The term “world music” has never been adequate to the task we’ve set it—even in its most benign reading, it implies a division between the listener and the rest of the world. And if that listener is in the United States, our country’s global hegemony in popular music colors the term’s meaning too. Americans don’t […]
Since 2018, the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective has made waves in town by resurrecting the stylish grooves of the postbop era, which began in the late 1950s—nationally, the sound was shaped by the likes of the Jazz Crusaders, Cannonball Adderley, and Jimmy Smith, and in Chicago the Rush Street club scene was at its height. […]
Beginning with Napster and continuing through Spotify, the nemeses of independent record labels have been legion over the past few decades. The deaths of brick-and-mortar retail chains, including Tower and Borders, have made releasing new music even more of an uphill climb. Yet Pravda Records has weathered it all and continues to thrive. The Chicago […]
In 1997, Wilco’s double album Being There became a fundamental pivot for the Chicago band in a decade filled with triumphs. Twenty-five years later, those songs live on in the band’s live shows, even though in the studio Wilco have traveled to a very different place. The evidence lies on Cruel Country, the band’s second […]
The email Paul Finkelman received last month from Beau O’Reilly read simply, “Can your car fit a piano? . . . Please advise.” The answer was obviously no. Finkelman owned a small hatchback—and besides, there was no way a piano would make it up the narrow stairs at Jimmy Beans Coffee, where he works as […]
Update 6:22 PM Fri 10/22: This story has been changed to add a comment from Bloodshot Records cofounder Nan Warshaw. Bloodshot Records, the Chicago record label that launched the alternative-country genre in the mid-1990s, was purchased this week by a newly formed global investment group that plans to manage and monetize its back catalog. Exceleration […]
Update 8/10: Chuck Prophet’s SPACE concert in August has been postponed till March 17, 2022. The FitzGerald’s show in October is still scheduled to proceed. If the best parts of your classic British Invasion, 50s country, 60s pop, and pure rock ’n’ roll records could be transformed into a person, they might look and sound […]
Dennis J. Leise’s Indiana farm doesn’t just produce food—it’s also the wellspring for his smart, witty country and rockabilly tunes.
Chicago has its share of bands playing country or alternative country, but Thomas Comerford’s lonesome sound is in a category of its own. Comerford straddles the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s and the dusty, deadpan observations of psychedelic iconoclasts such as Bill Callahan. He’s also an independent filmmaker—he teaches film and art history at the […]
Don’t let the live vibe fool you—The Hideout Sessions features no cheering, no clapping, and no cries for “Freebird.” Josh Caterer, lead singer of the Smoking Popes for 30 years, recorded this new collection of songs and covers pandemic style last October: he played to no one, just cameras that livestreamed the show from the […]
For Glen Echo, Azita Youssefi’s first album in more than eight years, she played and recorded every instrument herself.
Beloved drummer and collaborator extraordinaire Joe Camarillo built a long resumé, which includes decades playing with the Waco Brothers and Hushdrops.
Internal strife, unpaid royalties, and the looming possibility of a sale have forced venerable Chicago indie Bloodshot Records to a crossroads.
When humanity’s ship goes down due to a global pandemic, vulture capitalism, and corrupt politics, the band picking and singing the final notes will be Chicago’s Judson Claiborne. So this month—when we’re grappling with the messy aftermath of an election while watching COVID-19 cases skyrocket before our eyes—feels like the perfect time for Christopher Salveter, […]
The Old Town School’s new union fears the administration is treating teachers like commodities, not inspirations.