Tuesday, February 28, 2006

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Hank III Makes One Hell of a Great New Disc
The tempos are fast. The twang is deep. (The Dobro player deserves a trophy!) And the lyrics are PROFANE!!! (You've been warned.) But the spawn of Hank, Jr. and grandspawn of the immortal Hank, Sr., takes the next big leap in his loud, fast rule of the frontiers of alternative country (with his middle finger firmly and stoutly erected in the general direction of the Nashville establishment). With his backup band "Ass Jack" in tow, Hank III runs rip-snortin' through 13 tunes that've been honed and sharpened by constant touring. This album is tight. Buy it on iTunes and get two bonus tracks not on the compact disc. But don't play it at work!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Upcoming Shows at the Old Town School

Junior Brown with The Hoyle Brothers
Texas guitar slinger JB plays the world's only Telecaster-Lapsteel combo instrument. And he plays it like a true master. Brown's deep baritone vocals and a strong penchant for upholding the legacy of Ernest Tubb make for one heck of a show. Warm up act the Hoyle Brothers are Chicago faves in the honky tonk tradition.
Sat, May 13 at 7:00 PM & 10:00 PM

Jim Lauderdale and Gail Davies
Vicki told me a funny story about how she met this guy with a Nudie suit and funky side burns at MerleFest. She wasn't sure who the heck he was until she saw him on stage later and realized he must be somebody! I told her about how Jim Lauderdale sang back ups and wrote songs for everybody from Emmy Lou Harris to Lucinda Williams. And he's recorded a pair of incredible traditional bluegrass CDs with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. This show promises to be more in the singer-songwriter vein of Lauderdale's ouerve.
Sun, May 21 at 7:00 PM

Abigail Washburn with The Crooked Jades
Here's another of my personal favorites. Abigail Washburn plays banjo in the all-girl bluegrass/old time band Uncle Earl. She's toured China with Bela Fleck. Actually, she's fluent in Mandarin and even sings a couple of songs in Chinese. Her songs are simple yet elegant. And the rough hewn delivery of her instrumental chops lends an air of authenticity to the story songs she shares with eloquence and honesty with her audience.
Sun, Jun 4 at 7:00 PM

Tickets for all shows go on sale to Old Town School members on 3/6/2006, and to the general public on 3/10/2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pickin' Some Mighty Fine Pickers
Jim Polaski heard these folks on Don Reno's Bluegrass on DSS (Direct TV) RFD-TV (http://www.rfdtv.com/shows/bluegrass.asp) yesterday and they're mighty good!

The Clusterpluckers ... WHAT a name!!!

The Cluster Pluckers

Reno's show comes from Blue Highways TV. They have a great DVD set from the show. And Ronnie Reno has his own site -- www.RonnieReno.com

Monday, February 13, 2006

[ Another Mighty Fine Young String Band ]
The Avett Brothers

They've played MerleFest, Bean Blossom and all the rest of 'em. Just a trio with bass fiddle, guitar and banjo. And there's hell raisin' in their blood. Not a cozy dish of home cookin' in the old time tradition; more like a bowl of fire with a whomp bomp a loomah a whomp bam boom! Visit the fellas' official web site for more info and their brand new CD (as of Feb '06).
Reminder: Now pickin' an' singin' at The Oak Park Arms ...
Session starts at 9:30 a.m. Get details here.

Vintage postcard of The Oak Park Arms

As well as The Buzz Café Please note that I've heard the Buzz is pretty crowded these days. Consider both the OP Arms and Buzz sessions for your next Saturday morning pickin' an' a singin' pleasure. Each one is mighty fine!
Here Comes ... John Prine!

Genesee Theatre, Waukegan, IL
Sat, May 6, 2006 at 8:00 PM

Buy tickets online from Ticketmaster

Saturday, February 11, 2006

[ Bluegrass Brunch at Horseshoe Chicago ]
The Dimestore String Band
We can forgive these fellers for playin' with an electric bass guitar. Especially 'cause they're real good pickers. (And the stage is real small.) The location is north of Irving Park on the north side of Chicago. See some photos here.

[ Another Mighty Fine String Band ]
The Reeltime Travelers

- Listen to two tracks here
- Official band site here where you can buy their new "live" CD

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sunday, February 12 at 7:30 PM.
Lilly's, 2515 N. Lincoln in Chicago - 773 525 2422

>In the theme of Somebody Else's Troubles Sundays held in the past
>years at Lucille's; featured will be Matt Stevens, fine songwriter
>in the classic Chicago style. Co-host is the great Kat Eggleston.
>Join us for the series' return to Lincoln Avenue.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

[ Country meets Bluegrass ]
The Woodys

This husband-and-wife duo sing angelic harmonies. Truly a great blend of voices in the Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris mold. They've got three CDs out. The new one, Telluride to Tennessee, features more of a bluegrass feel with top flight session players such as Chris Hillman, Herb Pederson, Jimmy Fadden, Al Perkins and Ronnie McCoury.
Cherryholmes - a "Mighty Fine" Family Band
[ http://www.cherryholmesfamilyband.com ]

I read a supportive review in the Sunday NY Times today and ended up buying the CD on impulse (it's on sale for $9.99 at the Virgin Megastore). And ... it's fantastic! You can hear Windows Media Player audio samples on the band's Web site - click the link above. This TN-based group is slated to play on March 25 at the 11th Annual Northern Illinois Bluegrass Festival, Naperville, IL, 217-243-3159 (www.bluegrassmidwest.com).