Folk goddess Kath Bloom plays Chicago for the first time in her four-decade career | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Folk goddess Kath Bloom plays Chicago for the first time in her four-decade career 

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click to enlarge Kath Bloom

Kath Bloom

Courtesy the Artist

When I first saw that the mysterious and beguiling Kath Bloom would be playing the Hideout, I honestly gasped. The elusive singer-songwriter hardly ever tours, and when she does, it’s usually in the UK and Europe. This tour jaunt covers only Chicago and a handful of rust-belt cities including Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Allentown, Pennsylvania—all places Bloom, a native of New Haven, Connecticut, admits she has never even visited. After studying cello and guitar, Bloom launched her career back in 1976 when she began performing with legendary avant-guarde guitarist Loren Mazzacane Connors. The combination of Bloom’s passionate, delicate voice with Connors’s mournful six-string folk-blues textures yielded some LPs, including 1982’s Sing the Children Over, and between 1983 and ’84, Sand in My Shoe, Restless Faithful Desperate, and Moonlight (the originals are now almost impossible to find, but Chapter Music has reissued some in recent years). When their partnership ended in 1984, Bloom all but retired to focus on her life as a single mother, but she was thrust back into the music world in 1995 when Richard Linklater used her song “Come Here” in his award-winning romantic drama Before Sunrise. Bloom self-released a new album, It’s Just a Dream, in 1996, and Come Here: The Florida Years in 1999. Since then, her music has slowly been gaining traction with new listeners—a Bloom tribute album, Loving Takes This Course, which features fans like Devendra Banhart, Meg Baird, Bill Callahan, and Josephine Foster, came out in 2009. Bloom’s most recent release, 2015’s Pass Through Here, has a pretty full sound (even some synths!) yet retains a very homespun feel. At tonight’s show, part of the Hideout’s Picnics on the Porch series, she’ll be playing mostly material off that album (“60 percent,” she told me), accompanied by David Shapiro on guitar. She also promised a few older classics for this extremely rare and close-up appearance. Miss it at your own risk, as this might be your only chance to catch Bloom’s gorgeously aching tunes live in Chicago.   v

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