Promoting his latest album release, Rick Lally performs a solo show on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery's Tasting Room. Lally will also perform with the band 3 Bricks Shy on Saturday, May 19, and another act, R2 Alchemy, on July 12.
Lally's new album, It's High Time, is a reference to the span of time it took to write, record, and release his work. The album is a retrospective of songs he wrote from 1989 to 2017.
"I've been writing and playing music since I was a teen," Lally said. "I've always done it as a way to make sense of my thoughts or feelings."
"Falcon Hill," a song Lally wrote as a 13-year-old teenager, was inspired by his childhood upbringing.
"I grew up in Illinois. From 10 to 16 years of age, I lived in a suburban neighborhood," Lally said. "My backyard merged into underdeveloped park that was very much a small forest. In one section there was a clearing with a hill. I spent most of my time playing in nature and every inch of the park. I always saw all kinds of birds from that hill and would frequently see a falcon. My friends and I always called that area Falcon Hill. As I was learning the four chords in my song 'Falcon Hill,' I wrote the lyrics to express how I felt when I was out there in nature."
Lally wrote the album's title song "It's High Time" to himself.
"I have written a lot of songs. I've probably forgotten as many as I remember," Lally said. "'It's High Time' was intended to remind me and push myself to get my unrecorded songs recorded. It was also intended to urge me to pull the songs out of me that I either need to finish or start. In essence, the song was me being a cheerleader for myself!"
True to his muse, Lally writes music at his own pace and his songwriting has developed over time.
"Many of my earliest songs were just a stream of chords. Many lacked a bridge or a reprise. I have progressively improved in that area," Lally said. "I never have forced writing a song. It either happens or it doesn't. Sometimes it can take a song a long time to stew and simmer before it's ready. I have one song I wrote in a half-hour and it never changed. Others that have taken years to complete. I'm definitely a better guitar player now so that helps a lot."
The songs on the new album vary in genre.
"'No Jive' has a bluesy southern rock feel, while 'I Can't Breathe' has the feel of smooth jazz," Lally said. "'Slippin' Away' is currently playing on a Tropical Rock radio station. 'It's High Time' and 'Paralyzed' were both born to rock. Everything else is either folkie or folk rock."
Lally is also an artist. One of his paintings, "Sun Glass," is displayed in the Tasting Room.
"I have always been somewhat artistic, but never put much time into it. When I started painting, I dove in head first and began painting a lot," Lally said. "During that time, my band 3 Bricks Shy had a song called 'Screw The Cracker' with a line in the song, 'Polly wants wine.' Somehow, that song got us started with playing at wineries."
Lally's inspiration for "Sun Glass" traced back to performing at Fence Stile during the summer when it was sunny.
"I really appreciated that we continued to get chances to play at Fence Stile," Lally said. "I decided that Fence Stile would be a good home for a painting it mostly likely inspired."
It's High Time is available at iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify. Visit ricklally.com for more information on his music, art, and performance dates. Check Fence Stile's calendar for upcoming music performance dates from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Below: Rick Lally as a young musician. Right: "Sun Glass" is a painting inspired by Rick Lally's performances at Fence Stile.
Hey friends, Fence Stile has been nominated for the Best Winery category in the Feast Magazine - Midwest 50 Awards.
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Fence Stile’s team members are sporting a new look in the Tasting Room – new T-shirts in purple, blue, dark gray and red printed with a design that reads Wine Xenos. What does this phrase Wine Xenos mean?
We know you know what wine is. If you don’t, please visit and we’ll offer a personal introduction and wine tasting ($5 for five samples). If you’ve forgotten, then you might need a reminder. Wink, wink. Either way, please join us for a visit.
What about this word, xenos?
Xenos (zee-nohs, rhymes with fructose), is a Greek word that refers to a stranger or guest. When a stranger arrives, a host is xenial and treats them as a guest, extending hospitality to visitors.
The spirit of xenos matches the motto of Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery. We like to say, “Good fences make good neighbors, a Fence Stile makes neighbors, good friends!”
What is a fence stile? Well, take a look at the back of our new T-shirts or our logo. A stile is a type of ladder with steps on both sides. The stile is mounted over a fence, allowing a person to easily cross over the fence. With a fence stile, neighbors can cross a fence between them, meet, and become good friends.
We think of visitors to Fence Stile Winery and Vineyards as guests, whether you’re making the trip for the first-time or you’re one of our long-time regulars. In time, our guests become friends and family.
Wine Xenos on our new T-shirts is a fun shorthand way to express this spirit. Through wine and the hospitality of our Tasting Room team, all who arrive for a visit will receive our hospitality as a guest. In time, we hope you’ll become friends and make new friends with other guests.
Also, the back of our stylish new T-shirts depicts a fence stile. You’ll note that two boards on the fence stile form an X. As a Roman numeral, X signifies the number ten (10). As a tweak to our logo, the X is a subtle design feature that refers to our upcoming tenth anniversary in 2019. This year, we’re developing plans to celebrate this milestone next year in grand style.
We invite you to visit the Tasting Room as our guest. Ask us about the new T-shirts. We have them available for sale exclusively at the Tasting Room. The shirts come in men’s and women’s styles and a variety of sizes. We also have a ladies tank top for the warmer weather. Share the spirit of Wine Xenos!
We’ll see you soon.
As winter draws to a close, the team at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery has been working outdoors in brisk weather to prune and tend to the vines.
"The intent of pruning in general is to control the size of the vine, optimize the production potential of the vine, and to maintain the balance between shoot and fruit growth," vineyard manager Shawna Mull explains.
Between fall harvest and spring bud break, pruning is necessary to review each vine in each row to monitor its condition. Dead, diseased, or severely damaged parts of the vine are removed. This step helps the vine concentrate its growth on healthy sections later in the year. When pruning, the best canes and spurs are identified that will yield fruit. This blog post explains the spur pruning process in greater detail with illustrations on cane pruning vs. spur pruning.
Vignole, Vidal, and Seyval grapevines are pruned in that order to mirror the order that white grapes will be harvested. Chambourcin and Concord are pruned last and, subsequently, harvested last in fall.
The photo gallery and videos below illustrate the important work involved with pruning. Pruned canes are gathered in piles and removed by tractor for composting or burning later.
As the weather warms up, Fence Stile will announce opportunities for volunteers to work with the team and help with "suckering" the vines. Once early growth begins in spring, the vines send up shoots, or suckers.
"Suckering is necessary to remove all unnecessary and unwanted growth so that vine's energy can be redirected to the important growth," explains Shriti, Fence Stile's owner. "We end up doing this numerous times in a season. Personally, I enjoy walking the vineyards, looking at each vine, and seeing the progress."
Check the website and Facebook page in coming weeks for more information on volunteering to help with the vines. Meanwhile, the winery's Tasting Room returns to its normal operating hours. Join us for wine tastings on Thursday, 3 pm - 7 pm, Friday 3 pm - 9 pm, Saturday 11 am - 8 pm, or Sunday 11 am - 5 pm. Visit our home page or calendar for event listings and winery tour dates.
Brand and events manager, chef and cellar rat Pete Dulin documents wine, food and operations at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery through writing and photography.