music

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A ‘Midsummer’ treat from Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre created Shakespeare in the Park to bring admission-free, family-friendly productions of the Bard’s plays to parks throughout the city.

4th of July weekend offers an array of concerts worth celebrating

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When the allure of listening to firework bombasts wears off this July 4th weekend, there’s a hefty lineup of concerts waiting for you. From an instrumental salute in Grant Park to a bonafide country queen and a trio of legendary rockers, here are 10 ways …

IN THE MUSIC SPOTLIGHT: Phish

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If Phish sells out one night of a multi-night stand, you can expect the entire run to follow suit. That’s because the band is the focus of a community that observes Phish dates like joyful family reunions. It’s easy to get caught in the crowd’s …

in the spotlight Janelle Monae

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The Taste of Chicago includes a healthy side of pop music to accompany its main course of local cuisine. Running from July 9-13, the festival features headlining acts at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park. Recent line-ups have included veteran talent like Robert Plant of …

Sarah McLachlan celebrates new beginnings with ‘Shine On’

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‘I started to write breakup songs again, but this time it felt boring to me.” Sarah McLachlan is throwing us all for a loop on her latest album.

Since the beginning, the Canadian singer-songwriter behind such tearjerkers as “Angel” and “I Will Remember You” has …

Phillip Phillips hoping ‘Light’ shines brightly

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Two years removed from his “American Idol” win and gargantuan hit “Home,” Phillip Phillips is settling into the path that will define his career over the long haul.

Leah Turner proving she’s got what it takes

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A California blonde who once lived on a dirt road off a desert highway, rising country music artist Leah Turner seems determined to convince fans, critics and the city of Nashville of her country origins. “It was the land of rednecks inFlip Flops,” says Turner, …

in the spotlight Presidents of the  United States of America

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Presidents of the United States of America were least representative of the bands to emerge from Seattle during the ’90s. They were also the only one of the bunch to be described as daffy fun. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana may have created lasting music, …

IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

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Karl Wallinger has been making up for lost time. After a lengthy absence, he has brought the music of World Party to Chicago like clockwork for three summers.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — ROBBIE FULKS

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As a devoted practitioner of country music in a blues town, household name status has proven elusive for Chicago’s Robbie Fulks. Nonetheless, the attention generated by last year’s exceptional “Gone Away Backward” album has continued to grow. “I think this last year has seen more …

Meklit creates music with a message

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It wasn’t until she was 24 that Meklit Hadero realized that music was her destiny. Now 33, the Ethiopian-born singer/songwriter has perfected a folky/jazzy style that is being compared to a mix of Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones and Nina Simone. Meklit, who goes by just …

A little more cello

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Ten years ago Ivan Trevino and Patrick Laird came up with an intriguing idea: Create a band that mixes classical music with rock. Break of Reality was formed while they were students at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Wanting to take a …

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

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With recent bands like Fitz and the Tantrums packing halls, and sweat-soaked old-school talent like Charles Bradley on the rise, the soul music revival that began in the late ’90s continues to percolate. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have been at the vanguard, outlasting dabblers and trend-jumpers by producing impassioned material and electrifying shows since launching from Brooklyn in 2000.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Gary Numan

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With an innovative streak extending 37 years, Gary Numan connects to his fans at different points along his timeline. Many initially heard him as a synth-pop pioneer who first charted during the New Wave era with “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” Recent converts are drawn to Numan’s …

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The art history of Johnette Napolitano is a ‘Rough Mix’

If Johnette Napolitano sounds like she could be one of the Italian Masters, it’s because she is. Although she is perhaps best known as the front woman for the early ’90s alt rock band Concrete Blonde, this modern-day Renaissance woman is also a sculptor, writer, film scorer, seamstress and activist/

Julio Davis stays the course of Trio’s jazz/hip-hop soul

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‘I love hip-hop to my bones,” said rapper-vibraphonist Julio Davis, leader of Chicago’s masterly jazz-rap band J. Davis Trio, while steering his SUV post-rehearsal through a spitting March rain as it morphed into the five-hundredth snowstorm of this apparently immortal winter. “I have a blueprint, …