Local Concert Preview for Chicago:
June 1-9, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2009, Volume 16, #6
Written by John Metzger
Mon June 1, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
6/4 - Crosby, Stills, and Nash - Charter One Pavilion - Chicago - 8:00 p
David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash have an unusual partnership, one that is so laden with egocentric gestures that it undeniably is as combustible as it is fruitful. Consequently, they have spent as much time apart as they have together. Yet, in spite their nearly constant bickering, they also have a healthy respect for each other’s ideas, and this repeatedly has allowed them to set aside their differences and maintain their friendships. In recent years, Crosby, Stills, and Nash have been pouring through the vaults to assemble a series of archival releases devoted to their collective and individual recording projects. The newest of these is Demos, a compilation of material that they committed to tape between 1968 and 1971. The issuance of the outing couldn’t have been better timed either, especially considering that, just a few short days ago, the trio celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut, an album that continues to sparkle and shine beneath the heat of the summer sun. Lest anyone should believe that Crosby, Stills, and Nash are ready to rest on their laurels, the group has begun to work on a compilation of cover songs with über-producer Rick Rubin. No one is saying which tunes will make the final cut, but perhaps a few of them will be revealed through Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s latest round of concert dates.
6/7 - Emmylou Harris / Patty Griffin / Shawn Colvin / Buddy Miller - Ravinia - Highland Park - 7:00 p
In 2007, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller came up with the brilliant idea of uniting for a collaborative tour. Calling themselves Three Girls and Their Buddy, a name that conjures the familial atmosphere of their shows, they hit the road together the following January. Instead of dividing their appearances into four distinctive sets, they have blurred the lines considerably by offering a round-robin presentation of original songs and cover tunes. Over the course of the past 18 months, Harris, Griffin, Colvin, and Miller — who have 15 Grammys and a boatload of critical accolades among them — essentially have examined the realm of Americana music from every possible angle by tackling material from a diverse range of artists that includes Bob Dylan, Lefty Frizzell, the Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, and Bessie Smith. Unfortunately, Miller underwent triple bypass surgery in February, which not surprisingly forced him to miss the few final dates of the collective’s winter sojourn. He is such an integral part of the ensemble’s performances that he will be difficult to replace if he is unable to return to the stage or contribute fully to the quartet’s upcoming series of concerts. Even so, it is quite a treat to see Harris, Griffin, and Colvin in one place.
6/9 - Levon Helm - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Over the course of the past 40 years, Levon Helm often has looked and sounded like a battle-scarred veteran. Now, after overcoming throat cancer, he also is a survivor. Setting up shop in a barn located on his property in Woodstock, New York, the former drummer and vocalist for The Band fought his way back from the brink by performing with friends and family at a regular series of shows known as his Midnight Ramble. Helm subsequently parlayed these appearances into his acoustic-oriented 2007 set Dirt Farmer as well as his newly minted endeavor Electric Dirt. Helm’s concerts outside his home turf are still few and far between, but this summer he has scheduled a handful of events that are designed to bring the laid-back mood of his Midnight Rambles directly to his fans.
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