ANDERS PARKER | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

ANDERS PARKER 

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Sometimes talented artists get miscast early in their careers, having hoisted sail under some prevailing trend out of shrewdness, naivete, or desperation--Elvis Costello, for one, debuted as a new wave act when his closest precursor wasn't Bryan Ferry or David Johansen but Randy Newman. Anders Parker began releasing records in the mid-90s as the gritty, lo-fi indie-rock act Varnaline despite being at heart a singer-songwriter in the mold of Steve Earle (who put out a few Varnaline albums on his E-Squared label) or Jeff Tweedy. After a decade of skin shedding, last year he finally got around to making an album called Anders Parker (Baryon). The straightforward title prefigures the disc's emphasis on unadorned, quick-and-dirty performances, though for Parker "raw" largely means "breathtakingly elegant." Assisting him is an able crew comprising folks from Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, the Mekons, Son Volt, the Jayhawks, and the backing bands of Warren Zevon, Freedy Johnston, and Steve Wynn. Bikes Will Take Us opens. a 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. --J. Niimi

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