Sharply observational songwriter Amy Rigby comes back with her first album in 13 years | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Sharply observational songwriter Amy Rigby comes back with her first album in 13 years 

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click to enlarge Amy Rigby

Amy Rigby

Ted Barron

Amy Rigby’s new album, The Old Guys (Southern Domestic Recordings), begins with a bold 12-string guitar chord that sounds like Roger McGuinn filtered through Tom Petty. It kicks off with “From philiproth@gmail to rzimmerman@aol.com,” which relates an imaginary e-mail sent by Philip Roth to Bob Dylan on the occasion of the latter winning the Nobel Prize for literature. Rigby only needs a few vivid details to send you to Roth’s hotel room and feel both the writer’s envy and grudging respect for the guy who supplanted him as the literary champion of an era. The next song, “Are We Still There Yet?,” uses similarly sharp observations about encounters with an old friend to remind her of when she knew what mattered: what to drink and how to play music in her car. And by contrast, how little she knows now. Whatever Rigby writes about, you’re right there with her, and likely humming her music afterward too. The Old Guys is Rigby’s eighth solo album, as well as her first in 13 years. She’s spent the years in between blogging, recording, and touring as a duo with her husband, Wreckless Eric, and writing a forthcoming memoir provisionally titled Summer of My Wasted Youth. On the record, Eric’s masterful production gilds the classic rock-grade hooks of Rigby’s tunes with psychedelic and country touches. But when she plays solo, as she’s doing on this tour, Rigby’s wit and vulnerability put the songs over as effectively as any band.   v

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