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Local Music Notebook: Blue Ridge, Chicago

"The richly detailed ensemble acting in Dominic Cooke's revival does glowing justice to the masterly mix of hurt and humur in this 1984 play by August Wilson," Paul Taylor writes for the Independent.

"We're in a Chicago recording studio in 1927 where the real-life Ma Rainey, the 'Mother of the Blues,' and her band of musicians have gathered to lay down some tracks. The play homes in on the contradictory status of black artists in a white-controlled recording industry. Sharon D Clarke's wittily redoubtable Rainey, with her implacable diva demands, knows that's she a big shot on sufferance in a restricted arena. When she walks out of the studio, she can't even hail a cab on the streets of Chicago. Once she stops making money for the whites, she'll go back to being 'just a dog in the alley' to them."


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Ian Stewart: All About That Bass
"When I left the band, I went back to Chicago and found refuge, for whatever reason, in the Latin music scene."

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Blue Ridge, Chicago
"Well, we all come from our own individual backgrounds, but we definitely meet in the middle in some places. Colin grew up playing folk and bluegrass music and John is pretty much a jazz musician and jazz drummer, John has always been a folk singer and played a lot of folk music, Travis's grown up playing bluegrass music. I've always really liked the singer-songwriter stuff, some indie rock, Americana, all that stuff.

"Well, we first began in Peoria, Illinois. Just practicing in my garage a bunch- then we started putting on shows at a local dive-bar, and we could draw pretty well off the bat in Peoria. Eventually, we recorded our first EP near Champaign, Illinois and got some pretty good radio attention in our hometown from the songs we have on that EP. It was received pretty well by our hometown and we've continued playing there a lot, and eventually we were going to Chicago so much, we figured it was a good move to make it out to the city."

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On the road . . .

"Sparked by the incisive rapping of Vic Mensa and an album produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Kids These Days appeared to be going places when it played at Ink's Middle of the Map Fest in 2013. The Chicago band fell apart a month later. Four members of Kids These Days are starting from scratch as the astute indie-rock ensemble Marrow. In Kansas City on Thursday.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on February 3, 2016


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BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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