Millie Jackson, Willie Clayton, Sir Charles Jones, Latimore, Nellie "Tiger" Travis | the Venue at Horseshoe Casino | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader
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Millie Jackson, Willie Clayton, Sir Charles Jones, Latimore, Nellie "Tiger" Travis 

When: Fri., Feb. 20, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $64-$74
Millie Jackson tops the bill, and the other openers could easily headline, but the most interesting of the group on this Horseshoe Casino program is probably Sir Charles Jones. The singer fuses tenderness and machismo with a musical style that melds old-school soul emotionalism with the kind of modernist technological slickness present in contemporary R&B and neosoul. He’s best known for his early hits—especially “Is There Anybody Lonely?” and the juker’s anthem “Friday,” both from his 2001 album, Love Machine (Mardi Gras)—but his output since has also been first-rate. Jones’s latest, Portrait of a Balladeer (released on Willie Clayton’s label, Endzone Entertainment), focuses on what might be his strongest suit: the ability to craft ballads that put women on a pedestal without diminishing or denying their strength. Song titles like “Independent Ladies,” “So Beautiful,” and “Sweet Sweet” pretty much tell the story, and Jones’s onstage persona—which veers between edge-of-arrogance cockiness and pleading vulnerability—paints the picture of a hard-bitten player with a heart of gold. —David Whiteis

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