Local Concert Preview for Chicago & Milwaukee:
February 1-7, 2009

First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2009, Volume 16, #2

Written by John Metzger

Mon February 2, 2009, 06:30 AM CST


2/5 - Joe Ely - FitzGerald's - Berwyn, IL - 8:00 p

Joe Ely and Joel Guzman - Live Cactus!

Prior to hitting the road with his pals in The Flatlanders, Joe Ely will embark upon a short, acoustic tour, which will stop at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on February 5. The Texas–born songwriter is, of course, no stranger to the roadhouse-style nightclub, which typically has served as his home-away-from-home. Accordionist Joel Guzman is joining Ely on his current trek, which is designed to support Live Cactus!, the subdued (but nonetheless potent) concert set they issued last spring. It’s always interesting to hear how artists choose to reinvent their work, and this 13-track collection provides both a terrific introduction to Ely’s canon as well as a solid overview of what fans can expect to hear at this show.

2/6 - Galactic - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p

Galactic - From the Corner to the Block

There is no doubt that Galactic would be a lot more prolific if only Stanton Moore wasn’t in such high demand as a session drummer. Nevertheless, his many side projects have kept the group, which hails from the funky side of New Orleans-imbued tradition, from running short of ideas. Initially, it might have seemed as if its latest outing From the Corner to the Block, which was issued in late 2007, was a dramatic departure from Galactic’s previous efforts. In reality, though, the outing is a natural refinement of the band’s sound. The hefty infusion of hip-hop grooves might have proven difficult to replicate in concert, but Galactic wisely has tapped The Mighty Underdogs, featuring Gift of Gab, for support on its latest tour, which stops at the Vic Theatre on February 6.

2/6 - James Cotton Band - Turner Hall Ballroom - Milwaukee, WI - 8:00 p
2/7 - James Cotton Band - Beverly Arts Center - Chicago - 8:00 p

James Cotton - Vanguard Visionaries

Before venturing out on his own in the late 1960s, James Cotton cut his teeth working alongside Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf, and, most famously, Muddy Waters. His profile may have slipped a bit over the past three decades, but there is no doubt that Cotton’s career is still going strong — a miraculous feat, considering that he has been touring and performing for 65 years. His age combined with an array of health issues may have robbed him of his once-powerful voice, but his skills on harmonica remain first-rate. Cotton will survey his esteemed canon when he visits Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom on February 6 and Chicago’s Beverly Arts Center on February 7.

2/7 - Kathleen Edwards - Old Town School - Chicago - 8:00 p

Kathleen Edwards - Asking for Flowers

Last year very well may be remembered as the moment in which Kathleen Edwards finally escaped comparisons to Lucinda Williams to discover her own voice. Where her previous efforts were somewhat uneven affairs, Asking for Flowers is a focused collection of material that emphasizes her strength and maturity as a songwriter and performer. There is, perhaps, no better venue in the Chicago area for her to explore the wide-ranging dynamics of the album than the Old Town School, which makes this concert on February 7 a must-see event for her devoted fans.

2/7 - Griffin House - Double Door - Chicago - 10:00 p

Griffin House - Flying Upside Down

Fresh from a showcase on the Ten out of Tenn Christmas tour, Griffin House will return to Chicago on February 7 for a headlining show at the Double Door. On his latest endeavor Flying Upside Down, House slips into a comfortable space that frequently recalls the work of Jackson Browne and Ryan Adams. Whether House can parlay his recent successes into something sustainable remains to be seen, but considering the strength of his new material, now certainly is as good a time as any to catch him in concert.


Of Further Interest...

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: February 19-22, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: February 12-18, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: January 24-31, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago: January 8-23, 2009

Local Concert Watch for Chicago and Milwaukee: December 19-31, 2008


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