Thursday, April 30, 2020


The Road Is Closed. The many a winding turn that led us to sheltering in place and social distancing now includes The Hollies canceling their first visit to Chicago in 37 years. The band’s entire American tour (their first since a 2002 mini-tour of small cities) has been shut down due to Covid-19. The announcement came today on the official Hollies website and a video from drummer Bobby Elliott on their Facebook page. The U.K. portion of their 2020 schedule was scratched earlier. But I’m strong, strong enough to know it was the right thing to do, and believe they’ll keep their promise to visit the U.S. soon. I might feel a bit better though if Bobby Elliott told me where I can buy a Hollies t-shirt like the one he’s wearing in the video.

And don’t forget, you can buy Mr. Elliott’s new autobiography It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In The Hollies from the band’s website. I’m over halfway through my copy and have found it entertaining and informative. For example, I didn’t know guitarist-harmony singer Tony Hicks once appeared as a celebrity guest on The Dating Game TV show in the mid 1960s.

The Our City Of Neighbors virtual concert kicked off tonight at 7:00 p.m. on YouTube. Jeff Tweedy, Katie Kadan, Toronzo Cannon, Mariachi Sirenas, The O’Mys, The Flat Five, Shawnee Dez, Terriers, Sandra Antongiorgi, Ric Wilson, NNAMDI, Dominizuelan, and Jon Langford are among the Chicago music acts who’ll be performing. NBC Channel 5/Telemundo personality Matthew Rodrigues will host the event, which hopes to raise emergency funds for four front-line nonprofit organizations.

Work And Love, the second album from the Chicago trio Sunshine Boys, officially comes out tomorrow on Pravda Records, but two of its tracks have already been getting considerable airplay on independent radio stations like Woody Radio and Radio One Chicago. “Infinity Girl” and “Summertime Kids” suggest band members Dag Juhlin, Freda Love Smith, and Jacqueline Schimmel will adroitly balance politically charged rock with expertly crafted pop on Work And Love, just as they did on their 2018 debut Blue Music.

Black Ensemble Theatre’s Ask Us virtual series continues this Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. with its Musical Director Rob Reddrick. The hour-long Live Facebook Chat will give attendees a chance to ask Reddrick about his 30-plus years at BE, the awards he’s been given, and his passion for directing critically acclaimed musicals celebrating iconic African American recording artists.

Outronaut, a guitar-fueled hot rod of a quartet that favors twangy instrumentals, will make its fourth album, Kill The Light, available on its Bandcamp page tomorrow. Steve Gerlach, Ryan Nelson, and Peter Muschong all play guitar while John Carpender pounds the drums. Each of these guys has a long history of performing on the local music scene. Songs on their previous releases include “Back Stabbeth,” “Six-String Massacre,” “Medieval Surf,” and “Dream Sequins.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

From Their Rooms To Ours

Graham Nash recently performed three songs as part of the Rolling Stone In My Room virtual concert series. The solo effort was filmed at his New York apartment, and found him playing piano for his own compositions “Our House” and “Teach Your Children.” In between those numbers, Nash switched to an acoustic guitar for his take on Stephen Stills’ “4 + 20.” As Rolling Stone noted, all three songs came from the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album Deja Vu. In addition to his engaging singing and playing, Nash offered heartfelt advice and comfort on how we can all make it through the coronavirus lockdown. The In My Room series also recently featured Brian Wilson, which is only fitting since the series takes its name from the song Wilson wrote with Gary Usher for The Beach Boys in 1963. Other In My Room shows have featured Nick Lowe, Joan Jett, John Fogerty, and Grace Potter.

I’ve been reading drummer Bobby Elliott’s new autobiography It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In The Hollies, and have just reached the part where Graham Nash makes the difficult decision to leave the British Invasion band. “He was, perhaps, feeling torn,” Elliott speculates. “Drawn by his new-found friends in the States, and the promise of fresh musical adventures, he still valued The Hollies. The band had been his life for a long time and walking away would be hard.” Elliott goes on to say Nash was particularly dismayed by the number of cabaret gigs the band’s management was scheduling; believing it woefully out of step with what most rock bands were doing at the time. Elliott also recounts when The Hollies wowed a packed house of top notch American musicians, including Stephen Stills and David Crosby, at the Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California. I’ve read about that eventful evening before, and always wonder if there were any recordings of it.

The Miami-based indie rock band Ex Norwegian has a series of Live In Stream shows scheduled tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29) on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Details can be found on the group’s Facebook page. I’ve favorably reviewed Ex Norwegian’s recent albums here on Broken Hearted Toy and have watched some videos, but have never seen them in a live performance. The band’s latest album Spotting Hues is due out June 5, and is available for pre-order on its Bandcamp page.

Also, keep checking social media for live performance videos posted by your favorite local and international music acts. The Power Pop Shoppe is doing a live broadcast on Facebook as I’m writing this. Earlier today, Chicago singer-songwriter Phil Angotti posted a stirring performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Going To California.” Other recent videos have come from John Petitt, Michael Steven Cohen, and Casey McDonough. Keep all those songs coming our way.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

The Fitzgerald’s music venue in Berwyn will continue its Stay-At-Home Concert Series this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. when singer-songwriter Phil Angotti hops on the back of a pickup truck armed only with a guitar and a desire to entertain. As with previous Stay-At-Home concerts by Jon Langford, Dag Juhlin, and Cathy Richardson, Angotti will perform while the truck makes pre-arranged stops based on requests from the residents of Berwyn. He’ll likely offer a mix of originals and cover versions. Residents are encouraged to come out and enjoy Phil’s songs while maintaining social distancing, and everyone can watch the entire rolling concert on the FitzGerald’s Facebook page. Chicago Sun-Times staff reporter Evan F. Moore had a nice article about the Stay-At-Home Concert Series in yesterday’s Weekend Plus section.

Phil Angotti will be inside FitzGerald’s on June 13 for an album release show. The Mark Watson Band will also be performing that night.

Chicago-based singer-guitarist Ben Vogel will be performing songs from his debut album Whistling After Midnight during a live-streaming concert from Montrose Saloon starting at 9:00 p.m. tonight. Most of the songs on Vogel’s album are guitar-driven, catchy power pop, and he also does well with the more rockabilly “I Hope Your’e Happy Now” and the soulful “Beautiful Sun.”

Tickets went on sale today for Steve Forbert at FitzGerald’s on June 5; Freddy Jones Band at SPACE on September 17; Elton John at United Center on June 19 and 20; Michael McDermott at City Winery on June 5; and Ike Reilly at SPACE on November 11. Keep in mind all live performance dates are subject to when shelter in place restrictions are lifted.

The above listings are from this week’s edition of The Reader, which had a very limited distribution but is available online via the weekly free paper’s website .

Doctors without (galactic) borders. The Big Night In BBC Comic Relief special this past Thursday night included a video tribute from nine actors who have portrayed The Doctor on the long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who expressing gratitude to England’s NHS medical professionals. Jodie Whittaker, Jo Martin, Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, and Tom Baker appeared in the inspirational clip.

Jeff Tweedy, Katie Kadan, Toronzo Cannon, Mariachi Sirenas, The O’Mys, The Flat Five, Shawnee Dez, Terriers, Sandra Antongiorgi, Ric Wilson, NNAMDI, Dominizuelan, and Jon Langford are among the Chicago music acts who’ll be performing this Thursday, April 30 as part of the Windy City Indie sponsored Our City Of Neighbors virtual concert onYouTube. NBC Channel 5/Telemundo personality Matthew Rodrigues will host the event, which hopes to raise emergency funds for four front-line nonprofit organizations.

Once again, I’d like to extend a big thank you to all the musicians, performers, artists, and countless creative types who’ve been posting entertaining clips on social media. Recently, Bangles drummer Debbi Peterson posted a video of herself strumming an acoustic guitar and singing “Live” from the band’s stellar 1984 LP All Over The Place. The cover of The Merry Go Round’s 1966 song was one of only two non-original tracks on All Over The Place. A lot of people (even some critics who should know better) assume The Bangles never wrote their own material, but the band actually composed most of their music.

Manchester Lemon, a website devoted to some of the best bands to emerge from the British city in recent decades, is offering a coloring book for those wanting to create crayola portraits of Oasis, The Buzzcocks, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, Joy Division, and other Manchester acts. There are 20 designs; felt pens and color pencils are included.

Frank Carr, a founding member of the Famous In The Future sketch comedy group, has been creating watch parties for vintage performances on the group’s Facebook page. Last night’s online event was the 2002 musical Chicken Soup for the Damned, which brought back memories since I was a member of the group at that time. Although I don’t see it listed yet, Carr told me this Sunday night will bring a triple bill of his religious satire Two Chicks, a skit and song revue titled Masters Of Anonymity, and a musical called Damn Andersen—all from 2002.

Back then, I was one of thousands of employees laid off by Arthur Andersen during its Enron crisis. With extra time on my hands, I strung together six parody songs based my experiences during the ordeal. After convincing Famous In The Future we could base a show on them, I sent copies of my script to various members of the media. Amazingly, some of them found the concept of a musical composed by a former Andersen employee intriguing, and asked to interview me. My story was featured in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, and a few local papers. Damn Andersen became our biggest hit; selling out small theaters in the Chicago area.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Oh, What The Hell!

Most of the cast from Chicken Soup For The Damned

Frank Carr, a founding member of the Famous In The Future sketch comedy group, has two watch parties coming up this weekend on the group’s Facebook page. Tonight’s online event is the 2002 musical Chicken Soup for the Damned. I was in the group at that time, and when cast member Desiree Burcum first passed around her scripts and asked what we thought of it, I responded, “Well, I’m a lot more afraid of you now.” It’s definitely a dark comedy.

I got in on the act by writing the lyrics for a number called “What Could Be Worse Than Life?” I portrayed a lost soul who actually preferred eternal damnation to his miserable time of being alive. As I’ve mentioned before, I have no singing ability, so a fellow cast member hid behind a prop onstage and tapped my calf to keep me in rhythm. It sort of worked. I also offered a parody titled “Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” but Burcum passed on that one. Chicken Soup for the Damned begins at 8:00 p.m. tonight. On this Sunday night, there’s a triple bill of FIF performances. More about them later.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Sound He Appears To Make

Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey from The dB’s have a new album that’s only available as a digital download from Omnivore Recordings. It’s part of the indie label’s double-release campaign to raise money for the MusiCares COVID19 Relief Fund. The other digital-only entry is the 12-minute song “Do The Primal Thing (Extended Version)” from NRBQ. Our Back Pages finds Holsapple and Stamey crafting sweet harmonies and new, acoustic arrangements on 11 tracks from The dB’s impressive collection of catchy and emotionally complex pop tunes. “Happenstance,” “Molly Says,” and “Picture Sleeve” are particularly enjoyable. NRBQ’s “Do The Primal Thing (Extended Version) is a live recording from a 2014 concert at the Fairfield Theatre Company in Connecticut, and features band members Terry Adams, Scott Ligon, and Casey McDonough, joined by special guest musicians.

When The Britannicas recorded their newest single “Walls and Stars” from their homes in three different countries, they weren’t experimenting with social distancing or paying homage to The Rolling Stones’ performance of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on this past Saturday’s One World: Together At Home Global Broadcast. It’s the way this international power pop band has been operating for years. Guitarist-backing vocalist Joe Algeri lives in Australia; guitarist Magnus Karlsson and drummer Stefan Johansson live in Sweden; and lead vocalist-bassist Herb Eimerman lives in the U.S.A. Written by Eimerman and mixed and produced by Algeri, “Walls and Stars” features the chiming Rickenbacker guitar, fluid melody, and Byrds-like harmonies we’ve come to expect from The Britannicas, with the added benefit of a bit more crunch than usual. The song is available for download at Algeri’s Egomaniac Bandcamp page.

As I read Duncan Fletcher’s review of the new 45 rpm single from The Cyrcles in the latest issue of Shindig magazine, I was immediately hooked by him comparing the U.K. sextet to Graham Nash era Hollies. Sure enough, a peek at The Cyrcles’ webpage turned up a short clip of them covering “Carrie Anne” at a live gig. As for the new single “It’s All Gonna Work Out Fine”/“Open Your Eyes,” the ringing guitars, catchy melodies, and spirited singing from lead and backing vocalist-guitarist Jon Breward, lead and backing vocalist-acoustic rhythm guitarist Adam Kelly, and rhythm guitarist-backing vocalist Mark Jones are top notch. Either of these songs could have fit right in on The Hollies’ Evolution album.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Depending on when you read this, you can watch powerhouse vocalist Cathy Richardson traveling the streets of Berwyn and Oak Park on the back of a pickup truck. Her performance starts at 4:00 p.m. today and is the third round of Fitzgerald’s Stay-At- Home Concert Series. Residents are encouraged to come out and enjoy her songs while maintaining social distancing, and everyone can watch the entire rolling concert on the music venue’s Facebook page. Richardson is a veteran of the Chicago music scene, and portrayed Janis Joplin in a critically acclaimed musical. Dag Juhlin and Jon Langford performed last Saturday and the Saturday before respectively, so Stay-At-Home is off to an impressive start. Juhlin played originals and cover tunes for over 90 minutes last week, and I realized he and I like a lot of the same bands.

The One World: Together At Home Global Broadcast takes place tonight at 7:00 p.m. CST and will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert. The performers will include Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Elton John, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Stevie Wonder, Lizzo, Eddie Vedder, John Legend, Chris Martin, Kacey Musgraves, J Balvin, Keith Urban, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Joe Armstrong, Jennifer Lopez and the recently added Rolling Stones.

Tickets are now on sale for Every Shiny Thing: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell with Andrea Bunch at Mauer Hall, Old Town School Of Folk Music on June 12; Off Broadway and The Handcuffs at Reggies Rock Club on August 22; and Duke Tomatoe and The Power Trio and Joanna Connor Blues Band at Kingston Mines on June 10 and 11. The Off Broadway/Handcuffs gig is a newly rescheduled date postponed from earlier this year. By then, we should be familiar with the all the songs on The Handcuffs’ new album and able to sing along.

The above listings are from this week’s edition of The Reader, which had a very limited distribution but is available online. Not to sound like young George Bailey bragging to Mary Hatch about his National Geographic subscription in It’s A Wonderful Life, but I get a copy of The Reader sent to my door. You can subscribe too by going to the publication’s website.

Happy Birthday to actor David Tennant. The BBC Doctor Who Instagram site posted an eye-popping montage to its former star today. Tennant will be part of the Big Night In BBC Comic Relief special next Thursday night.

The Lost Weekend. I’ve had April 18 marked on my calendar for a couple months because it would have been day two of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago, as well as Record Store Day. The latter has been rescheduled for June 20, so I’ll hang on to my wish list of limited-edition vinyl releases and be ready to stand outside Reckless Records on that (hopefully) warm and sunny Saturday morning. As for International Pop Overthrow, which was slated for nine days at the LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue, the picture is less clear. A message on the official IPO site states, “Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all IPO festivals originally planned in April and May are either cancelled or possibly postponed. - - - Schedule details for all IPO 2020 cities to be announced once the current worldwide health crisis is over.” Here’s wishing IPO founder David Bash the best of luck with his traveling power pop/indie rock festival.

Record Store Day UK has launched #RSDFillTheGap to celebrate this year’s original date. “To celebrate what would have been Record Store Day on Saturday 18th April, we’re asking our community of music lovers to support their local record shop.” Noble sentiment, indeed. Let’s all buy some vinyl today from a local record store.

I’m halfway through Bobby Elliott’s fun and interesting autobiography It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In The Hollies. Like me, he fancied World Wart II airplanes as a child, and still has a model of a Spitfire his uncle made from scratch decades ago. His harrowing descriptions of working in the depths of an English coal mine as a lad underscore his gratitude that he made it out alive and went on to a highly successful rock and roll career.

As I started reading about The Hollies’ first trip to Chicago in the mid-1960s, I flashed back to hearing the band being interviewed on WLS. That was right around the time I became an avid fan. Sure enough, Elliott brings up that occasion, and I love his recollection: “WLS was one of the most listened to radio stations in the Chicago area, and we were invited on for an interview with DJ Ron Riley. We liked Ron and he seemed to like us. He asked us to take turns manning the phones so that kids could call in and ask questions or chat to us. Good fun and a first for us.”

In addition to The Reader, I got my copy of the April issue of Shindig magazine in the mail today. It has an interview with Bobby Elliott about his new book, as well as a tribute to the late Neil Innes and a cover story on The Beau Brummels.

Here’s hoping everyone stays safe, healthy and sane as we follow what the medical community tells us regarding the coronavirus quarantine. We can make it though this together.

Friday, April 10, 2020


Many a time I’ve wished the FitzGerald’s venue in Berwyn wasn’t so far away from me. New owner Bill Duncan looks like a good choice to carry on the high standards and eclectic bookings maintained by Bill FitzGerald for close to four decades. And now, FitzGerald’s has a Stay At Home Concert Series that brings live music to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as on social media. Jon Langford, a founding member of The Mekons and recording artist for Bloodshot Records, kicked things off last Saturday by performing on the back of a flatbed truck as it drove around the local streets.

Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., it will be Dag Juhlin’s turn to serenade Berwyn residents, as well as people on their phones and computers. He’s currently a member of Sunshine Boys, The 45, Poi Dog Pondering, and EXPO ’76; so he’ll have a wealth of material to choose from. He recently promised on Facebook and Instagram that he’ll concentrate on Sunshine Boys songs, including the latest single “Summertime Kids” from the band’s second release Love And Work. It’s a wistful glance back at childhood, with the kind of irresistible melody Sunshine Boys consistently create. Juhlin also hinted he might throw in a few selections by The Slugs, the punk band he formed with his brother Gregg back in 1983. The fun begins at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 11 in Berwyn and via live streaming.

Just a word about The 45, the band I mentioned above. Since Chicago Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper is the driving force and lead vocalist, it’s probably not likely Juhlin will perform any songs by The 45 tomorrow afternoon. But keep an eye out for this group, which also includes other Chicago music scene vets. I caught their set at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights a few months back, and it was amazing. They’ll have an album coming out sometime hopefully in the not too distant future.

Lots of talented people continue to entertain us by posting performance videos on social media. A few recent ones I particularly liked were former Houndmouth vocalist-guitarist Katie Toupin doing the Patsy Cline standard “Crazy,” and Chicago-based singer-songwriter Phil Angotti covering Graham Nash’s “Our House.” Be sure to keep checking on your favorite artists to see if they’ve posted any live performances.

My autographed copy of Bobby Elliott’s new book It Aint Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In The Hollies arrived in the mail yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. It’s a 316-page effort from the acclaimed drummer, starting with his birth on the day after Pearl Harbor through his career with the still active British Invasion band. In the Acknowledgements, Elliott gives a shoutout to lead guitarist/harmony vocalist Tony Hicks, who like Elliott, still tours and records with The Hollies. “Above all I must thank Tony Hicks. He and I started out as two teenagers with a passion for music and a dream that certainly came true.” Elliott was recently interviewed about the book on the ITV online site

Other fabulous recent deliveries from Mr. Postman: The Reader Coloring Book, which features 48 pages of black and white Chicago-themed art perfectly suited for embellishing with crayons. It’s part of a fundraising effort for the long-running free paper and the participating artists; you can purchase a copy on the website.  The four-CD boxed set Shoes Elektrafied - The Elektra Years 1978 – 1982. It includes Present Tense, Tongue Twister, and Boomerang; and each comes with bonus 8-Track Home Demo Versions. There’s also a booklet with a comprehensive history of the Zion, IL band. and an 18-track Rarities disc with demo versions and live performances.

Ellisong Studios recently posted on Instagram that its upcoming documentary Out Of Time: The Material Issue Story will include the band’s lead vocalist Jim Ellison joining Liz Phair for a previously unreleased cover of “Hanging On The Telephone.” The song was previously recorded by Blondie in 1978, and originally done by The Nerves in 1976. Balin Schneider’s Out Of Time film is due out some time in 2021.

According to a recent article by Associated Press film writer Jake Coyle, the recently canceled SXSW Film Festival will find new life when a good portion of its schedule will appear on Amazon Prime as part of a 10-day event coming at the end of this month. For this special occasion, it won’t be necessary to have an Amazon Prime Membership to watch the movies.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Silly Me

That’s me on the left, in the gang of four.

I’ve mentioned here from time to time that I wrote and performed with the Chicago-based comedy group Famous In The Future for 20 years. They’ve done splendidly since my departure in 2008, and stage the annual Yippie Fest at Prop Thtr on the north side. The event carries on the tradition of Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival, a freewheeling weekend of performance art that was held every August on the anniversary of the original Woodstock.

I’m still friends with the current Famous In The Future cast, and recently learned that Frank Carr—a founding member like myself—is presenting a viewing party tonight at 9:00 p.m. CST on the Famous In The Future Facebook page. It’s a vintage recording of a Barbie musical in which I sing, and possibly dance, while costumed as a Dapper Dan doll. If you believe in the theory that people become rock critics because they have no music ability, this will provide all the proof you need.

But like a lot of shows I did with Famous In The Future, it was certainly fun. Long-time cast member and Barbie/Marilyn Monroe fanatic Desiree Burcum came up with some clever ideas and songs, and whether intentionally or not, my duet with her is pretty comical. Some of my best memories of this show are of the cast cracking up during rehearsals. At one point, I was supposed enter while Burcum was sitting in a pink-painted cardboard box which I’m about to describe in glowing terms as “her chariot,” and I totally lost it. I haven’t seen the Barbie musical in ages, so who knows how well it will hold up. But we’re all locked down anyway, so why not give it a shot? I’m pretty sure the Famous In The Future Facebook page is public.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sunday Papers

Ronnie Wood is one of the many celebrities offering encouragement on social media.

As we’re about to begin another week of sheltering in place, I’d like to express my amazement and gratitude to everyone on social media who’s posting encouragement, positive vibes, and various forms of art and entertainment. As I was researching Facebook this past Friday night for items to mention on my blog, I kept getting notices that people were currently performing live. An image came to me of stars appearing one by one in the night sky until it was full of them. I couldn’t begin to give them all credit here, so let me just suggest checking out your favorite world-famous and local performers on social media and discover the entertainment they have to offer. In many cases, they’ll throw a great perk your way for funding a charitable cause they’re supporting. And by all means, keep in touch with friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Happy Birthday to Allan Clarke, the former lead vocalist of The Hollies, and one of pop music’s most distinctive voices. Clarke recently released Resurgence, his first solo album in several years. The songs seem more influenced by Bruce Springsteen than his old mates, but it’s definitely worth checking out. (Clarke was a huge Springsteen fan even before a lot of people in the States were.) Cheers, Allan!

If you’re wishing you had been able to pick up this week’s edition of The Reader, you can download a copy on the official website. It has all the usual features, listings, and reviews. If you prefer an actual copy of The Reader, a $50 subscription will bring 12 issues directly to your home. You’ll also be helping to keep Chicago’s long-running free paper in business in these difficult times.

The April edition of the Illinois Entertainer, another Chicago-based free publication, is also available online. In addition to Tom Lahham’s cover story on Best Coast, this issue includes his feature stories on Johnny Marr and The Scorpions. The Spins section offers reviews of new releases by Pearl Jam, Stephen Malkmus, and Greg Dulli.

The Outta Space Arts in Berwyn is currently accepting submissions for its Virtual Art Show: All Love. Drawings, paintings, print, mixed media, digital, fabric, and photo material are welcome. The deadline for submitting is April 6.

If you’re one of the many fans of the Laurie’s Planet Of Sound record store on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, you can show your support by purchasing a special t-shirt designed by the Barrel Maker Printing.

City Winery - Chicago has announced a trio of shows for its Open To The Future Concert Series, which invites patrons to buy tickets now for events coming up months later. Chris Hillman, a founding member of the iconic folk rock band The Byrds, will be coming to town on October 25 for An Evening Of Stories and Songs. Musicians Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson will be joining him. Damien Escobar has a pair of shows on November 7, and folk singer Tom Rush will perform on November 19. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the venue’s employee relief fund.

Vocalist Shirley Manson just wrapped up a month-long series on Instagram honoring women musicians. The informative and entertaining portraits ran on her band Garbage’s page and covered well-known, as well as more obscure recording artists. In addition to them, we learned more about Manson herself, and she’s every bit as cool as her fans would imagine.

EXPO ’76, the Chicago-based, wildly eclectic covers band made up of music scene veterans, will soon have its own podcast on Steve Dahl’s network. If you’ve seen EXPO ’76 live, you can easily see how they would fit in well on a comic disk jockey’s network.

Congratulations to Chicago area author Cherie Colyer on signing a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her latest paranormal YA novel Damned When I Didn’t. Colyer and I are long-time members of the northwest Illinois chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Meetings have been suspended during the coronavirus lockdown, but I’d like to give a shoutout to all the participants over the years. Without their help and inspiration, I would have never been able to complete the four novels that I’m currently shopping to agents and small publishers.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Sound He Appears To Make

There still hasn’t been much news regarding live performances, so here’s another round of a BHT feature designed to promote new music being released by recording artists around the world. I’ll continue to post full album reviews as well.

The Monkees Live – The Mike And Micky Show was released in digital and CD format yesterday. The album is being promoted as the first Monkees live recording and includes early hits such as “Last Train To Clarksville” and “I’m A Believer,” as well as the much more recent “Me And Magdalena.” The duo also performs deep cuts, such as “Randy Scouse Git” and “You Just Might Be The One.” The Mike And Micky Show will be available as a double LP on May 15.

A brand new four-song EP titled The Codependent by The Unswept is now available on the trio’s Bandcamp page. There’s a rougher edge to The Unswept’s familiar British Invasion-arrives-in-Chicago approach this time out, particularly on the first three tracks. Their Bandcamp page attributes the power surge to bass player Liz O’Brien purchasing a new Fender Supersonic amp, but rest assured, catchy melodies are still an essential ingredient. The satirical final track “Wonderfully Perfectly Right” is more in line with The Unswept’s previously whimsical efforts.

Red Skylark, the solo project by Columbus, OH musician Ed Shuttleworth, has a marvelous new CD titled Collection 1 that offers 14 tracks that were previously only available as digital downloads. Each of these power pop tunes has an immediate impact, thanks to Shuttleworth’s engaging vocals, as well as inventive arrangements that offer hints of prog and psychedelic rock. Collection 1 will soon be available from Kool Kat Musik.

Missing Persons, the 1980s band whose irresistible techno songs “Words,” “Destination Unknown,” and “Walking In L.A.” became dance club favorites, has a new album coming out. The Dreaming has three new originals—including the title track—and nine particularly well-chosen cover versions from the 1960s and 1980s. Their take on The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints” is the first single.

Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has posted a demo of a new song titled “No Time For Love Like Now” on the official R.E.M. website as well on Rolling Stone online. Recorded with Aaron Dessner from The National, this hypnotic effort follows quickly on the heels of Stipe’s previous single, “Drive To The Ocean.”

Chicago area Beatles fans know Ellis Clark and Ary Paloma Jeebie for the annual George Harrison Birthday concert they host at Martyrs, and for their shows on the Apple Jam Stage at Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago. Clark has been a member of Epicycle and The Handcuffs, and recently reunited with his 1980s outfit The Social Act. Paloma Jeebie is the lead vocalist for the garage/rockabilly band The Amazing Heeby Jeebies. Together, they perform as a country and western duo known as Big Hair Trouble. Their new single “Nashville Morning” is a melodic tale of hitting the road in search of stardom. The lyrics toy with the genre’s conventions but also offer genuine twang and sentiments. Paloma Jeebie sings lead, with Clark joining in on the chorus, and there’s a toe-tapping mix of acoustic and pedal steel guitar.

For those of us who watched a webcast of Dropkick Murphys doing their annual St. Patrick’s Day concert from the comfort of our shelters, one of the highlights was a brand new song titled “Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding.” Allegedly based on an incident involving the Clash singer-guitarist swiping a fellow musician’s snack, this funny, revved-up anthem is now exclusively available as a download on the band’s Bandcamp page

The Dream Syndicate’s new single “The Longing” is now available on their Bandcamp page. The song finds the west coast band expertly tapping into its Paisley Underground roots, and serves as an enticing calling card for the upcoming album The Universe Inside; due out April 10.
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