Davis the Dorchester Bully isn’t rapping too fast—you’re listening too slow. As the Chicagoan says on “Virginia,” a track from his new album with Detroit producer Foule Monk, “Life is as simple as it seems.” And so are his rhymes, even when he serves them up with moments of head-whipping banter. That collaborative album is […]
Pianist, organist, and bassist Richard Gibbs comes from a mighty gospel lineage, and he recently released his first album under his own name, Just for Me (the Sirens), though he’s been performing publicly for nearly five decades. The disc is a tribute to two incredible women who were close to him. One is his mother, […]
Guitarist Marisa Anderson, based in Portland, Oregon, is a veteran solo performer, but solitude isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when she plays. In concert and on a string of solo albums, her reverberant, gritty instrumentals tap into the capacity of blues, gospel, and folk music to bring people together. Anderson’s recent […]
New York singer-songwriter Danielle Ponder has been involved in music for much of her life, but after her brother received a 20-year prison sentence due to a “three strikes” policy, she became an advocate for justice and pursued a legal career. She landed in the public defender’s office in her hometown of Rochester, first as […]
In late 1969 and early 1970, record reviewers at Billboard and Cash Box magazines suggested that “Hello Sunshine” by the Reverend Maceo Woods & the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir, a Chicago single just picked up for distribution by Stax Records’ Volt imprint, could become the next “Oh Happy Day.” The previous June, that Edwin Hawkins […]
If some sort of god or higher power exists, it clearly has a dark sense of humor—otherwise why send us plagues, floods, and fires, till even nonbelievers start to worry about the end times? And only a divine being with a cruel streak would’ve taken the Reverend Marvin Yancy from this earthly plane so young, […]
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events originally planned to celebrate the Year of Chicago Music in 2020. Then the pandemic diminished those festivities to the point that the city declared 2021 the Year of Chicago Music too. The ongoing surge of the Delta variant means the U.S. won’t be rid of the pandemic […]
Chicago has earned bragging rights as the birthplace of Black gospel music. It was here that gospel was first composed, sung, played, published, promoted, recorded, broadcast, and formalized—the last via a national convention with regional chapters. Migrants to Chicago from the south in particular found comfort in it, because it articulated their shared experiences as […]
Chicago played an outsize role in the birth of modern gospel music, but few artists remain from that foundational era.
Production duo Bless the Mad discuss the classic hip-hop, soul, gospel, and jazz records that inspired the reverent sonic collage on their debut album.
The Year of Chicago Music has had less music in it than anybody anticipated, but we still have plenty to celebrate.
Pioneering house DJ Lori Branch shouts out her fellow Windy City originators, including Chaka Khan and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
A lot of theories about how Chicago hip-hop was supposed to operate have been shattered by the events of the past decade—the idea that only one local rapper in a generation could make it big, for instance, or the insistence that the city had a singular sound. While drill became the dominant underground wave, proving […]
By the early 90s Lurrie Bell didn’t even own a guitar anymore, but now he’s got a shelf full of Blues Music Awards.
The new compilation No Other Love shines a light on a self-reliant strain of midwest gospel that’s survived outside the mainstream for more than 50 years.