Friday, April 15, 2005

Attention Chicago Area Music Lovers!

For those readers of Gower Street in the Chicago area, here are two primo music shows featuring friends and/or relatives that you should check out:

First, April 15th, tax day: after paying your taxes who wouldn't enjoy a little bluegrass? Open Road, one of the country's hottest up-and-coming bluegrass acts is going to be in Evanston, April 15th, at 8pm. The venue is the American Legion Music Hall, 1030 Central Street, Evanston. Call 847-573-0443 for tickets. (For more show information, click here.)

Now, I know what you're thinking: bluegrass? Are you kidding?

I am not. I never thought of myself as a bluegrass fan until longtime friend Amy Reinholds married Caleb Roberts, a wicked good mandolin player (who also happens to be a gifted electrical engineer, but that's another story). Now Amy keeps good company, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt from the start. Then when I was out in Denver for a conference I saw Amy and she gave me a copy of their first released CD. My wife and I drove up into the Rocky Mountains and listened and were surprised to find that we liked what we heard. It grew on us.

Then they rolled through town and did a show about 30 miles from our home. We went to hear them play, and the rest, as they say, is history: we were sold. So take it from me -- give it a chance, you won't be sorry.

(And don't worry that this might be some bizarre, backdoor "gateway" music to listening to contemporary country and western: I am living proof that you can never touch the stuff and still be a real live bluegrass fan. On the other hand, if you already like C/W music, you would probably get a kick out of bluegrass, too, and especially Open Road. Check 'em out!))

I still love this review of Open Road that I found on their website, from someone who heard them in Lansing, MI:

Folks, these are talented young men, polite as the day is long, young men you'd want your daughter to marry. They put on a clean show and good family entertainment. They dress well, their hats aren't squashed, and they play good traditional bluegrass. No hippie jams or crossover stuff. Next time you see them, buy them a cup of coffee and a slice of pie (each).
cheers, Drew Howard

Second, April 22, a week from this Friday, my sister-in-law Rebecca Gurga will be performing at the Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park in Chicago. The show is at 9 pm. Becky is a gifted musician: a singer-songwriter and guitarist. Her lyrics have depth and maturity, and are pleasingly complex like a fine wine or a good cigar. Although many of her songs rock with energy, there is nothing radio-ready pop dreck about them at all. Her musical style is her own, but with some hints of Edie Brickell, Suzanne Vega, Bossa Nova, and even (I think) a little Velvet Underground. She is opening for two other acts, she'll have CDs available for sale, and the cover charge is only $5. So come on out, maybe have some dinner, and enjoy some high quality live music.

Although we will (sadly) not be able to make it to the Open Road show, we have firm plans to attend Becky's show. So, if you see us, stop and say "hi".


Blogger Gaunilo said...

Aaargh! I'm already double-booked on the 22nd! The Heartland Cafe is like a mile from our apartment, too.

Friday, April 15, 2005 4:30:00 PM  
Blogger Philip Young said...

Ah, I didn't even know that Caleb was in a band. I just did some research and found that their "In The Life" album is available on iTunes. I'll have to check it out.

Friday, April 15, 2005 10:17:00 PM  

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