Elvin Bishop Elvin Bishop, who lived outside the small town of Elliott, Iowa, as a child, attributes his connection with the blues community to his rural upbringing. "The reason I fell in so easy with the old blues guys," he said, "is because I knew the feeling of being out in the country and not much going on. ... You grew up with kerosene lamps and wood-burning stoves and shit like that."

The Great Black Music Ensemble The Great Black Music Ensemble, with almost 40 members, has long been an avant-garde force in jazz. CDBaby.com asserted that the ensemble brings "the excitement of new sounds and rhythms, while incorporating the traditions of black music including funk, reggae, bebop, swing, and more" to its music. The group is one of two bands connected to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a group that has made "unparalleled contributions to modern music," according to JazzPolice.com. Before 2005, the ensemble was known as the AACM Big Band.

Reader issue #689 For Alma Grimmett, the lure of home ownership was enough to make her leave the middle-class Hilltop neighborhood in Rock Island and move to a rougher part of town: Habitat Park in the Old Chicago area. "I knew what I wanted - I wanted a home," she said. "I knew what I had to do."

Imagination Library, a program originally developed by Dolly Parton's not-for-profit organization, is coming to the Quad Cities. United Way of the Quad Cities Area is sponsoring the program, which sends one book per month to children through age five. Books are chosen with skill levels specific to those ages.

Bruce Braley A bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in April aims to help the millions of Americans who struggle to understand tax forms and other correspondence from the federal government.