Stuart Staples | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Stuart Staples 

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Music writers like to compare every deep-voiced poet of despair to Leonard Cohen, but it's not a cliche when it comes to Tindersticks front man Stuart Staples: on "The Path," a track from his new solo album, Leaving Songs (Beggars Banquet), the resemblance is just plain uncanny, right down to the way Gina Foster's wispy backing vocals enter at a climactic moment, as if to admonish him with their purity. Elsewhere the dour Englishman, who recorded most of the album in Nashville with Lambchop's Mark Nevers, turns the creaky ghost ship of his voice in a soulward direction, propelling it with slightly locomotive rhythms, skeletal horns, and duets with the likes of Maria McKee and Lhasa de Sela. (The album also comes packaged with Staples's 2005 solo debut, previously unreleased in the U.S.) For this show he'll be backed by a five-piece band that includes two of his Tindersticks compatriots, guitarist Neil Fraser and keyboardist David Boulter. Sally Timms & Jon Langford open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $20.

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