It’s been a busy year for Chicago’s Souled American: they released their sixth and most distinctive album, Notes Campfire (Moll), toured Germany, and played in their hometown three times–and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, it was for Souled American, who’ve been practically invisible here for most of the decade. The ascent of twisted folk- and country-influenced renegades like Will Oldham and Richard Buckner has reopened a door for these obscure pioneers and, at least for now, they’ve decided to use it. At the Empty Bottle this fall, with a second guitarist and sparse help from a percussionist, core members Chris Grigoroff and Joe Adducci managed to double the intensity of their recordings, their slithering, minimal dirges suggesting all sorts of dark resonances hidden in the massive, intentional voids of their playing. The music was so perversely economical it packed a symphonic wallop. Experimentalist Jim O’Rourke, a longtime fan of the band, opens. Saturday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Jeff Hammand.