Joybird, Carson McHone, Big Sadie


Carson McHone

Big Sadie

Fri, November 9, 2018

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL


Tickets at the Door

Facebook comments:

“An excellent storyteller...with an impressively direct and matter of fact way of looking at our world today.”
-Laura Land (Chicago Crowd Surfer)

"At times playful, at times immersed in longing...fiercely hopeful and deeply communal."
-Abigail Zimmer (Poetry Editor, The Lettered Streets Press)

Joybird’s new album Landing is fiddler and songwriter Jess McIntosh’s dynamic follow-up to Long Time Exhaling (2016). Where their first record drew listeners into the daily intimacies of love and longing, this one faces outward, connecting the political with the personal, care for one’s neighbors with care for one’s self. Expanding the core trio of Jess on fiddle, banjo, guitar and voice, improvisatory percussionist Bill Harris (Four Letter Words, Devouring the Guilt, Bowlcut) and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Aaron Smith (On Big Shoulders, Growler, Horseshoe Bender), Landing features Emily Nott on guitar and vocals, Dan Andree (The Henhouse Prowlers) on fiddle, Steve Doyle (Hoyle Brothers) on dobro and electric guitar, Sara Leginsky (Glass Mountain) on banjo and vocals, Cass Pautler on clarinet, and Anna S. Jacobson on french horn and trumpet. The entire team wrapped recording on this record in three days with minimal overdubs, highlighting the fluidity of a group that’s been together on the road, in bars and in each other’s homes, in music and in friendship.

“Long Time Exhaling was a solo project; Landing is a collaboration. It’s about trust and learning not everything can, or should, be done on my own. I’m finding the courage to lean on others and then huge gratitude that they feel as invested as I do in the work we’re doing--together.”
-Jess McIntosh, songwriter for Joybird

Joybird is the musical project of Chicago multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jess McIntosh. A composer, lyricist and performing artist with the House Theater Company of Chicago since 2015 and Chicago Children’s Theatre since 2018, Jess enters her sixth year as a teaching artist at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, has been staff musician and teacher at Augusta Heritage Center’s Old Time & American Vernacular Dance Week (West Virginia), and Miles of Music Camp (New Hampshire and Boston). She tours internationally with Al Scorch (Bloodshot Records), has shared the stage with legendary artists Steve Earle, Marty Stuart, Chance McCoy, and Gil Landry (both of Old Crow Medicine Show), and frequents Chicago stages with bands Horseshoe Bender, Big Sadie, Glass Mountain, Little Miss Ann and members of Old Lazarus' Harp folk collective. Her original music has been featured in the silent film series, How Do We Sing? and Great Smoky Mountain Nat’l Park documentary, Horace Kephart: His Life and Legacy.
Carson McHone
Carson McHone
Years before Rolling Stone was praising Carson McHone's rule-breaking roots music, the Austin, Texas native played weeknights in local bars like The White Horse, keeping dancers dancing and drinkers drinking. With her 21st birthday still in the distance, McHone entertained late-night crowds bearing witness to the good times and bad decisions that fill a busy bar. It was a rare, raw education. She pumped her music full of details from an early adulthood spent in the company of the heartbroken and high-toleranced. In 2015, McHone released Goodluck Man which earned her a cover story in The Austin Chronicle as well as the support of local icons like Ray Wylie Hubbard, who said she "writes songs like her life depends on it." Then she hit the road, touring the U.S. (and beyond) with acts like Shakey Graves, Gary Clark, Jr., and Joe Pug. Her writing style widened and her music evolved.

“There was a time when I wanted to champion traditional country,” says McHone, “mostly because I wasn’t hearing it in what was being called ‘country’. I think a lot of roots influenced artists feel the need to defend tradition in this way. Today though, I want to do more with the form, push myself past where I understand it to be.”

Dark, driving and evocative, 2018's Carousel captures this period of remarkable growth, shining a light not only on McHone's honky-tonk roots, but on her development as a modern, alt-country storyteller. It features newly written songs and updated versions of tracks that first appeared on Goodluck Man, pushing traditional sounds and themes into a modern context.

Playing an instrumental role in the process was Mike McCarthy, the now Nashville based, award-winning producer behind albums for Spoon, Patty Griffin, and Heartless Bastards. McCarthy is well versed in country music but his work is definitely not defined by the genre, which made him the perfect candidate for McHone’s new record.

Carousel is a latter-day record inspired by diverse sources like Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and American novelist Thomas Wolfe, unconcerned with flying the flag of old-school country. It wears its eclecticism proudly, with McHone singing each song in a voice that is worldly-wise and woozily gorgeous.

Carousel kicks off with "Sad," a song about the fraught relationship one develops with darkness, but it’s a fast-moving, high-energy song driven forward by fiddle, electric guitar, and pedal steel. This track sets the stage for an album that tackles edgy subjects without losing its bright melodies. McHone creates her own rule book switching between tempos on "Lucky", offsetting the acoustic guitar of "Spider Song" with the medieval swell of a harmonium, and fills the piano ballad, "How 'Bout It," with a mix of torch-song twang and late-night, jazz-club melancholia. Originally recorded back in 2015 as a deep-cutting, slow-moving waltz, “Gentle” reappears on Carousel as an anthemic tribute to a love gone cold, with McHone exploring the tension between what we know and what we feel, then honoring a relationship’s fleeting existence rather than despairing it’s demise.

The lyrics are confessional and intensely autobiographical. On “Dram Shop Gal” - one of several Goodluck Man tracks to receive a modern makeover – McHone takes a hard look at the ways in which her worldview has been shaped (for better and for worse) by her many hours in a barroom.

“I was a kid when I landed those residencies,” she says of her days at The Hole in The Wall, where she began playing Friday happy hour as a 16-year-old, and The White Horse, where she eventually took over the coveted Thursday night residency. “I wasn’t even old enough to be in those bars and they became a home to me. It’s a dark thing when a bar becomes your home.”

McHone explains that Carousel embraces where she's come from and establishes where her musical interests are leading. “The art I’m making would be lacking if I were to stick to a specific genre. Carousel is more modern, which is where my interests lie these days, and where my writing is taking me. At the end of the day, it has to be the song that dictates.”

Growing up, McHone rode her horse bareback along the side streets of south Austin, weaving through traffic and empty parking lots to find space to "open up". For any motorist driving past, she must've been a wonderfully unusual sight to behold: a messy-haired young woman riding down the street, bridging the country and the city, the past and the present, the Wild West and modern Austin.

McHone’s 2018 release builds a similar bridge. Purposeful, pointed, and poignant, Carousel is a compelling ride.
Big Sadie
Big Sadie
Big Sadie is a Chicago-based acoustic band fronted by Elise Bergman (upright bass, vocals) and Collin Moore (guitar, vocals). Defined by rich, intricate harmonies and rustic yet sophisticated instrumental arrangements, Big Sadie takes a modern yet timeless approach to American roots music.

Bergman and Moore have been playing music together for over a decade. Through the years, the duo has amassed an extensive repertoire of bluegrass, old-time, early country, and blues. They introduce their first collection of original compositions with their debut album, Keep Me Waiting—recorded by Alex Hall, out May 19, 2017 on Spindle Tree Records.

Joining Bergman and Moore on the album are Big Sadie members Andy Malloy (banjo, vocals) and Matt Brown (fiddle, vocals). Long-time Big Sadie friend and collaborator, Jess McIntosh, sings harmony vocals on the title track.

After several appearances with the band, Malloy and Brown officially joined Big Sadie in mid-2016. With the addition of Malloy’s energetic and inventive banjo playing and Brown’s masterful fiddling, Big Sadie is quickly gaining recognition for their compelling songwriting, skillful playing, and dynamic live performance.
Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642