John Wesley Harding's All Male Threesome With Dag Juhlin & Scott McCaughey | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

John Wesley Harding's All Male Threesome With Dag Juhlin & Scott McCaughey 

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During much of the 90s it was common--and not entirely unfair--to knock John Wesley Harding as a B-grade Elvis Costello. Their voices sounded uncannily alike, they had a similar taste for wordplay-laden folk pop, and, perhaps most damning of all, they shared band members--a pair of Attractions made up the backing band on Harding's first studio album. But in recent years the crown of B-grade Costello has been transferred onto the pate of Mr. Diana Krall himself; meanwhile Harding's developed his own musical personality, learning to compress his songs into pop structures while preserving, even sharpening, his wit. His 1999 clunker, Trad Arr Jones, was a sodden and all-too-earnest tribute to British folksinger Nic Jones, but since then he's released a pair of richly textured and immediately engaging records, The Confessions of St. Ace and the recent Adam's Apple (DRT), which spikes its assemblage of love songs with a smirking slap at conformity ("Protest Protest Protest") and a genuinely haunting murderer's lament ("Sussex Ghost Story"). Harding headlines two nights at Schubas as part of what he's dubbed the "All Male Threesome." He'll be accompanied by two guys sympathetic to his tastes in both jokes and folk rock: Scott McCaughey (the Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, sometime R.E.M. sideman) and Dag Juhlin of the Slugs and Poi Dog Pondering, who'll release his first solo album, Into the Woods, later this year. $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Friday, July 16, 7 PM, and Sunday, July 18, 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Susan San Giovanni.

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