Lee Fields, Irma Thomas, Eric Krasno, Alecia Chakour | Thalia Hall | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader
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Lee Fields, Irma Thomas, Eric Krasno, Alecia Chakour 

When: Sun., Feb. 15, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $26-$46
New Orleans soul great Irma Thomas has built a six-decade career by moving forward. She’s gone through a wide variety of different labels and producers, starting at home with Allen Toussaint and then working with Rick Hall at Muscle Shoals during a creatively dynamic but commercially unsuccessful stint with Chess. Later, during Thomas’s time with Atlantic, she used a revolving cast of collaborators, many of whom appear on last year’s superb reissue Full Time Woman: The Lost Cotillion Album (Real Gone Music), where lush orchestrations still fail to outdo her velvety rasp. Over the last few decades she’s delivered nuanced blues and soul albums that work with her reduced range in pitch—the lean, piano-driven Simply Grand (Rounder) from 2008 is a good example—and her precision and power remain undiminished. She’s best known for 60s hits like “Time Is on My Side” (more famously covered by the Rolling Stones), “Wish Someone Would Care,” and “Ruler of My Heart,” but no matter the era, Thomas retains her subtly forceful identity. Tonight she headlines a strange package tour with fellow hard-core soul vet Lee Fields (they’ll both be backed by solid Nashville soul revivalists the Dynamites); in support will be chintzy soul-jazz guitarist Eric Krasno (ex-Soulive) and overwrought soul-blues singer Alecia Chakour. Thomas turns 74 on February 18, so if you’ve pined to see her in an old-school setting this might be your best chance. It’s definitely a nice alternative to the Blues Fest slots she normally appears in when she visits. —Peter Margasak
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