Chuck Prophet energizes rock ’n’ roll even as he eulogizes it | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chuck Prophet energizes rock ’n’ roll even as he eulogizes it 

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click to enlarge Chuck Prophet

Chuck Prophet

Karen Doolittle

Chuck Prophet has been pursuing his vision as a solo artist for so long that his earlier band, Green on Red, is almost an asterisk in his bio. Not that the famed psych-country group, which gained traction in the 80s, doesn’t deserve its shine, but Prophet’s discography has moved far beyond it. While his music falls under the umbrella of Americana, his definition of America isn’t trapped under glass—not the case with everybody in this genre. The song titles on his current release, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins (Yep Roc), name-drop not just 60s singer-songwriter Fuller but also Jesus, Nashville actress Connie Britton, and San Francisco police-shooting victim Alex Nieto, and they do so for a reason—these are respectful tributes rather than arbitrary references. And in “Bad Year for Rock and Roll,” Prophet takes stock of 2016 and the steep number of musicians’ lives the year seemed to claim. At a time when rock ’n’ roll itself is in danger of being treated as neglected folk music, Prophet lets go of the self-effacing Woody Guthrie-isms and proves that a little superstar flash won’t detract from the stories.   v

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