Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Prescriptions puts on exhilarating show at The Venue in Aurora

Photo by Eric Schelkopf


Feeling under the weather? Nashville band The Prescriptions has the cure for that.

The band proved that during its debut performance Friday night at The Venue in Aurora. The Prescriptions’ power pop influences are strong and their infectious melodies brought smiles to everyone in the audience.


But The Prescriptions is also a powerful force on stage as it proved during the show. The band is a force to reckon with on stage, playing with relentless energy and vigor that invites comparisons to Chicago band Local H.


In fact, the band’s energy level kept ticking up as the night went on, giving those in the audience a show will be etched in their memory for a long time to come. 


Let’s hope that The Prescriptions will make it back to The Venue soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Lincoln Barr to perform in March at SPACE in Evanston

Photo by Anna Hoychuk 



The Land of Lincoln will welcome Lincoln Barr to SPACE in Evanston on March 4.

Barr will open for Chicago-based The Flat Five  at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are available at

I had the chance to talk to Barr about the upcoming show and his latest solo album, the emotionally rich "Forfeit the Prize."


Q – Of course you are playing March 4 at SPACE in Evanston. You should get a warm reception because after all, this is the Land of Lincoln.

I grew up in large part in Missouri and I never lived in Illinois. My wife is from Belleville in downstate Illinois, so I’ve spent a little bit of time in the Land of Lincoln.

Q – When you first heard someone say Land of Lincoln, did that sound strange to you?

Probably, yeah.

Q – You will be opening up for The Flat Five at SPACE, a Chicago band, and Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor and Casey McDonough from The Flat Five are featured on “Forfeit the Prize.”

We were just finishing up the record and we were looking for a female voice to round out some of the songs. And I thought of Kelly and I asked my producer, Johnny Sangster, if he thought she would be up for it.

So we got on the phone with Kelly one day. She’s just a really collaborative, generous person.

She not only was willing to sing on the record, but she also brought some of her friends along and helped us organize the whole thing. So Johnny and I flew to Chicago in January 2022.

It was very, very cold and we did a day of singing at Reliable Recorders in Chicago. Nora, Kelly and Casey from The Flat Five sang on a few tracks. And Alex Hall from The Flat Five was the engineer that day.

It was a great time.

Q – I had the honor interviewing Nora a few months ago and I saw Nora and Casey perform last summer. They harmonize great together.

They are just amazing singers, just total naturals. And the joke about Casey is that he can sing higher than Kelly or Nora.

It was an honor to have them on the record. When I told Kelly I was looking to set up some Midwest dates, she offered this opportunity to open for The Flat Five at SPACE and I just couldn’t say no.

We are really excited about that. I’m really excited to play in Evanston.

I would like it if we could get Kelly and Nora and Casey up to sing on a couple of numbers.

Q – In making “Forfeit the Prize,” did you have any specific goals and do you think you achieved them?

I think more than anything, I wanted to make something that felt honest and true to where I was as a person at the time when I wrote the songs and when I recorded them.

We were all coming off of a good year and a half minimum of not playing music with any other people because of the pandemic. I wanted to try and make sure that there was humor and that sort of joyful energy in the performances.

I can hear it and I hope other people can as well.

– I know that you welcome people comparing you to Burt Bacharach. Of course, he passed away recently at the age of 94. Did that hit you hard when you heard the news?

Believe it or not, I was actually doing an interview for a podcast when the person I was doing the interview with told me the news in the middle of the interview.

It was pretty shocking. I think I’m still sort of processing it.

On the one hand, it’s hard to be too sad at a life so well lived and someone who all gave us so much. He certainly gave a lot to me in terms of inspiration.

I’m definitely sad for his family and all the people that were close to him. For those folks, life is never long enough.

But I’m so grateful that we got to share this time on the planet.

Q – I heard you mention on a podcast interview that you’ve always been drawn to more sophisticated song forms.

That’s definitely true. Unusual or more sophisticated song forms have always tugged at my ear.

I hope to just become more and more fluent in my expression and my ability to kind of utilize that full range of musical tools to get across the feeling that you’re trying to express.

Q – What would you like people to get out of the album?

I think hope and comfort. I personally find a lot of hope in the songs.

The songs sort of came from a place of rest and reflection after a very kind of turbulent time in my life. I just hope it resonates with people and makes them feel something.

Q – It seems like there is a meaning behind the album’s title.

What “Forfeit the Prize” means to me is surrendering your preconceived outcome, of what you think your life is going to be or what the results of your efforts are going to be and realizing that’s probably not going to be what you imagined and hopefully it’s going to be so much more.

Q – On your solo albums, you show a different musical side than you had with your band Red Jacket Mine. Were people surprised that you had a whole different musical side?

I think so. In particular, maybe the more casual observers.

Red Jacket Mine was influenced by artists like certainly Elvis Costello and the Attractions or Rockpile but also NRBQ. NRBQ is still my favorite rock ’n’ roll band of all time and a huge inspiration to Red Jacket Mine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Chicago musician Daniel Gunderson puts himself in the spotlight in releasing first solo album



After performing in various bands over the years – often as a backup instrumentalist – Chicago musician Daniel Gunderson in October decided to go off on his own and release his first solo album – "Remember."

The album, a collection of his own songs along with innovative covers of tunes by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and The Rolling Stones, is streaming at and

I had the chance to talk to Gunderson about the album and his music career.


Q – Great talking to you. You released "Remember" in October. Some people might be surprised that this is your first solo album. Was now just the right time to release a solo album?

It was a combination of a lot of things falling into place, with the addition of the COVID lockdowns and isolation. I've always been more the utility person working behind other musicians and, with COVID, the opportunity to play with others went away.

I had already started to record the album before the lockdown started, but since the only people I was seeing outside my family were my producer and another friend, it allowed for focus.

Q – You played the majority of the instruments on the album. What kind of challenges did that pose? When you finished the album, did it exceed your expectations?

Everything but drums were instruments that I kept current on, and it required some time to get back up to speed on them. The real challenge was trying to figure out whether or not I needed to focus on the tenor of a song or the feel of an instrument.
The way that I describe it is there was a question of focusing on a particular instrument (horizontally) or on a particular song (vertically). The process turned out to be a mix of both.

Thinking about that, there was one approach I did have to learn from scratch: I'd never played an upright bass with a bow prior to recording the album and the song "Over Down Ampney" definitely needed the tone of a double bass, so I had to learn how to play bowed bass.

Probably the biggest challenge was recording the Hammond; that is a real Hammond C3 that is upstairs in our living room and we needed to throw my family out of the house every time we needed to record.

I found that the album passed the motorcycle test for me. I was able to put it on and go out for a very long ride and enjoyed every minute of both the ride and the album.

Q – "Remember" is a collection of your songs and covers of songs by other artists. How did you go about choosing what songs to cover? Are these artists that have influenced you musically?

Each artist definitely has influenced me in some way, either emotionally, musically, or both. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and "Sympathy For the Devil" have been two of my favorite songs for years and ones I definitely wanted to include.
In fact, they were the first scratch tracks that were laid down. Regarding, "Blue On Black," I've always wanted an arrangement that had a Hammond tying it together.
Regarding the other covers, I knew I wanted to include a Toad The Wet Sprocket song and a Tom Petty song. I had initially thought about Toad the Wet Sprocket's "Walk On the Ocean" and Petty's "Wildflowers" and then realized that I needed to reach for deeper cuts.
"Little Man Big Man" by TTWS is a song that has deep personal meaning for me and is really only known by Toad fans and is a concert favorite. "Climb That Hill Blues" by Tom Petty was only released on "Wildflowers & All the Rest" and gets no radio airplay whatsoever.

Whichever covers I picked, I wanted to be able to know that I had put my stamp on them and not just played them note for note. I feel I did that.
Q – I understand that your arrangement of  "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" you had in your head for 30 years. What did you attempt to do with the song? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment to finally put your version of the song out there?

As you can probably guess from the intro and solo, there was a lot of influence from the Guns 'n' Roses version, which introduced me to the song. But I wanted to bring in a bit more of my folk influences, as well as that underlying Hammond that ties the song together. So...very much my spin and one that needed a solo approach to do.
QAs far as the album's title, "Remember," is it a reference to both remembering the songs of other artists as well as your own songs?

The song "Remember Me" was the last song written for the album and was actually written close to the end. There is a theme to the songs that were chosen, meant to reflect a "moving on" and reclaiming what I've done personally and the lyrics in a lot of the songs reflect that theme.
For me, it's remembering what you should be and wanted to be, not what others wanted to make you.

Q – Will you be performing songs from the album live? 

I did a few songs from the album at a music convention in Ohio at the time of the album's release and hope to be performing this summer as a solo artist and with a new band.

Q – Are you already working on your second solo album?

I am very much working on a second album. My producer and I decided we wanted to create another band together, based on the work that I did on his solo album and the work he did on mine.
So the trick right now is when I'm writing to decide whether the music is for the new band or for my own album. Right now I'm in the songwriting phase, not the recording phase, although I might start laying down tracks soon.