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Photos by Pooneh Ghana, courtesy of the band

Carry Illinois is an LGBTQ force of power in the Austin, Texas music scene. Creating what many would call “indie rock”, Carry Illinois hint at elements of folk, blues, and pop in their emotional songwriting. Tackling larger issues at hand, while remaining elegantly poetic, Carry Illinois is as accessible as they are relevant. The crew just launched a tour, and have several dates remaining. We caught up with them on the road for a light-hearted discussion.

I’m sure you haven’t been asked this yet, but what’s the meaning behind the band name “Carry Illinois”?

Cary, IL was the first place I remember singing in front of anyone in public. It was at my family’s former company’s picnic. I sang karaoke—Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.” It was the first time I realized I was passionate about singing, so to keep that important memory, I named it double-r Carry Illinois to keep myself connected to my roots and home state no matter where I go.

What excites you most about tour?

Meeting new people really fuels our love for performing. Playing for strangers makes us really excited about sharing our music. Watching the landscape change from state-to-state allows so much room for a mental reset!

If Carry Illinois is sculpting a Mt. Rushmore of musicians, whose four faces are on it?

Carole King, Grace Slick, George Harrison, and Rainer Rilke. These are my heroes through and through!

Pretend you work in a record store and someone comes in asking for recommendations. what would someone have to ask for that results in you picking up a Carry Illinois for them?

Brandi Carlile for raw emotion. Carole King for honest, vulnerable song-writing. Sylvan Esso for dancing your feelings out. Wye Oak for their dynamic soundscapes, and Phoebe Bridgers if you need a good cry!

Describe your perfect show.

Low moody lighting in a beautiful park in the Pacific Northwest. My closest friends are playing, as well as my biggest inspirations. There’s amazing food out for everyone. The air is fresh and clean. The vibe is fun and relaxed, and love is in the air!

Building on that, pretend you’re curating a music festival. Who’s on it? Where is it?

Lizzo, Plants and Animals, Perfume Genius, Sylvan Esso, Brandi Carlile, Laura Mvula, and Lucius. The festival would be in the gorgeous countryside in Umbria, Italy. Why not bring beautiful music and breathtaking views together?!

If Carry Illinois were a cartoon character, who would it be and why?

Carry Illinois would be the baby alligator from Maurice Sendak’s “Alligators All Around.” The baby alligator has many moods, enjoys a big plate of macaroni, finds comfort in the little things in life, and gets a bit OCD at times and needs a big hug.

Carry Illinois is currently on tour in support of their new record, Work In Progress. Find more info here, including dates.