The best thing about being a music fan in Chicago is the feeling of community between the local bands. There’s no sense of rivalry or bitterness, just a large group of people trying to make and hear the best music possible. The Shams Band is the best example of this, and it’s no surprise that they’ve sent me yet another strong album to hear. Ben White, banjo player and vocalist for The Shams, provides his talents on Mid-Western for a number of tracks.
Michele McGuire is a talented lyricist and singer, and she’s put together a very good first LP (she released an EP called Stories From The Blue last summer). Initially I thought Mid-Western was going to be a straight forward folk-country album, but it turns into much more than that. There’s a lot more going on as you listen a couple times. I love that there’s some jazz influence and rockabilly mixed in with the pop-heavy style. This is best displayed on one of the middle tracks, “Way Too Long.”
I think my favorite track is called “For Love.” I don’t know a lot about current country music, but I know that this song sounds like a more honky tonk version of something Carrie Underwood put out a while back. I prefer McGuire’s swagger to Underwood’s vapid corporate doll, but I think they have similar vocal style.
You can purchase Mid-Western online now, but the record release show is this Friday at Martyrs. I can’t go because I have relatives in town, and I feel like I’m going to be missing a really good show. Tickets are only ten dollars, and Michele’s set is sandwiched between the always-great Adam Ezra Group and Roscoe Bandana. The show starts at 9, so be sure to get there before 9:30 so you don’t miss any of her set.