Picketts | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader



As heard on their latest album, Euphonium (Rounder), Seattle's Picketts deliver roots rock with an honest exuberance missing from most of the music that makes up the sprawling revisionist genre known as Americana. Supported by stand-up drummer Leroy "Blackie" Sheep and Young Fresh Fellow Jim Sangster on guitar, vocalist Christy McWilson sings with clear, authoritative panache, and she can navigate a syllable-crammed rocker like "Good Good Wife" with as much aplomb as she can a languid honky-tonk vehicle like "Just Passin' Thru." The Picketts eschew the elements that have already made much of Americana trite; no self-conscious twang, no stiff two-beat rhythms, and no tiresome country history lessons. (If anything, they err by trying to be unconventional, with radical but somewhat ineffectual revamps of the Who's "Baba O'Riley" and the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go.") They appear as one-fourth of a touring bill presented by No Depression, the Americana fanzine: Hazeldine are a modestly pleasant Albuquerque foursome with nice harmonies and not much else; Dallas's Old 97's proffer the raucous hillbilly punk favored by their former label, Bloodshot; and Raleigh's Whiskeytown mete out such suffocatingly reverent Byrdsy country rock (via the ubiquitous Uncle Tupelo model) that they make Son Volt sound like stylistic adventurers. If you're reading this on Thursday, April 3, you can catch the show tonight at Schubas (8 PM, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508); otherwise it's Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Picketts photo by Spike Mafford.

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