Teflons in harmony at Chicago Botanic Garden
1-3 pm. Saturday, May 19
“A Bloomin’ Festival,” includes plant sale, demos, informative events and entertainment, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 19-20.
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Admission is free; parking is $20 per car
Visit www.chicagobotanic.org or call (847) 835-5440
Updated: May 15, 2012 6:20PM
Perhaps members of The Teflons should wear petal-pushers when they perform at the Chicago Botanic Garden May 19. After all, they will be the live music act for the annual “A Bloomin’ Festival” with its sales of plants and flowers, gardening demos and tips, and more.
“We’ve played this several years in a row now,” said Barbara Silverman, “it’s not a music fest, but a wonderful spring festival, with people walking around and choosing bulbs and plants to buy.”
Founded in the late ’90s, The Teflons is a Chicago-based group comprised of Silverman (vocals, guitar, washboard), Gail Tyler (vocals, bass, ukulele), Eugenia Elliott (vocals, including yodeling), and Rick Veras (fiddle, mandolin, backing vocals), performing both covers and originals.
They’re a throwback to music popular in the first half of the 20th century: country and swing, doo- wop, Hawaiian, fiddle tunes, cowboy songs, and also fine originals. The group excels at harmony singing, with a gorgeous, tight blend reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters.
The Teflons have performed widely in the Chicago area and beyond, and have released several recordings, including “Into the Frying Pan” (2004), and “Wrap Your Troubles” (2009). Musician Keith Baumann also regularly joins the group on dobro and mandolin.
“It’s such joyful and accessible music,” said Silverman, “and we have the ability to fill the music with intricacies, charming and interwoven, but at the same time, a simple approach to this music.”
The Teflons have performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park, at the Fox Valley Folk Festival, the (former) Chicago Folk & Roots Festival, S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, among many more club and festival appearances throughout the Midwest.
“Our group likes the earlier musical eras,” noted Silverman. “We tend to respond to and steep ourselves in vintage Americana. In fact, most of our material is over 40 years old, even early ’20s.”
With songs like “I Found My Straight Shootin’ Cowboy,” “Old Joe Clark,” “Southbound Passenger Train,” “Blues Stay Away From Me,” and “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,” the Teflons perform a mix of catchy tunes with passion and exceptional musicianship. The chemistry of the group is evident, and their joy in their music makes for smiling audiences, with feet a-tapping.
Silverman notes the individual talents of the group: Tyler has her sharp ear for harmony, Elliott has her jazz acumen, Veras is lead instrumentalist, and she herself is the band leader and one of the founders, who ties together the talents and songs in a broader vision of the group.
What’s striking about the members of The Teflons is their broad range of experience in the arts, ranging from theater, dance, and operettas, to jazz bands and jug bands. More detail on these versatile performers can be found at www.silverbeammusic.com.
They’re looking forward to an afternoon of music in the sunshine at the Botanic Garden, said Silverman. “We’ll play outside, (with material) from our whole repertoire, two 45-minute sets.”