Lou Ann Barton, Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lou Ann Barton, Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli 

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Thank God they're not being billed as a "girl group" anymore--these three women are assertive, sophisticated vocalists who left girlhood behind long ago in favor of a knowing and refreshingly contemporary approach to blues. Strehli's onstage demeanor--she's regal, aloof, almost icy in her self-assurance--stands in marked contrast to the passion she brings to her music; especially notable is her ability to segue from up-tempo exuberance to stark balladry and still maintain her control and her emotional commitment. Ball is an ebullient singer with a remarkable range and a rich timbre; she's also a rollicking pianist in the Longhair/Booker/Touissant mold, with a taste of zesty Texas-roadhouse overdrive. Barton, probably the least familiar to Chicagoans, might well steal the show: she's a hard-traveling chanteuse in the grand tradition, legendary in the southwest for her primal blues life-style as well as for the fire she pours into whiskey-voiced ballads and take-no-prisoners house-rockers alike. Saturday, 10 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662 or 477-7469.

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