One could venture to say that there are a lot of cities that could be called “music cities” and by that I mean cities on which any given night you could be pulled into a thousand million different directions as to what show you wanted to go see. I live in Chicago and I have written about the Chicago music scene for long enough to know that you can play a Potbelly’s lunch rush in Lincoln Square for a crowd of strollers and nannies during the day and then play the stage of any number of bars and clubs eight hours later while your first sandwich eating crowd is likely fast asleep.
So given the plethora of places to play, not to mention the top tier talent of all genres and all different levels of national, international, and indie acclaim that rolls through the windy city on a daily basis, you better have some game, especially in a city where weather is so often the deciding factor of many peoples plans.
Yet with the forces of culture and the forces of nature all bearing down on me I would still venture out no matter the circumstances to catch a gig by Chicago alt-country quintet Blue Horse Blue whose second EP Lilies In The Sky finds the band sounding like they’ve been together for decades, sounding tighter than the lid on a jar of pickles.
The folksy opener “All My Suffering” is textbook folk, a crisp and toe-tapping melody. The guitar-mandolin combo does it thing and singer Korin Isotalo vocals fall somewhere between Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton, but also a bit of Joe Strummer in there too. Her voice is scratchy and smoky. It’s an instrument. But the beauty of it is that the rest of the band works with to bring uniqueness to their folk sound. This all culminates in the hard working title track “Lilies in the Sky” and on the Grand Ole Opre-escent “In God's Arms.”
For a band that has only been at work for little more than a year Blue Horse Blue sounds like a band that has been working together for so much longer. Their beautifully blue closing track “Tally Ho” cements it as an album that should be heard by reaches farther than Chicago. With talent like Blue Horse Blue has though here’s hoping the winds of this city carry their sound much farther. It’s a sound that should be heard.
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