Pell Yeah!

Inspired by the possibilities of lucid dreaming


Jared Pellerin grew up in New Orleans but was displaced in high school when Hurricane Katrina hit. Forced to abandon all of his possessions and take with him only his resilience and the influence of New Orleans’ music culture, Pellerin relocated with his family to Jackson, Mississippi.  “Heard it’s the darkest before the dawn, the calmest before the storm” Pellerin intones on his 2014 debut album, Floating While Dreaming.  Continue reading 

Fire Waiting for Fuel

Activist singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco comes to McDonald Theatre with a mission

Ani Difranco

Ani DiFranco doesn’t mince words: Her current tour is called Vote Dammit! The objective is to ignite the political fires of an audience through music and community building.  “It’s about participation,” DiFranco tells EW. “If we sit out on election day, bad things will happen, but if everyone who could vote would vote we’d have a better country.”  Continue reading 

Music x MECCA

The songs of Brooklyn-based quintet Lucius

The songs of Brooklyn-based quintet Lucius range from alt-country ballads and ’60s psychedelic to percussive pop with beguiling melodies and dance rhythms. But it’s the powerful harmonizing vocals of lead singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig that really separate their sound from the mainstream. Listening to the band’s acclaimed debut album Wildewoman (2013), it’s easy to assume there’s just one singer, such is the impressive vocal union of Wolfe and Laessig.  Continue reading 

Nostalgia Blitz

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper

In their 15-year career, the five members of Blitzen Trapper have traversed wide musical landscapes, from the layered, progressive rock of small dive bars to the rustic alt country of Appalachia. Even within individual albums, Trapper is known for a range of sound that varies dramatically from song to song.  Continue reading 

Indie Honesty

Horse Feathers

Horse Feathers

After 10 years of indie Americana marked by the slow-burning sound of violin, cello, guitar and melancholic vocals, Justin Ringle, frontman for Horse Feathers, thought he was finished with sad songs, and therefore done with his career. He didn’t pick up his guitar for months.  But instead of finality, Ringle chose revision, replacing strings with drums on the band’s recent album, So It Is with Us, and, in that pivot, encouraging fans to want what they want for themselves: more joy and more fun. Continue reading 

Caught Between

Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk Chalk

Chicago-based Sidewalk Chalk is a hive of ingenuity and aspiration. From keys, drums, horns and bass to an emcee, powerful female vocals and a tap dancer, this eight-member crew thrums with talent. Despite the layers and complexities, the members of Chalk share a common passion — to transcend the norm, the expected, the known — resulting in a fluid sound that is equal parts jazz, soul, hip hop and funk.  Continue reading 

A Very Fresh Machine

An undeniably powerful engine of sound

Dave Rawlings Machine

If it wasn’t self-described, machinery would seem too rough or inorganic a metaphor for the harmony, improvisation and trust that comprises the Dave Rawlings Machine, but the synergy among members —especially between Rawlings and Gillian Welch — makes for an undeniably powerful engine of sound.  The music of the Machine pays ancestral respect to the folk tradition, with its emotive lyricism and symbiotic musicality. Often having not rehearsed and finding themselves either on stage or in studio, members of the Machine lean on trust and intuition, following another’s lead.  Continue reading 

Trust the Unknown Thing

Post-marriage equality ruminations on what’s next for LGBTQ rights

Caitlin Mackenzie

On the morning of Friday, June 26, my girlfriend coaxed me awake, smiling, eager for me to hear the decision from SCOTUS that state-level bans on same-sex marriage were declared unconstitutional. In our groggy relief, we held each other quietly, then got ready for the day. It was hot — three-digits hot — and we were on our way to a friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Our phones buzzed with texts and updates. My ex-husband called, excitedly asking me if I heard the news.  It was a day of unadulterated positivity and a rainbow-ed Facebook. Continue reading