Jon Rauhouse | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jon Rauhouse 

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Jon Rauhouse has been Bloodshot Records' first-call pedal steel player since 1995, when his old band the Grievous Angels first recorded for the label. His bright tone and liquid licks have appeared on countless records by the Waco Brothers, Kelly Hogan, Neko Case, and Sally Timms, but he didn't step into the spotlight until this year, when Bloodshot released his solo debut, Steel Guitar Air Show. Backed by guitarist Tommy Connell and two swell rhythm sections (Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico and locals Tom Ray and Kevin O'Donnell), Rauhouse plays a dozen instrumentals that by turns recall Roy Smeck's buoyant Hawaiian guitar themes, Bob Wills's infectious western swing, Walter Wanderly's umbrella-in-yer-drink lounge jazz, and Santo & Johnny's shimmering desert strolls. He and Connell open their mouths only once, to croon the unabashedly corny "Hula Blues," but three of Rauhouse's sometime employers take turns at the mike: a multitracked Case sounds like the Andrews Sisters on a country vacation on "The World Is Waiting for a Sunrise," Hogan gleefully hams her way through "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive," and Timms sings "Perfidia" with a quiver so exquisite that you can't tell whether it's intended to jerk tears or pull your leg. Hogan and Timms join Rauhouse again for this record release show, along with O'Donnell, Ray, and some unidentified special guests. Mark Greenberg and Rebecca Gates open. Friday, October 11, 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia; 773-227-4433.

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

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