The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival is really stepping up its game this year, announcing a 2015 lineup that features 22 bands playing six local venues over a six-week period this winter including String Cheese Incident (pictured), Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Steve Earle, Lucero, Greensky Bluegrass, Eddy “the Chief” Clearwater, Leo Kottke, Cornmeal, Jeff Austin, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Otis Clay. The festival takes place January 9-February 21 at venues around town including Concord Music Hall, House of Blues, City Winery, Thalia Hall, The Aragon, and SPACE. Tickets are currently on sale on an individual event basis through the festival website.
BY JUSTIN TRUDELL
They’ve been recognized as the “Best Indie Hipster Band” two years running by the Austin Chronicle. And in Austin, that’s saying something. The unbelievable vocals of Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins are what first need to be recognized when it comes to Wild Child. They are as quirky as a hipster band from Austin is expected to be and, in this case, quirky is a great thing. The six-piece poppers expand on the typical indie sound with the likes of violins and ukuleles while continuing to keep a sensational upbeat dance grove throughout. You can call them indie. You can call them hipsters. But you can’t call them dull.
BY ERIN MALYSA
The flaming red curly hair is a sibling dead giveaway for the hard-charging brother and sister duo of Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White, who have been playing non-stop around Chicago (and internationally) since 2010. So fitting in a new album amongst all the gigs is something of an achievement. Dubble Dragon is their fourth album and the leadoff track of the same name features sparse lyrics that unabashedly proclaim the kinetic link between these musicians. Between Alex’s lo-fi web of guitar distortion and metal solos, she creates a neutral space for Francis’s persistent pounding percussion to bleed the beat into your veins. This track even features a spoken word interlude by Francis that sums them up perfectly: “We are the double dragon, two creatures, one being.”
BY MICHAEL MILAZZO
At the heart of The Waco Brothers lies an unmistakable country sound, but the punk roots of vocalist Jon Langford also manage to make themselves known. Loudly. This is not surprising, considering that Langford may be best known for fronting British punk band The Mekons. The result is an interestingly high-octane blend of country and rock, with Langford retaining a gritty “no holds barred” punk attitude in his vocals. Make no mistake: this is country like you’ve never heard it before. So much so that Langford may even be credited with creating his own genre called cowpunk. Either way, expect to be thoroughly entertained throughout.