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!
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.
#2 – Joshua Bell
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!
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
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.
#6 – Todd Rundgren
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.
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.
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.
#9 – Woodyfest: Celebration of Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday
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
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!
#11 – Taj Mahal
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.
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!!
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.
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.