People pick their college for a lot of reasons beyond education. In Eli Winter’s case, one of the factors that persuaded him to choose the University of Chicago was the chance to engage with the city’s music scene. While growing up in Houston, Texas, the guitarist was particularly drawn to the way Chicago musicians from disparate backgrounds worked together. On his latest solo LP, Eli Winter (Three Lobed), he applies that principle to his own music. His earlier releases are mainly solitary endeavors, but this record contains six ensemble performances, drawing upon a mostly Chicago-based selection of players whose own work encompasses country, classical, jazz, ambient, and heavy rock. Winter’s compositions synthesize those elements into a musical travelogue that evokes physical locations and emotional states. “For a Chisos Bluebonnet” expresses a restless yearning to head for the hills by bringing Tyler Damon’s drumming and Sam Wagster’s arcing steel guitar licks to a near boil, and on “Davening In Threes” the bobbing rhythms in the three interlocking guitar parts (by Winter, Yasmin Williams, and Cameron Knowler) articulate the connection of a shared spiritual experience. “No Fear” uses Jordan Reyes’s fuzzy synthesizer outbursts and Ryley Walker’s disruptive electric guitar to impart the thrill of riding the edge of chaos. Most of Winter’s contributors will join him onstage at this record-release show; he and Knowler will open with a set of electric-guitar duos.
Eli Winter Winter and Cameron Knowler open with a duo set. Sat 8/20, 8:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $15, 18+