John Lee Hooker Jr. | Rosa’s Lounge | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., June 25, 9:30 p.m. 2010
Price: $15
Born in Detroit in 1952, John Lee Hooker Jr. has spent much of his career wrestling—in his music and outside it—with his father's formidable ghost as well as personal demons of his own. (As a young man he battled drug and alcohol addiction and served time in prison.) In recent years, though, his lyrics are as likely to take on themes like urban decay and the effects of the recession on the working class as they are to revisit his tortured past or she-done-me-wrong blues cliches. Hooker has evolved into an electrifying performer: his latest CD, Live in Istanbul, Turkey, is shot through with a celebratory energy that even his sometimes-harrowing vignettes can't dispel. His guitar style is heavily contemporary, with a busy, rock-influenced, attack, but even at his most hyperkinetic he plays cleanly, adding subtle harmonic and melodic textures. (Correction: Lead guitar on this album is played not by Hooker but by Jeff Horan and John Garcia.) He's also a master storyteller, capable of reinvigorating even the weariest themes with ironic twists and unexpected punch lines. And he brings an almost cinematic vividness and continuity to more serious subjects, as in the hard-luck laments "Wait Until My Change Come" and "It's a Shame." —David Whiteis

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