On Sale Now! On Dec. 6, we’re excited to welcome another installment of Dave Specter’s Adventures in Guitar. Dave and his band will join legendary guitar guru Greg Koch on-stage for what promises to be a memorable evening of six string guitar slinging.
Coming Up: This Monday, Sept. 25, Nashville-via-Toronto country singer Lindi Ortega will share a bill with fellow Nashville songwriter Andrew Combs. Ortega is on tour in support of her EP ’Til the Goin’ Gets Gone, which Rolling Stone calls “a departure from much of Ortega’s previous work…putting her haunting vocals at center stage and leaning on simple, stark production.” Combs, who Rolling Stone calls a “staple on the young Nashville Americana Scene,” explores more experimental folk textures on his third album Canyons of My Mind.
On Friday, Sept. 29, SPACE and Silver Wrapper present Wisconsin eclectic folk band Horseshoes & Hand Grenades in a co-bill with Bozeman’s Kitchen Dwellers. Watch the band’s Audiotree session here. Illinois’ own Miles Over Mountains will kick off this Friday night of bluegrass. Don’t miss out!
This winter will bring Chicago blues luminary Mud Morganfield back to the club for his annual post-Christmas show on Saturday, December 26. The blues singer and songwriter won the Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Album for 2014’s For Pops: A Tribute To Muddy Waters, featuring Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. That album was the follow-up to 2012’s critically acclaimed Son Of The Seventh Son, both on Severn Records. SPACE recently spoke with Morganfield about the impact of his father’s legacy, the state of blues music today and more. “I didn’t choose this path, I didn’t need to,” Morganfield says. He was interviewed by Dan Szwiec.
How important is it for you to preserve your father’s legacy?
I’m trying to [preserve] my father’s legacy and the blues. People [are] getting away from the real blues. I’m trying to preserve his legacy, my legacy, and anyone who’s into traditional original blues.
How would you describe traditional blues?
Lightning Hopkins, my dad, the Blind Lemon boys, Sonny Landreth. You know, those kind of cats, man, that originated that blues stuff. And John Lee Hooker.
I’ve been doing blues since the day I came here, man. I might’ve been tapping on my mama’s stomach. I started beating on cans at a 4 or 5-year-old age with tree branches. I’ve always been musically inclined, and I’ve always had these music waves through my ears and my heart. You know, this is nothing new to me. I didn’t choose this path at the time, I didn’t need to. My dad was there so there was no need to.
At what point did you decide to release your own music?
When the opportunity presented itself. When I felt like people were getting away from the traditional blues; making it rock-y blues with these 40-minute guitar solos. And I still don’t understand that, people are still screaming for that kind of stuff. That is not blues. People got to know that; that isn’t traditional blues by anybody’s means of imagination. From John Lee Hooker to my dad. I don’t know what you call it, but it ain’t blues.
Do you think it’s important for the blues to evolve, or do you think it should stay true to its roots?
I tell you, man, people like myself and a few more people down here are trying to keep the traditional blues alive. It’s hard, man, because everyone wants to do a different kind of blues. Especially with the Johnnie Taylors and the Tyrone Davises and the Bobby Rushes. And even Bobby tries to do traditional, but those guys are old blues soul performers, you know what I mean? That old Delta, Mississippi/Louisiana kind of blues; I just want to be a part of it because my dad spent his entire life trying to do that. As his son I feel responsible and I feel I have to do that. I’m still gonna be Mud Morganfield too. If you check out Son Of The Seventh Son, there’s eight or nine original songs that I wrote that got away a little bit from traditional, but I still keep it Chicago blues there.
You’ve been quoted as saying the similarities between you and your father’s voice are a double-edged sword, could you elaborate on that?
It can be. You know what, man, we had one Muddy Waters, one B.B. King, one John Lee Hooker. But here’s the thing: If somebody can sound like any of the giants in the industry, you know they would, wouldn’t they? Absolutely. And here’s what’s so great about it with me; I’m not some broke man that’s running around saying, “Look at me, I sound like Muddy Waters.” I am the eldest son of Muddy Waters. So I have a born birthright to mark my father, as well as my sisters have to mark my mother.
Did your family have any holiday musical traditions?
My family, man, we’re big believers of Christmas. I was raised in a church, my grandmother, bless her heart, she believed in church and I stayed in church so much I got a headache. We truly believe in the spirit of Christmas, it’s one of my favorite holidays.
What are your touring plans for next year? What is touring Europe like?
The only [show] I have now is SPACE. [Europe is] really cool, they love us, they love the blues, and they love music in general. Talk about a red carpet affair, every time I go there they put the red carpet out for me. How cool is that?
Any blues artists you’re a fan of now?
I’m a fan of blues, period. Let me remind you, I come up in a whole different era. I came up in the Motown era, you know, the Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis era. That’s the stuff I listened to. Remember now, I’m only a kid of Muddy’s, so when pop was doing this great blues and recording all those great songs, it was a little past me, I was still a tot. So when I come up in my era in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, it was Hall & Oates’ “Maneater,” War’s “Cisco Kid.” All those great tunes, that’s what I came up listening to.
What were your plans for the Morganfield Foundation and preserving Muddy’s old house?
I collected money for my dad’s house, and it was a failed attempt. I gave everyone’s money back, and I just keep the foundation there in case something comes up. I keep it licensed as a non-profit organization. Somebody bought the house and they’re supposedly doing great things at some point in the future.
My plans were to turn it into a music school. Not a museum; you got museums and artifacts of my dad in the Delta [Blues] Museum and around the world. I was going to make it a school for children to teach them nothin’ but blues. No rock, no R&B, I wanted to teach children to play blues-based guitar or blues drumming and so forth.
New country singer Sam Outlaw will make his SPACE debut in The Studios on March 11. Outlaw (which is his mother’s real maiden name!) was born in South Dakota and now lives in Los Angeles. His forthcoming album Angeleno was produced by one of our favorite musicians, Ry Cooder. You’ll have to wait to hear the album, but if you want an early taste, check out Sam’s self-titled EP available on Bandcamp (below). We think you’ll be hearing a lot more from this young artist. He writes original songs that seek to capture the spirit of the traditional country music he learned from his favorite singers: George Jones, Merle Haggard, Don Williams, Gene Watson, Keith Whitley. But, Sam is clearly carving his own path as an artist. Don’t miss this chance to see a powerful emerging voice on the Americana scene. Get tickets here!
Only 15 tickets remain for The Milk Carton Kids at SPACE on New Year’s Eve. We’re happy to announce that all ticketholders for either of the SPACE New Year’s Eve shows can now take their tickets to any of the First Night Evanston venue and gain free admission.
For those not able to join us at SPACE, the good folks at First Night Evanston have made a special offer to our email list of a 10% discount on early bird admission to SPACE customers using the code “SPACE” when you purchase from Eventbrite.
Back by popular demand, First Night Evanston will showcase nearly 40 musical performances for its annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza, including musical guests, a poetry slam, barn dancing, and a wide array of children’s programming.
The lineup features acclaimed jazz violinist Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort, Corky Siegel and Chamber Blues, Chèvere (featuring the Grammy winning harmonica wizard Howard Levy), the acclaimed chamber music ensemble The Rembrandt Chamber Players, poetry from the Poets of Rhino and Slam Poetry master Marc Smith and many more
While the entire New Year’s Eve program is a family affair, First Night Evanston will provide several children’s workshops and activities in the afternoon such as crafts, storytelling, music and even a flea circus.
This year’s celebration features evening events for teens, including a battle of the teen bands (with $500 in prizes) and appearances by the Underage Sugar Addicts, a teen improve group.
The event takes place on December 31, 2014 from 2 p.m. to midnight. Evanston’s Raymond Park, located on Chicago Avenue between Grove and Lake streets, will serve as the celebration’s main home. Performances will be located in multiple indoor venues, all within a two-block radius of the park.
Here’s one song we can’t get out of our heads lately.
“Do the Right Thing” by Ages & Ages has one of the most satisfying builds of all time, beginning with simple acoustic guitar, percussion, and solo vocals and culminating in a glorious layer cake of tambourines, strings, and harmonies.
If you’ve been hanging out at SPACE lately, you’ve probably heard us piping “Do The Right Thing” through the speakers before and after shows, bobbing our heads to the beat as we do our work. With the simple and super catchy chorus, we dare you not to sing along by the end of your first listen.
Ages & Ages takes the stage at SPACE on April 8th, and we can’t wait to see them do this one live!
SPACE (finally) Rings in the New Year with Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys
Last Dec 28th, we got a call that any promoter would dread. Our New Years Eve show with Alejandro Escovedo was cancelled as Alejandro ended up in the hospital, unable to travel to Chicago. With 3 days until New Years, and a few hundred people planning their festivities around our show, we got on the phone and started calling every musician, agent, and manager would could think of. Our dear friends The Flat Five and Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra stepped up to the plate and saved the day. Our amazing staff was able to reach all of the ticket buyers and let them know about the changes, and despite a few days of panic, we were able to pull off an excellent party.
Fast forward a year, and needless to say we couldn’t be more excited to finally welcome Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys to SPACE this Dec 31st! Those rockstars who saved our butt last year will be there to help us celebrate as well, with The Flat Five playing an early show at 6pm and Nicholas Tremulis kicking things off at 10pm opening for the late show. We promise great music and lots of bubbly and good cheer.
If you’re looking to enjoy a delicious meal before or after one of the shows, send over a reservation request to Union Pizzeria, our sister restaurant.
SPACE and 93XRT are delighted to welcome back Booker T. Jones and his band to our stage. Jones, who graced our stage last year and showed us just what our in-house B3 organ is meant for, will be playing two back-to-back shows at 7pm and 9:30pm on Friday, December 6th.
Booker T. Jones is a music legend who demonstrates the touch of a master on the Hammond B3 during his live performances. With a career that spans five decades and appearances on over 400 albums, Jones’ wide variety of arrangements yields one of the most eclectic shows that graces the stage today. As a writer and arranger, Jones constantly experiments with rhythm, melody and genre, which can range from the funky staccato soul he helped pioneer in the 1960s to straight-up rock ‘n’ roll and the occasional ballad.
No conversation of classic rhythm and blues could possibly forgo his name. Although Jones was still just a teenager during his early years in the Memphis music scene, he was already a multi-talented musician who had played organ in church as well as saxophone, oboe, and piano at school. Before graduating high school, Jones was recruited by Stax Records in Memphis as an in-house musician and composer. Soon thereafter, Jones became a household name with the release of “Green Onions,” a soulful instrumental that he recorded with his band, The MGs, that was released by Stax in 1962.
Since “Green Onions,” which peaked at number three on the Billboard Charts in September of 1962, Jones has continued to write and produce — for himself and for other artists — countless hits. From the 1960s through recent years, Booker T. has proven to be a well of creative output, collaborating with artists as renowned and diverse as Otis Redding, Willie Nelson, and Rancid. That creativity has not ceased to be adored by fans and praised by critics. Jones was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy’s in 2007, and in 2012, Jones won his fourth Grammy for his album The Road From Memphis. Most recently, Jones reunited with Stax, who released his latest album, Sound The Alarm, in June of 2013.
Booker T. Jones, whose classic brand of R&B is guaranteed to make audiences move, is an incendiary artist who cannot be missed live. In his last performance at SPACE, Jones floored the audience with his widely varied set list that merged classics with new tunes, including a cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”.
Tickets are still available for Booker T’s two upcoming shows at SPACE on 12/6/13 at 7pm and 9:30pm.
Boy, do we have a treat for anyone who is lucky enough to stop by SPACE on the 22nd of November. After a triumphant debut performance at SPACE’s 5th Anniversary Party back in April, St. Paul and the Broken Bones will be making their second appearance at our venue, and we could not be more excited!
They’ll be accompanied by the Strumbellas, the Juno Award nominated Canadian folk rockers. It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to attend a show that is filled with the energy of two highly entertaining groups who really know how to get a crowd going. The Strumbellas’ set will highlight their recently released album We Still Move on Dance Floors, produced by Ryan Hadlock of the Lumineers,which can be streamed here.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones hail from Alabama and carry a sound with them that is heavily influenced by the music that emanates from behind Southern church doors.
SPACE’s friend and neighbor Jeremy Vanatta, who liked the band so much when he saw them back in April that he hosted them at his Fourth of July block party, elegantly describes their style as, “Part church revival, part soul, part dance party, and part rock and roll. St. Paul’s music refuses to let you sit down. Each time I have seen them, not only are the extroverts out cutting a rug, but the wallflowers in the group, normally hugging the walls holding a long-neck, are also compelled to get out and dance. It just feels wrong not to. You will go home from the show hungry for more and checking websites to see when they are back in town, or wondering if you could justify the drive tomorrow night to the next city.”
With a stylistic resemblance to their good friends and contemporaries the Alabama Shakes, St. Paul and The Broken Bones are a can’t-miss show here at SPACE. Tickets are just $12 a pop, and are available here. The show will be set up as standing room only and we’ll open up the floor for patrons to dance the night away. If you are still not convinced, check out their first performance at SPACE in April.