Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guy King

I met Guy King just over a month ago, I saw him play with his Little Big Band up at Andys downtown. I was talking with him during his intermission and I told him about my Blues project. He seemed interested, we exchanged information and he went back on. This weekend Guy and I caught up at the studio for his portrait. We had a blast. When I first met Guy I noticed he had an accent. I couldn't pin point it though. A little New Orleans a little South Side, turns out hes from Israel. He was born and raised there and moved over to the states to play the Blues. He started down in Mississippi, moved to New Orleans, then ultimately up to Chicago. His accent, like his playing comes from all three places. Check out Guy all over town playing both Jazz and Blues.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Marques Carroll Chicago Blues Project

On Wednesday night I added Marques Carroll to the growing list of artists I'm featuring in my Chicago Blues Portrait project. Marques is an amazing trumpeter, composer, teacher and community organizer. After spending some time with him I realized not only did he truly love music, but he wants to help the community with it as well. Marques heads up an after school program in Chicago as well as teaching on the city's east side. It seems he was strongly influenced by his father and grandfather. His father an graphic designer and artist and his grandfather a trumpet player. He told me a great story about his grandfather starting a brass program for kids in St. Louis in the 50's. During that time racial tensions were high, gangs were a part of life and he lived in St. Louis, the gateway to the south. The after school program, like many today, helped get kids off the street, out of gangs and focused on something positive. When his grandfather passed away many of the kids from his program attended the funeral and credited him for saving their lives. I loved that story. It moved me and obviously Marquess too. You can check out Marques with Guy King the BMC (Booty Movement Coalition) and about 20 other bands around the city. Check out all the photos here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A.A. Bondy at Schubas

A.A. Bondys When the Devils Loose is probably one of the highest played albums on my ipod. Prior to last night I had only seen about half of an opening act he did for Elvis Perkins just under a year ago. I was so impressed I bought his album and have been a fan since. I had high expectations for the sold out show at Schubas. Bondy hooked me with about 20 minutes a year back, I couldn't wait to see what he did with a full set. The small Schubas room was full and silent. Bondys music demands a certain level of respect, and to enjoy it you really have to listen closely, and everyone in attendance seemed to get it. His voice isn't particularly loud, or good for that mater. But he sings with conviction and confidence.

Now that I described who he is as an artist, let me dive into the actual show. As Bondy himself said, "This is the weirdest show of the tour." Why did he say that you ask? Because everything was going wrong. At first Bondy thought it was his guitar shorting out during "Slow Parade" After violently shaking it to no avail he smashed it over the ground in true rockstar/folkstar form. Plugging in his second guitar he promptly realized it was not the issue... He then systematically went through each cord and pedal throughout the set trying to find the problem. He threw his harmonica, gave out his tuning pedal before he "fucking breaks it" and came extremely close to "Putting his boot through his amp". Did I mention the crowd loved every minute of it. In the moment of working equipment there were flashes of genius in songs such as "Rapture" and "Vampyre." All in all an amazing show full of ups, downs, and everything in between. Check out more photos here. Also a little preview of whats to come...Im shooting a portrait with Bondys label Fat Possem Records buddy Lissie this Sunday. Its gonna be awesome so check back soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hello Swississippi Records!

Last night was a triple official CD release party kicking off the new Chicago Blues label Swississippi Records. The Label, which was founded by harp player and Swiss native Chris Harper, showcased three great new albums at the beautiful Mayne Art Theater in Chicago's Roger' s Park neighborhood.

The night started with Peaches Staten, who was promoting her album Peaches Staten Live at Legends. That girl can sing, no way around it. Her voice and showmanship was out of this world and it didn't hurt that she busted out a washboard halfway through her amazing set. Make sure you check out the album if you can't check her out live yourself.

Next on the bill was Rob Blaine. I'm no stranger to Rob or his album Big Otis Blues, I shot it! and as always Rob brought the heat. Blaine played with his normal band more or less with Joewaun Scott on bass, Pete Galanis on guitar and Pooky Styx in the pocket. The band sounded tight and tore through a heavy set of Blues and Rock. The night closed with a bunch of Blues Legends doing what they do best. Jamming. Chris Harpers Four Aces and Harp closed down the night with a bunch of good old fashioned Chicago Blues classics mixed in with some of Harpers originals tunes. All in all the night was a success. A bunch of good friends getting together and celebrating something amazing. Something that most people don't ever get a chance to do in their lifetime. Put out an album, and for Harper three albums. All worthy of the Swississippi label and all a officially a part of Chicago Blues History. Check out some additional shots from the night on flickr.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy

I have been a little behind on the blog so tonight its time to catch up! Last week I got to check out Bonnie "Prince" Billy at one of my favorite venues in Chicago, Lincoln Hall. I had just recently gotten into him and wasn't totally familiar with his newest album, which is where he was pulled most of his set list from that night. The stuff that I do have and know is phenomenal. Bonnie "Prince" Billy is truly an amazing American song writer, and when he sings he does so with so much emotion and and intensity. Here are a few photos from the night, you can see the rest on flickr. I also threw in a video so you can hear how good this guy is.