PRINCE PERFORMS INTIMATE AFTER HOURS SHOW AT CITY WINERY CHICAGO

prince at city winery chicago

Prince wowed at an afterhours concert for a capacity, standing-room-only crowd at City Winery Chicago early Sunday morning June 30, 2013.   In town to perform at the wedding reception of film director-producer George Lucas and Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, the superstar took the stage just after 2am, joined by his trio 3rdEyeGirl, the 22-piece New Power Generation band and the model Damaris.  The nearly two hour set included such classic hits as “1999” and “Little Red Corvette.” City Winery Chicago, a fully operational winery, restaurant with outdoor patio, concert hall and private event space, is located in the heart of the city’s West Loop neighborhood and is the sister property of the original City Winery in New York.

April Brings the Heat to City Winery Chicago

The days are slowly getting warmer (we hope), but things inside our venue are staying at a heated pace. We’ve got music coming from classic knights, rock ‘n roll kings, and celebrated queens, that you shouldn’t miss.

This Monday, April 15th, we have two big names in Chicago music coming together to play the music of the biggest name in rock. Phil Angotti (The Idea) and Steve Dawson (Dolly Varden) are coming together to play the music of Sir Paul McCartney. As part of our Think Pink month at CWC, Angotti and Dawson will be playing McCartney’s post-Beatle hits including the 1971 release, Ram. With a full backing band made up of Chicago music friends, the duo will be pumping out your favorites from Sir Paul, while we pair the tracks with some great wines in our cozy venue. Great wines and great music are the order of the (k)night, and how could you go wrong? Live a little! Be a gypsy, and get around. Get your feet up off the ground and get your tickets!

The Verve Pipe

The Verve Pipe plays City Winery Chicago Thursday, April 18.

Thursday, April 18th, we’ve got a chart-topping, award winning rock band that you’re sure to remember: The Verve Pipe. Since their 1996 platinum album, Villians, which spawned the #1 single, “The Freshmen,” The Verve Pipe have been releasing hit albums and selling out stadiums across the U.S. and Europe. Three albums, a couple EPs, and endless touring, have set up The Verve Pipe for the works of a new record for their legion of fans. They also recently released an acclaimed album for kids called The Family Album. They’re bringing their deep back catalogue to our Randolph Street venue for a solid night of music.

The next night, April 19th, we will have the vocal force of Holly Near. Near has been a celebrated musician and activist since she made her name during multiple protests of the Vietnam War along side Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. She’s worked with Arlo Guthrie, Jackson Browne, and Joan Baez among others on an impressive discography spanning nearly 30 albums. Her music has been honored by multiple outlets, while Near’s activism has been recognized by the ACLU, National Organization for Women, and the National Lawyers Guild. Get your tickets now to hear one of the best voices in music and activism perform on our stage. I for one am quite excited to hear the music and relive the stories of Holly Near Band.

For more information on tickets and other great shows, check out website at citywinery.com/chicago, call us at 312-RED-WINE (312-733-9463), or email us at chicagoconcierge@citywinery.com! We hope to see you at the show!

April Rocks in the West Loop!

April is a new glorious spring month, and with it comes a new set of great shows at the City Winery Chicago! We are kicking off spring with some big shows from some musical heavy weights. Won’t you join us?

First up we have the fantastic double bill of David Bromberg and Allen Toussaint on April 6th and 7th. Two greats in the musical world, Bromberg and Toussaint have played with and written songs for an incredible number of musicians. From George Harrison and Paul McCartney to Levon Helm and Bob Dylan, to more modern artists like Widespread Panic, Bromberg and Toussaint have been all over the map. Bromberg has focused mainly on folk, bluegrass, rock, and country, while playing pretty much any stringed instrument you put in his hands. His progressive recording of “Mr. Bojangles”, which featured spoken word stories of his travels with Jerry Jeff Walker, made a big radio splash upon its release in 1972. Toussaint’s brand of New Orleans R&B has been respected for years by musicians, and he has written some of the great songs of his generation, including “Working in a Coal Mine”, “Fortune Teller”, and “Southern Nights”. Toussaint is still a fixture in the New Orleans music scene, and he has done a lot in the rebuilding process since Hurricane Katrina.

After that fantastic double bill, we have another major double bill with two major Icons, with a big capital “I”, in the bluegrass and mandolin world: David Grisman and Andy Statman playing on April 9th and 10th. Grisman is the founder of what became known as “Dawg” music (an affectionate nickname given to Grisman by Jerry Garcia) which is a combination of jazz, folk, and bluegrass. His solo mandolin work, as well as his work with the David Grisman Quintet, has been celebrated fans and musicians for years. Andy Statman is also an influential mandolin player, who is actually a protegé of David Grisman. Grisman taught Statman mandolin at an early age, and while Grisman went more toward jazz, Statman focused on bluegrass and klezmer music. With the teacher and the student playing together in our intimate venue at City Winery Chicago, you’re sure to see instrument mastery like you won’t see anywhere else. Make sure to get your tickets now if you are a bluegrass fan, mandolin fan, or just a fan of virtuosity. It’s sure to be a great night.

Rounding out our great first couple weeks, will be Ron Sexsmith, a singer/songwriter who has been recording and releasing music since his late teens. Sexsmith’s brand of poppy folk rock has been championed by Elvis Costello, Coldplay, Sir Elton John, and Rick Davies of the Kinks, and he’s been nominated for numerous award in his native Canada. He even had a documentary made about him and his life called, Love Shines, which followed him as he recorded his 2011 album, Long Player Late Bloomer. The film itself was nominated for awards as well. Sexsmith has a smooth laid back deliver, and his songs are infectiously catchy and amazingly written. He’ll be playing tunes from his newest album, Forever Endeavour, which I was able to review recently here.

For more information on tickets and other great shows, check out website at citywinery.com/chicago, call us at 312-RED-WINE (312-733-9463), or email us at chicagoconcierge@citywinery.com! We hope to see you at the show!

Nick – City Winery Chicago

Coming Soon to the West Loop! – David Wilcox, Catie Curtis, Martha Wainwright, Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra

Welcome to our weekly music column straight from the West Loop and into your homes. We will be writing a new post each week to give everyone information on upcoming shows, special events, and even sneak peeks of shows not yet announced at the City Winery Chicago!

For our first post, we are highlighting some great acts coming up this week at our beautiful concert venue on Randolph St. This Friday, March 22nd, we will have the one-two folk punch of David Wilcox and Catie Curtis. David Wilcox is an incredibly creative singer/songwriter who has been playing and recording music for over 20 years. He has been lauded by artists (such as k.d. lang) and critics (such as Rolling Stone and the New York Times) for his poetic lyrics and expressive guitar work. In 2008, he and Bob Dylan both received the same songwriter award from Acoustic Guitar magazine. Pretty great company I’d say. Combine that with who the New Yorker calls a “folk-rock goddess” in Catie Curtis, and you’ve got a great night of music! Curtis has had music featured on Grey’s Anatomy, toured and recorded with country star Mary Chapin Carpenter, and has played for President Obama…TWICE! You know that President Obama has good taste in music, so anyone he would invite back has got to have something special.

Speaking of something special, we have Martha Wainwright coming Sunday March 24th. There’s no better musical family pedigree than the Wainwrights. From a Grammy Award winning father, Loudon Wainwright III, to Juno Award winning mother Kate McGarrigle, Martha and her brother Rufus have some great genes with which to work. Martha Wainwright has been recording albums since the late 90s, receiving praise from SPIN magazine, The Guardian, and the BBC. She also has star studded guest lists on her albums including Pete Townsend (The Who), Rufus Wainwright, her mother Kate, Garth Hudson (The Band), and Nels Cline (Wilco), to name a few. Wainwright’s voice will fill our intimate venue, and Sunday’s show is sure to be a fantastic experience with one of the premiere performers from one of the greatest musical families.

Rounding out our week of great music will be our dear friends, and City Winery Chicago vets, The Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra (NTO). They will be back for a second preview of their newest rockin’ album For The Baby Doll on Tuesday, March 26th. NTO have been making rock and blues music for nearly 25 years, while also playing with the likes of Billy Corgan, Keith Richards, Ronnie Spector, and Ian Hunter. Each night they come to City Winery, they blow the roof off the place. The last show they played here back in February was a packed house of dancin’ and sweatin’, and you can’t miss it this time because they’ll be joined by Springsteen favorite Willie Nile. That’s right. The Boss has hand picked Willie Nile to play with the E-Street Band, and we’ll have him on our stage. Enticed?

All information for tickets and show times can be found at www.citywinery.com/chicago, by calling our box office at 312.RED.WINE (312.733.9463), or emailing chicagoconcierge@citywinery.com.

2012 City Winery Benefit Concerts

 

 

City Winery is all about giving back.  In 2012, the charity events held at City Winery raised over $100,000, benefiting a wide range of causes. Please note all numbers are approximate total.

 

 

May 8th – Music for Occupy – Occupy This Album Record Release Party and Concert – $1,600

The album release party for ‘Occupy This Album’ brought in funds to benefit Music for Occupy that in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, supports the needs of the growing movement.

 

May 9th – Woman to Woman – Hadag Nahash -  $19,000

Israeli Western hip-hop/electronica band Hadag Nahash put on a performance to benefit Woman to Woman, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the victims of domestic violence in Israel.

 

July 11th – 13th – WoodyFest -  $13,700

A celebration of Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday raised money for The Woody Guthrie Foundation.

 

September 22nd – Musicians for Mali – Concert to Aid Refugees – $10,500

Toubab Krewe organized a stellar line up of Malian and American artists to celebrate Malian Independence Day, heighten awareness about 
the ongoing crisis in Mali, and raise money for refugees.

 

November 14th – Hurricane Sandy Benefit – Joe Purdy – $170

Joe Purdy raised money for Hurricane Sandy victims through sales from his Artist Wine.

 

November 16th – Cabinet of Wonders – $11,300

John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders with Steve Earle, Loudon Wainwright III, Alec Ounsworth, Quincy Troupe, Gary Shteyngart, Mike Scott and Steve Wickham of the Waterboys came together to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy Relief.

 

December 4th – Free the Slaves – Esperanza Spalding – $35,000

“A Night for Freedom” featuring Esperanza Spalding and special guests raised money for Free the Slaves, an international human rights non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating slavery and human trafficking worldwide.

 

December 8th – Hurricane Sandy Benefit – Kevin Griffin – $300

Sales from the Kevin Griffin Cabernet Sauvignon were donated to Hurricane Sandy Relief.

December 18th – Hurricane Sandy Benefit – Love Letter to NY -  $14,500

Matisyahu, Joan Osborne, Ari Hest, Nicole Atkins, Alberta Cross, Bobby Long, Kevin Devine, Sasha Dobson, Jesse Malin, and Chris Ayer came together for a very special Hurricane Sandy Benefit concert.

 

2012 Year in Review – Top 12 Greatest Moments From Our Staff (in chronological order)

 

#1 -Little Feat

January 2nd – 4th

What a great way start to 2012! For three nights, this American rock group brought their authentic, bluesy-horn blowing, down-home sound to the City Winery stage. City Winery has had their sights set on Little Feat for a long time, and hope that this will become a yearly event before they cross the ocean for their annual run in Jamaica.

 

 

 

 

Click here to see Joshua’s performance at City Winery.

#2 – Joshua Bell

January 6th

Joshua is one the most famed violinists in the world. Being a friend and a fan of our venue, he chose City Winery for a very special underplayed album release performance. The room was jam packed with an audience that was enjoying food and drink while remaining completely captivated by Joshua’s compositions.

 

 

 

 

#3 – The Cabinet of Wonders

February 4th, March 10th, April 28th, May 19th, September 8th, October 19th, November 16th and December 16th

City Winery is proud to have hosted and provided a home for wildly popular and NPR hit variety show by John Wesley Harding. The show has developed over the past three years into a true representation of what City Winery is all about; a coming together of leading cultural influencers in music, comedy, and literature. This year included the likes of Sam Amidon, Iris Dement, Nick Hornby, Stephin Merritt, Eugene Mirman, Aaron Neville, Steve Earle, Loudon Wainwright III, Alec Ounsworth, John Roderick, Ron Sexsmith, Stephen Kellogg and many more!

 

 

 

 

 

#4 – Wyclef Jean

February 24th, March 31st, October 18th, December 16th (Chicago)

2012 was “The Year of Wyclef” performing four incredible shows between New York and Chicago. This amazing talent showed everyone who was lucky enough to get in to the four-day residency that he is much more than a refugee; he is an amazing and talented musician who knows how to put on a remarkable performance. By the end of the show Wyclef had everyone out of their seats waving  City Winery napkins in the air. We look forward to seeing more from Wyclef in 2013 when he hosts the newly created Refugee Lounge Series at the winery.

 

 

 

 #5 – Robert Johnson 100th Birthday Celebration Rehearsal Show

March 5th

A live dress rehearsal at City Winery the night prior to the sold out show at The Apollo Theater. The show featured many soul, jazz and blues legends such as Steve Jordan’s All Star Band, Living Colour, Shemekia Copeland, Bettye LaVatte, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Sam Moore, Todd Rundgren and more.

Click here to see a clip from the show at City Winery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see Todd’s performance at City Winery

#6 – Todd Rundgren

March 7th

One of our most beloved artists came through City Winery with five shows this past year, each one a little different from the other. These shows were advertised as ‘An Unpredictable Evening With Todd Rundgren’ not without reason. In addition, Todd also took part in our outside production at the Apollo Theater to celebrate Robert Johnson’s 100th birthday anniversary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7 – Mother’s Day Show with Patti Smith & daughter Jesse Paris Smith plus Lucy Wainwright Roche  and daughter Suzzy Roche. 

May 13th

Click here to see a clip from the show at City Winery.

This very unlikely bill was put together specifically for City Winery and featured two mother and daughter combos and brought together the beautiful, melodic, harmonies of the Roches contrasting the strong minded delivery of the Smiths. Only in New York and only at City Winery can such a collaboration blossom from idea to reality.

 

 

 

 

 

#8- Ronnie Spector’s Beyond the Beehive

July 6th, 14th, 20th, 27th, August 18th, September 15th

This was a monumental run of 6 shows that was developed specially for City Winery and featured Ronnie Spector at her best. Ronnie took the audience on an emotional journey through her amazing life story through song, photos and video. Audience members included fellow celebrities in the music and theater community and friends that Ronnie has collected over the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see the performance of “This Land is Your Land” by Diana Jones, David Robbins, Steve Earle, Tim Robbins, Miles Guthrie Robbins, Steve Butts (original member of The Highwaymen), and John Hammond.

#9 – Woodyfest: Celebration of Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday

July 11th-13th

An incredible line up of musicians from all genres came out to celebrate the100th Birthday year of the man who defined Americana music in this country. The performers selected for the tribute were a perfect fit for the City Winery audience and we were lucky enough to get a little help from our friend Steve Earle who was both the co-curator and host for all three nights. Some of the highlights included Billy Bragg, Allen Toussaint, Tim Robbins and John Hammond among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 
#10 – Sam Moore

July 17th

Who knows the fate of feel good soul music? A true, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came when   Sam Moore of Sam and Dave played two shows in one day at City Winery this past summer. First he rocked out our backyard at the Hudson Square Wine & Music Festival and then a full show in the winery that evening. Keeping the Soul Man music alive!

See Sam More on “Goody Day NY” with Bethenny Frankel and Dave Price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#11 – Taj Mahal

August 25-26th

The legendary blues man hit the stage for two special nights as well as joined our Rolling Stones tribute at Carnige Hall. Taj has been on our radar from day one and to see him finally play our stage was definitely  a highlight, especially when his daughter Deva joined him on the last night.

 

 

 

 

 

#12 Gad Elmaleh

November 25th-29th

Truly not knowing what to expect after booking a 4 night of comedy show performed all in French – we ended up adding two additional nights, made way for Jerry Seinfeld and started talks about an encore performance this summer!  The show was a real home run with the French community in New York! We hope that by hosting one of the most successful comedians in the world more will join the ranks.

 

 

Be sure to comment below and let us know some of your favorites, or acts you would like to see at City Winery in 2013.

 

Happy New Year!!

A Night for Freedom with Esperanza Spalding, Bobby McFerrin, Gretchen Parlato and Special Guests Paul Simon and Prince!

Music is the greatest expression of freedom and that theme carried through in every capacity of the evening. Free the Slaves organizer Sarah Gardner started the show with a brief introduction about how the organization changes the lives of people still living in slavery in this modern-day in age.

The charm and wit of the lovely Esperanza Spalding carried the remainder of the night. She explained to the guests that she was brought up on the notion that using art and talent is the best way influence humanity for the greater good. Her voice rang with a soft chaos and moved across her bass with the grace of a ballroom dancer. Comrade and internationally recognized jazz singer Gretchen Parlato was introduced to the stage and brought another level of dimension and emotion to the performance.

The first surprise for the evening came with the introduction of the legendary Paul Simon. Esperanza did her best to respect Paul’s wishes and not to overdo the introduction, but that was quite impossible. Her introduction was a little early as Paul wasn’t quite ready to appear on stage. She joked about how now would be an appropriate time to Tweet and text your friends about not coming to the show and missing a chance to see Paul Simon! When Paul walked on stage he got right down to business and plucked out the first few chords of Sound of Silence. A truly religious experience for anyone in the room that night and a perfect instrumental duet between her bass and his guitar.

Bobby McFerrin was next up on stage and joined Paul and Esperanza for an impromptu performance of Scarborough Fair, Freedom Jazz Dance and Peace. Bobby continued to perform with Esperanza and the rest of the Chamber Music Society band. Bobby’s demeanor and presence on stage was perfectly in tandem with Esperanza and it was apparent that his seniority didn’t get in the way of working with the new girl on the block.

The second surprise of the evening was a very coy anecdote from Esperanza about her attempts to get auction items for the evening. She referenced a “very special” person who she nervously approached and graciously asked for practically anything, even a dirty sock! The morning of the show in the midst of sound checks and meetings a small box was delivered to her. The contents included a yellow, dirty sock. It was later confirmed that the one and only Prince would be sending a guitar to auction. And because he’s Prince, he took a private Jet to New York City and sat in our VIP section and enjoyed a portion of the performance. Esperanza very graciously nodded to him and she introduced the guitar.

The night was incredibly successful for the Free the Slaves organization raising somewhere in the neighborhood of $45,000 for the cause. A true night for freedom and memorable musical performance by some incredibly generous names in music.

 

Special thank you to photographer Adriana Mateo to which these photos are credited.

Eric Hutchinson: Uncorked and Uncovered

 

Artist: Eric Hutchinson

Playing at City Winery: October 29th, 2012

 

Emerson College is known for the focused environment it provides and driven mentality it encourages. Has this affected your approach to your musical career?

Yeah! I met some amazing people and was totally inspired by the Emerson world. I did my first official show on campus.

With so many colleges in Boston, house shows are very popular there. Did you ever go to house shows or play any?

I’ve played a few house concerts over the years. Good times, but I like a proper stage better.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

The Beatles were like religion in my house growing up. My dad used to play them every night during dinner and my mom would quiz me on which Beatle was singing each song.

Your voice has a real old-school jazz, blues tone to it. Did you grow up listening to that type music, too?

I love all kinds of music including jazz, but I tend to think my influence comes more from the soul records I love. Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, The Isley Brothers. All that classic soul.

Who are some musicians/bands out there today that you are currently listening to?

I love Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, Frank Ocean, Fun & Gregory Porter.

You’ve lived all over the country, but you now call NYC home. How do you like it here? How do you think it has affected you as a musician?

I’ve been here for 6 years now and love it. I wrote my new album ”Moving Up Living Down” here and was really inspired by the city’s energy. Love doing hometown shows!

Have found any favorite spots in NYC that you now frequent?

TONS. But can’t divulge them. So I can still get a table.

This upcoming show is at the only fully functioning winery in all of Manhattan. It’s pretty cool, right? Are you excited to play in this type of venue? And to try the wine?

I love wine and I’m looking forward to seeing my face on a bottle of Cab Sauv. Hope I’m sober enough to perform!

 

Cary Pierce of Jackopierce: Uncorked and Uncovered

 

Artist: Jackopierce

Played at City Winery: October 14th, 2012

Q&A With City Winery

So you both went to school for theatre. In fact, that’s how you met. Do you both still act?

We both try to act cool on occasion but it rarely works out.

Jack did a stint with the Bat Theater Company, voiceover work, etc but was scared back into music eventually.

I quit theater my sophomore year at SMU and never looked back. Twas not my calling. My B.I.L (brother in law), James Moye, is a bad ass, though. He lives in NY and has been in many a Broadway production such as Urine Town, Million Dollar Quartet, etc. But the coolest thing lately is that he is the Crunchy Nut Cereal guy. My kids think he’s a real super hero. I can’t compete with that.

What is your songwriting process like? 

I gave my oldest boy a baby Taylor guitar at 10 years old. It’s half size and really easy to just pick up and play. I have a dozen amazing guitars at my studio, but I play that one about 95% of the time. Most all the kernels for new songs start there. I also go to Nashville a lot to write and always come back with 3-5 new ones cookin’. I keep TONS of ideas in my phone, on my computer, etc. If a guitar is in my hands, I’m usually writing something. Usually music first and then lyrics.

Have you ever been in any bigger bands?

Nope. JP may be the biggest band I ever get to be in. We toured for years with a full band. It was fun playing rock star – being on a major label  - and having a bus and crew, etc. Our roots were as an acoustic duo and that’s how we play most of the time now. I live in Dallas and Jack lives in NY so we fly in to city, meet up and go play the show. When we do a full band show – we’re hiring real pros that are great, love what they do and there’s NO drama. Jack and I got enough drama goin’ on… no need for more fuel on that fire.

You’ve worked with a lot of other musicians, writing and producing. What made you want to get into that?

It just seemed to be a natural extension. I like helping people get to the “next level.” I learned a lot about making records by being produced by heavyweights like T Bone Burnett, Stan Lynch, Rob Jacobs, Don Smith, etc. I’ve learned a lot about co-writing over the years, too. I’m pretty much a co-writing producer, helping write the songs and then producing them.

How is working with other musicians different/the same as working with Jack? Do you find that being part of a duo was helpful to the process of writing for/working with other musicians?

Yes, I’m a duo guy. When I enter into a co-writing/production situation, I basically become the other half for a minute and then I get to bid them well and set them free to go “do it.”

What was the recording process like? You both live such different lives now, how did you manage to come together and make the album and this tour happen?

The album is called Everywhere all the Time and it was recorded just about everywhere: Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, DC, LA, Minneapolis, Nashville, etc..

We tracked a lot of the bass and drums in Nashville and then I would grab Jack’s vocal and guitars in whatever city we were playing in. It was a lot of fun.

Do you feel that this album is more mature now that time has passed?

I just hope people like it. We’ve had a lot of people lately tell us that we’ve been the “soundtrack for their lives.” Wow. Mission is being accomplished. Just wanna keep that rollin’… I love writing and I love playing.

You guys mostly play acoustic together. Outside of Jackopierce, what do you like to play around with musically?

I have a James Taylor/John Denver side of me (like Jackopierce – Let Go of Me and Jackopierce – Lonely). But I also have a heavily 80′s influenced Smiths/Roxy Music/Tears for Fears/Police side of me that wants to make big, powerful compelling pop (like Jackopierce – Around Me Now). I also have a Mumford/Avett side of me that wants to bang on that acoustic hard and fast and kinda combine all of it. I have a fantasy of an acoustic trio or quartet a la Mumford. That kind of music is a big part of me – all acoustic. Love it. Have you heard the Punch Brothers? IN-SANE. Check this out. Humbling.

What inspires you? Both as a musician and as a person?

Art/museums/galleries. I love great design. I’m constantly saving design ideas – both graphic and architectural/interior design in Evernote. If I could, I’d probably be releasing a new Jackopierce shirt or piece of merch every week.

I love dreaming and scheming our Destination Shows. We are playing June 8, 2013 in Santa Barbara on a roof deck overlooking the ocean and the mountains. Gorgeous. And we are having a clambake dinner and concert on Martha’s Vineyard August 17, 2013.

I am also working on a book about being creative for a living. I post a new chapter most Fridays to my blog. It’s meant to encourage and inspire the same way I am inspired by so many great authors, speakers, teachers.

You guys are from Texas. Do you like the cooking down there? 

Of course. I love Texas. Love everything about it. Well, most everything. I went down to go to SMU and I’ve been there ever since. My wife is a Texan. All 3 of my boys are Texans. I love that.

You have a song called Vineyard and here you are playing at City Winery. What is the story behind that song? Are you wine fans? Do you have a favorite wine? 

Yes, Vineyard is actually about Martha’s Vineyard. I was heartbroken in college and went there to get away. I met a sweet gal and my 2 day trip turned into 5 or 6 days. That song seems to still be one of our most popular. We did a destination show in 2010 on the Vineyard and 400 people came from 36 States. We were glad to give them an excuse to come to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

We’ve done several destination shows in Sonoma County, CA. I’ve really fallen in love with Pinot Noir. When it’s good – its’ the best – but it’s a testy grape. I feel like I’ve tasted some of the best out there at Arista, the former C. Donatiello, Hanna, etc.

Best kind of wine is the wine you like. I’ve had friends open these fancy, expensive bottles of wine and they sit around and gush over it – and to me it tastes like it’s been open for a week. Mondavi has a great everyday Pinot now for about $6. Meiomi Belle Glose is probably my current favorite. They had it in several restaurants around Dallas and I was thrilled to find it in the grocery store for about $15 bucks. We’ve actually been in touch with them. They love our Destination Shows and we are hoping to partner up on something soon. I also love Willamette Pinots from Oregon and have discovered a great find: Merriman. I asked my waiter if I could see the bottle. There was an email addy on the back. I emailed them right there and it turns out the owner, Mike Merriman, is from Dallas and his winemaker sold me his house 15 years ago. Talk about small world and great Williamette Pinot!

The smell and taste of great Pinots take me to Sonoma (specifically Healdsburg) – a place that my wife and I could see ourselves spending

Grant Lee Phillips: Uncorked and Uncovered

Artist: Grant Lee Phillips

Played at City Winery: October 3rd, 2012

 

Q&A With City Winery

You’ve done a lot of work recently with comedienne, Margaret Cho. What role does comedy play in your life? Are there any other comedians you’d love to work with?

Margaret’s a force of nature. We’ve known one another for ages, but it was a huge treat to work with her on her “Cho Dependent” album. Comics and musicians are a bit like distant cousins, but there’s a crazy amount of courage it takes to be a comic and I look upon people like Margaret and Paul F. Tompkins with awe.

Do you check out any comedy shows? Any favorite places to check out? Do you ever think of getting on stage at an open mic or taking an improv class?

Largo out in L.A. has long been a hotbed for comedy. It’s a place where comics and songwriters mix and through Largo I’ve been able to explore the high-wire thrill of being onstage without a guitar.

You are very vocal about your Native American heritage. How has it informed your songwriting? What drives you to incorporate this into your music?

I grew up with an awareness of my Creek heritage. It was reinforced by my mother and grandmother. My desire to grasp the history of our country, one that’s often untold, has been a driving force behind a lot of my songs. Becoming a father has also compelled me to better understand where I come from, to honor my ancestry and pass that knowledge onward.

It seems like you have also been able to use comedy as a way of demonstrating your awareness of your heritage against a contemporary American backdrop. In the Margaret Cho video for “Asian Adjacent,” you appear as a Native American man when she says the word “Cherokee.” Something Margaret (and many comedians do) is poke fun at herself and address stereotypes that affect her on a personal level. Was this experience a first for you (as far as addressing it in a comedic way)?

Margaret came to me with “Asian Adjacent.” She’d written these lyrics inspired by our first meeting many years ago. For ages, she had assumed because of my features and the “Lee” in my name that I was Chinese. It’s not the first time that I’ve encountered this. When I explained that I’m actually Creek and Cherokee, it inspired the concept of being “Asian Adjacent.” In one scene of the video we did a take-off on “Miss Saigon.” I was portraying an American soldier, pursuing Margaret. The editor dropped me in on the Cherokee lyric, (the power of editing and suggestion). There’s something really incredible about her way of using comedy to challenge stereotypes.

You also combine your music and your heritage as a means of awareness and outreach. Though the Internet has had some negative impacts on the music industry, it has also been an amazing tool in expanding audience. Additionally, it has become a means of outreach and awareness. One platform this is possible through is PledgeMusic, which you are currently using; how has that been?

My new album, Walking In The Green Corn, is a Pledge Music project. I love the grass-roots connectivity of this approach. There’s something very hands-on about it that appeals to me. I’ve also become very informed in the ways of shipping these days and I have a greater appreciation for the US Postal Service.

Outside of your heritage, what inspires you as a writer/performer?

Songs are just the evidence of whatever life you live, the people you love, your desires, your fears and the rest.  I’m just trying to walk and sing at the same time.

I just wanted to mention that your website is incredible. How do you think that the aesthetic style and the design (interactivity, click-throughs) reflect you as a musician and as a person?

My website is one part American Pickers and one part Hoarders. I’m very at home there.

You’ve done a bit of acting work, even had a recurring role on Gilmore Girls. Is acting something you’d like to do more of, maybe having bigger, more prominent roles?

I’d love to do more acting. When Gilmore Girls ended I went back and studied some more. I’ve got a lot of respect for actors and all they have to put themselves through.

Do you have any favorite things to do in NYC? Are there any stores or restaurants you have to stop at when in town? Any other interesting spots along the road you love?  

New York, for all of the times that I’ve visited, still takes my breath away. I grew up in the country and learned to drive on one-lane highways out in the foothills so the city is little overwhelming. Still, on a warm night, with good friends there’s nothing like it.  New York is also a place where people still hold the door for each other. More often that you would think. ( LA is the worst for that). There’s a rhythm to this city. It can be tough to find the downbeat at first, but when you do, it’s an incredible place.

What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten? 

Depended how hungry I was.

If you could eat any meal right now, what would it be? Would there be a drink to go with it? 

I’m always up for a cup coffee and I’ve never pushed away a pecan pie.

Do you have any big plans for 2013? 

More music, more coffee, more pie. Let me get that door for you…

Shemekia Copeland: Uncorked and Uncovered

 

Artist: Shemekia Copeland

Played at City Winery: September 27, 2012

 

Q&A With City Winery

You have been newly crowned the “Queen of Blues.” Congratulations! How does it feel?

It was a total surprise and an incredible honor, something I try to live up to every time I perform.

You aren’t afraid to perform songs about serious issues and obstacles in life like domestic violence. Are these coming from first hand experience or knowing someone in these situations? Did growing up in NYC, seeing the constant class struggle and disparity have anything to do with your awareness?

I try to perform blues songs, but in a contemporary way. To make blues relevant for young people, especially women. So it makes sense to address issues like domestic violence and financial disparity. I don’t think these issues came out of growing up in NYC. They’re issues we all have in common everywhere, but you’d certainly run into them in NY.

Blues is one of those genres that kind of spreads out into a lot of other genres or at least influences and informs other genres/styles. Given that, is there anything you feel you’d like to do musically that you haven’t done yet?

I want to help this music evolve and grow, to reach young people and get them as excited about the music as I am. I’d like to expand the boundaries of traditional blues. Do a blues samba. A blues in French. New, different, and unexpected explorations.

 

 

Ronnie Spector’s “Beyond the Beehive” (One Girl’s Journey through Rock) – City Winery – September 15, 2012

City Winery thanks Frank Grimaldi for his review of Saturday night’s final Ronnie Spector performance.

Ronnie Spector’s “Beyond the Beehive” is a theatrical memoir of her life. Though, Spector confesses that she’s not an actress and reads her story off of an IPAD between songs, her emotions over the story itself provide all the necessary drama. On Saturday evening, a gentleman introducing the show requested that no videos be recorded. Before leaving the stage, he told the audience that Ronnie Spector was dedicating the evening’s performance to Amy Winehouse who would have been 28 years old on the day before the show (Sept.14th.)

Ronnie Spector is 69 years old but the only real signs of her being an elderly woman was when she sat between songs and kept wiping here face under her mass of hair. Amazingly. Ronnie Spector’s voice is as strong as it was in 1963 and still as strong as her New York accent. As one would suspect, most of Ronnie’s narrative had to do with her ex-husband, Phil Spector and his giving new meaning to the word “Possessive.” There are many sad parts to her story, but like Tina Turner, in the end Ronnie Spector gets her life and her career back.

 

For legal reasons having to do with Phil Spector, Ronnie explained that she could not perform any of her greatest hits as part of a theatrical performance. But she surprised the audience after the show with what she dubbed as a mini concert. I loved hearing those songs and so did the rest of the sold out audience at City Winery who stood up to reach out to grab Ronnie Spector’s hand. My favorite songs of the evening were “Walking in the Rain” and “Try Some, Buy Some.” But my ultimate favorite song of the early 60’s is still “ Be My Baby” hands down, and when Ronnie Spector sang it – I was in heaven.

 

 

Theatrical Performance Set List

1.Woman In Love (With You)
2.You Belong To Me
3.What’d I Say” (Ray Charles Cover)
4.He Did It
5.Do I Love You
6.Walking In The Rain
7.Time Is On My Side (Cover made famous by the Rolling Stones)
8.Don’t Worry Baby (Beach Boys cover)
9.Frosty The Snowman
10.(The Best Part Of)Breaking Up
11.Try Some, Buy Some (George Harrison Cover)
12.Say Goodbye to Hollywood (Billy Joel Cover)
13.She Talks To Rainbows (Ramones Cover)
14.You Can’t Put Your Arms Round a Memory (Johnny Thunders Cover)
15.Girl From The Ghetto

Mini- Concert Set List
1. Baby I Love You
2. Be My Baby
3. I Can Hear Music

To read more from Frank Grimaldi visit http://www.concert-log.com/

City Winery Chicago World Music Primer

Here at City Winery Chicago, we have an expansive and eclectic line-up of music coming through our state of the art venue. Not only the top folk, rock, and jazz artists, but also a wide swath of the top artists in world music. What exactly is world music? Well, just like there are different genres within rock and jazz, there are many different types of music in the overarching “world music” universe. Depending on which country the groups are from will dictate where the emphasis lies in the rhythm, instruments and tone. Here are a few quick explanations of some of the world music artists we have coming in the next few months to City Winery Chicago.

- One of the biggest reoccurring events we will have is the weekly Sunday Klezmer Brunch where we will have groups from Chicago and beyond playing traditional Klezmer music while the audience dines on delicious lox, bagels and more. Klezmer music has its origins in Eastern Europe and is a musical tradition in Judaism. The music is written for dances (such as the Hora) and religious ceremonies (such as weddings). The most popular usage, and most recognizable, is from the musical and film The Fiddler on the Roof. The Klezmer groups, musicians known as Klemorim, consist of violins, piano, tsimbl (a kind of dulcimer), and most importantly a clarinet. The music is lively, melodic, and irresistible to dance to, and often mimics the human voice in tone and musicality. The first group we’ll have performing is the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble. You can check out a clip of them performing a dance tune here.

- Brazilian artist Bebel Gilberto will take over our stage for two nights September 14th and 15th. Gilberto is one of the top-selling Brazilian artists in the US and has had her music featured in movies such as Closer, Rio, and Eat, Pray, Love, as well as TV shows such as “Sex and the City” and “Six Feet Under”. She beautifully combines the bossa nova beats of her native Brazil with jazz and electronic music to create an intoxicating sound that will quickly transport you to a quiet beach in Rio. Gilberto has an extraordinary voice that floats and flows over the music like a calming tide. Give her a listen with this video here and this one here.

- From Brazil we will jump across the Atlantic to Portugal for an evening with Deolinda, a group who takes inspiration from the traditional Portuguese musical style, Fado, and then gives it an upbeat spin. Traditionally Fado is a more melancholy style born from the lower class workers in the harbors of Portugal. However, Deolinda takes only the structure and idea of Fado; their songs are far from sad. They infuse a playful upbeat nature in their music. The guitars jump and dance around the melody while lead singer Ana Bacalhau’s exquisite voice slides and turns around the guitars. Come join us September 24th for what is sure to be a night of beautiful music couple with delicious wines from Portugal. See a preview of Deolinda here.

- Portugal one night, to Romania the next! September 25th brings Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia to the City Winery Chicago stage. Consisting of 12 members playing trumpets, bass drums, tubas, clarinets and more, Fanfare Ciocarlia is a world-famous group that has played in over a thousand shows in 50 countries. Their music includes hints of Romanian folk music, traditional Serbian music, and even Hollywood and Bollywood music. They play fast and they play energetically. It’s hard to exactly describe their sound, but know you will not be disappointed, nor will you be able to resist clapping your hands and stomping your feet. Take a look at this video for their cover of “Born to be Wild” and try not to smile.

- In October we have a truly unique group of musicians gracing our stage. Acoustic Africa will be bringing an evening of exciting, rhythmic, and inspiring music from some of the continents greatest female vocalists and musicians. Featuring Grammy winner vocalist/percussionist/dancer Dobet Ghanore, accomplished bassist and vocalist Manou Gallo, and new sensation vocalist/guitarist Kareyce Fotso, they will showcase an intoxicating blend of traditional African music, pop, R&B, and dance. All three artists are famous throughout the world on their own, and it will definitely be a special evening when they all join together in our intimate venue. How we are going to contain all that talent in one room is anybody’s guess. We may have to open the doors to the patio for extra dance space.

We hope this has helped give you a better understanding of the wide range of amazing acts we have coming to City Winery Chicago, and entices you to pay us a visit. For more information about our shows and these artists, check out our calendar page!

City Winery Chicago Brings the Heat in August!

The offices of City Winery Chicago are at a full-bore excited hum these days as construction nears completion, and the final pieces slide into place. All of our managers get positively giddy when they start talking about City Winery Chicago opening, and every event already on the docket. We are just over a month away from that official opening, and that means the beginning of an incredible month of events to introduce you to our new beautiful, shiny facility and top quality entertainment.

Our first event is a five-night residency from world famous comedian, TV personality, actor, and author, Lewis Black. That’s right, five nights. For those five nights, August 15th-19th, Black will bring his patented brand of anger and outrage at the absurdity of the world to our stage. We couldn’t be happier to have such a talented performer welcome you into our venue for the very first time, and kick off our opening week with a screaming bang.

That’s not where our exciting programming for August ends, though. Oh, absolutely not. How about the following week including back-to-back nights of fantastic music from singer/songwriters Jesse Harris (Wednesday, August 22nd) and Howie Day (Thursday, August 23rd)? What if I were to also say that this one-two punch is followed by yet another? We have not one, but two nights of legendary soul/R&B singer Sam Moore? We’re talking about the “Soul Man” himself for two nights in a row (August 24th and 25th). We then follow that up with another two-night residency from rock ‘n roll legend Lindsey Buckingham (August 26th 27th). Throw in The Waco Brothers, a gumbo and cabernet night with Lost Bayou Ramblers, and two nights with John Sebastian and Jimmy Vivino, and you’ve got one of the greatest opening line-ups a venue could have.

That’s just the music side of things. We also have great programming in our City Winery restaurant and winery. A wine making class with our resident wine maker Robert Kowal in our secluded and plush Barrel room? Check. The beginning of our weekly, and amazing, Klezmer brunch every Sunday morning? Double check (you have to have the bagels and lox). We will even have a dinner hosted by Chicago’s own Greg Hall, owner and operator of Virtue Cider, where he will discuss cider’s versatility coupled with a coursed meal.

It’s hard to beat events like this, and it’s just the first month. For more information on these events, and the many more coming up, check out our calendar here.

 

Shawn Colvin Returns to City Winery with Special Guest Emmylou Harris

Last night Shawn Colvin returned to the City Winery stage along with Buddy Miller & Viktor Krauss  for special live WFUV broadcast. The performance debuted Shawn’s new album All Fall Down, sharing her unique spin on blue grass and country music. At the close of the show Shawn invited her long time friend and Grammy award winner Emmylou Harris up with the band to play one of Emmylou’s songs as well as a classic from Tom Waits.

 

Artist Spotlight: Mason Jennings, coming to City Winery NYC Mar 29 & 30, 2012

Artist: Mason Jennings
Playing At City Winery: March 29th & 30th – Buy Tickets Here
Q & A With City Winery

You were born in Hawaii and your music has appeared in the surf film Shelter. Do you surf yourself?

No, I don’t surf. Not much opportunity at home in Minnesota. I relate to the culture’s focus on simplicity and closeness with nature, though.

At a young age, your family moved to Pittsburgh and you began playing music. What was/is the music scene like in Pittsburgh?

I am not sure. I moved away at 19 before I ever got involved with a scene there. I came to Minneapolis following bands I loved like The Replacements, The Jayhawks and Prince.

You dropped out of school to move to Minneapolis to pursue your music career. What drew you there?

The bands I just mentioned. And I felt instantly at home in the landscape. I find the seasons intense and beautiful. I’m never in traffic. And there’s great public radio up there.

Your newest album is entitled Minnesota. Is this and ode, of sorts, to your home?

Sure. The theme is probably home but the most similar thing to Minnesota is how much variety there is on the record. The record feels like a collage to me, hence the cover art, and Minnesota has such contrasts as a place too. Freezing winters, hot summers, water and land, art world and back-woodsmandry.

Many of your songs are about love. In fact, on your website your new album Minnesota is described as “a collage of love trying to survive the transition into being a grown-up in a complex world”. What appeals to you about the subject?

Not sure any song about any subject is any good if it’s not about love. Or a longing. All longing seems to be about love in the end.

And how have your ideas about love changed and grown over the course of your songwriting career?

Oh, I’m just more open and hopefully more aware now. I love more deeply now. Being a parent there is much more at risk.