she ended up writing two bluegrass-ish, country-ish songs on a whim, and the pure joy of demo-ing the original material was more than enough impetus to keep writing. (And writing.) Eventually there was material for a full-length album, but no money to make one happen. The band continued to play gigs, with the increasing artistic necessity of making a record.
After a few years of waiting for a windfall that never came, Amanda decided to do something drastic. With the help of Sean Archer, she launched a campaign asking fans, friends and family for donations to produce her first record. Miraculously, with the help of family, good friends, total strangers and one totally anonymous benefactor, enough funds were raised within two days to fund the entire project. The universe seemed to be saying YES! Absolutely, YES! Now, here we are. The debut 11-track album, "When Darkness Glows" is here, with ten original songs penned by Crumley and a beautiful cover of Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns." Songs of heartbreak are paired with the theme of finding light inside of the darkness itself; not 'redemption' necessarily, but even better: finding reward in the journey.
Produced by Crumley, with help from renowned pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Brian Blade, Shawn Colvin), local Chicago giants John Rice and Brian Wilke, the music shimmers. With a new line-up of musicians including Rob Clearfield on piano and accordion (Information Superhighway, District 97), Jim Tashjian on guitars (Treehouse, District 97), and Jess Birch on drums (BRONZE), the music has truly come into its own.
Mandy and the Bandits perform regularly in Chicago venues such as Martyrs', the Abbey, Uncommon Ground, Katerina's, Lizard's Liquid Lounge, the Custer Arts Fair in Evanston and countless other clubs and festivals throughout the Chicago area. In November 2008, Mandy & the Bandits opened for Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain at the Chicago Bluegrass Legends music series, to wide acclaim.
In 2009, they were voted into the Top Ten Bands in the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues contest to open for Bela Fleck where they garnered many new fans and a great deal of exposure. Their original song, “The River Bend” recently received an Honorable Mention in the Billboard International Songwriting Contest.
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