Guitarist and soul singer Isaiah Sharkey warms Chicago up for his next album | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Guitarist and soul singer Isaiah Sharkey warms Chicago up for his next album 

Plus: The Humboldt Park Orchestra celebrates five years with a tribute to women in salsa, and the Burlington hosts a benefit to help survivors of sexual violence.

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click to enlarge Isaiah Sharkey - PHOTO BY JORDAN CORTESE
  • Isaiah Sharkey
  • Photo by Jordan Cortese

Guitarist and soul singer Isaiah Sharkey has Chicago's DNA in his veins—he lived in Cabrini-Green as a kid and sat in at the Velvet Lounge as a teenager. As an adult, he's become an in-demand hired hand, playing on D'Angelo's Grammy-winning 2014 masterpiece Black Messiah and bringing his blistering runs to John Mayer's touring band. In 2017, he released his debut solo full-length, Love Life Live, an underappreciated album heavy on elegant Aquarian soul that features cameos by the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Lalah Hathaway. Sharkey says he's at work on Love Is the Key, a new record "that reflects funk, jazz, classic R&B, hip-hop, and other genres that've influenced me throughout my journey." He plans a spring release, and he'll play Chop Shop on Thursday, December 27, with Slique Jay Adams and Aniba Hotep & the Sol Collective.

Humboldt Park Orchestra founder Angel Rodriguez says he launched the combo in December 2013 "to feature top local salsa musicians, most of them bandleaders in their own right." Since then he and the HPO have backed many famous artists and covered the whole history of salsa, merengue, and bachata. On Wednesday, January 2, they celebrate their fifth anniversary at Alhambra Palace (1240 W. Randolph) with a tribute to women in salsa, featuring singers Marisol Miranda, Wanda Inette, and Doris Osorio and instrumentalists Carol MacPherson (trombone), Mai Sugimoto (sax), and Andrea Lanctot (trumpet). Here's to many more years of filling dance floors!

In August, Chicago nonprofit Rape Victim Advocates changed its name to Resilience, but its work supporting survivors and preventing sexual violence continues. On Saturday, December 29, three of Gossip Wolf's favorite locals play a benefit for Resilience at the Burlington: Meat Wave, Skip Church, and Sunglow, the bouncy electro-pop project of Daniel Lynch, who moved here last year from Savannah, Georgia.  v

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