Leon Russell, Kory Quinn | City Winery | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Leon Russell

Leon Russell

When: Tue., Feb. 24, 8 p.m. and Wed., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $55
A member of the storied Wrecking Crew, the collective of top-notch session musicians who played anonymously with many of the biggest names that sprang from LA in the 60s (the Byrds and Wall of Sound-era Phil Spector among them), Leon Russell has lived at least nine lives during his musical career. After his run as a sideman on the keys, he branched out as solo artist, putting himself on the map with his self-titled 1970 debut. But he also became an in-demand songwriter—the iconic ballad “A Song for You” has been covered by artists ranging from Donny Hathaway (the song’s considered a Hathaway signature) to Willie Nelson to Amy Winehouse. He’s released a combined 35 solo, live, and collaborative albums since that 1970 debut, including 2010’s The Union with Elton John, which resulted in a Grammy nomination for “If It Wasn’t for Bad” as well as a repositioning of Russell in music’s collective consciousness after he fell a bit to the wayside in the 90s. Now he’s touring on a record of mostly standards conceived with producer Tommy LiPuma­—2014’s appropriately titled Life Journey (Universal), which showcases his weathered drawl over velvety piano, brushed drums, and strings (two rollicking originals, “Big Lips” and “Down in Dixieland,” are thrown in for good measure). To say the man is a living legend is an understatement. —Erin Osmon
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