Kevin Lucas Orchestra hits national radio chart

Kevin Lucas is arguably one of the most successful musicians playing in southern Illinois.

Lucas came to Carbondale from the Chicago area for graduate school in 1996. Now living in Pomona, his band, The Kevin Lucas Orchestra, has played together in Carbondale since 1997. Their new single, “Here I Am,” came in as number 81 this week on the FMQB national radio chart.

The chart, released July 5, shows the orchestra right behind Adele and Colbie Caillat, but unlike their chart-topping predecessors, fans of the Police and the Smashing Pumpkins might find the orchestra as a breath of fresh air.

“Were probably one of the only area bands featured on a national radio chart,” Lucas said. “ Pat Benton, a DJ on Magic 95.1, plays our music quite a bit and you can hear us at a lot of the local wineries as well.”

Lucas said when the band began in the mid 1990s, a spot on a national radio chart was the furthest thing from their mind.

“When we first started out we were basically kind of a classic concert hall style band that played nothing but originals,” he said. “If you heard our music when we started compared to now you’d be amazed at how much we’ve changed.”

With Lucas on the marimba and Andy Waldron on guitar and vocals, the band’s front men give the band a nostalgic and original sound accompanied by an ensemble of wind and string instruments.

“As we developed we got pressure from our fans to go a little more mainstream,” he said.  “It’s good to play music and make money, but it wasn’t so much that we wanted to make more, we just wanted our music to reach more people.”

The winner of the 2011 Billboard Magazine Songwriting Contest and the New Music Weekly Magazine ‘College Radio Breakthrough Artist of the Year’, the Kevin Lucas Orchestra is a southern Illinois original.

The band can be seen at the Egyptian Hills Resort in Creal Springs this Friday at 6:30 PM.

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About Caleb Motsinger

Caleb Motsinger can be reached at or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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