Johnny Laws | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Johnny Laws 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Johnny Laws has a voice any modem blues singer would die for: he can modulate from sexy whisper to gritty funk to agonized wail in the course of a single song and never lose his trademark aching sweetness. But no matter how smooth Laws gets, his music always echoes the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of neighborhood clubs like the Cuddle Inn, at 53rd and Ashland, where he held the Saturday-night gig for years. His band of solid musicians share his romanticism, and their backing helps hold his varied musical and emotional themes together. Laws's guitar work; like his singing, combines soulful moodiness with post-50s-blues fire, and on a ballad like McKinley Mitchell's "End of the Rainbow" the result can be spellbinding: over the folky intimacy of Laws's gentle chording, his voice soars into realms of longing that few other contemporary Chicago blues vocalists can approach. Tonight and Saturday, Lilly's, 2513 N. Lincoln; 525-2422. Sunday, Cuddle Inn, 5317 S. Ashland; 778-1999.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Big Fish Greenhouse Theater Center
September 29
Performing Arts
Sugar in Our Wounds Den Theatre
October 19

Popular Stories