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Concert Thu Jul 12 2012

Review: The Shams Band Kicks Off Schubas Monday Night Residency

By Davis Inman

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The Shams Band (photo by Laura Brown)

The Shams Band is kind of like the Chicago alt-rock tradition squeezed into a joyful country-folk setting. On Monday night, the band kicked off their July residency at Schubas with Charleston, South Carolina's Shovels & Rope and Chicago's Jeremy David Miller. The headlining Shams mixed up their set with older tunes and new ones from the just-released Cold City.The hillbilly banjo romp "Travel By Sea," on which Paul Gulyas turns his guitar into something more akin to a skronking Appalachian fiddle, started like a tune straight from the Bill Monroe songbook but ended more in the vein of hardcore.

In a different decade, "Breadwinner" could have been a raunchy Southside blues jam, while the pensive walk-down of "Cause You Can" and its last line ("this whole sad city full of fools, just waiting to be your man") recalls the songwriting from Dylan's Nashville period. The Shams know how to twist a good joke out of a country song — just like Gram Parsons did 40 years ago — but they also have a knack for heartfelt sing-alongs. The album's title track has one line in particular that all Chicagoans should keep dear to their heart next winter: "You dream of California and I dream of Chicago." Kind of says it all for this town.

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Jeremy David Miller (photo by Laura Brown)

First up on Monday's bill was Chicago's Jeremy David Miller. "That's a song, y'all," he summed up succinctly after singing "All I Want To Do Is Dance" with his wife, Rebecca. Other songs, most of which can be found on the 2011 album, Lepus, are lovely high country fare such as "I Don't Blame Him." The Millers could just be Chicago's answer to Johnny and June or Gil and Dave.

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Shovels & Rope (photo by Laura Brown)

The feather in the Shams' cap for these first of four Schubas dates was Shovels & Rope, the rootsy duo that seems to be traversing the country about once a month. Cary Ann Hearst's voice was not in full force on Monday night, though something about a touch of laryngitis made her pipes even more primal, free, and fun. She took the reins on "Kemba's Got The Cabbage Moth Blues," "Gasoline," and "Boxcar" before taking over drums for the Michael Trent-helmed "Keeper."

Stay dialed for next Monday night, when Chicago's Derek Nelson and Elephant Gun join the party.

Upcoming The Shams Band shows at Schubas:

7/16 with Derek Nelson & The Musicians and Elephant Gun

7/23 with Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes and Young Jesus

7/30 with Archie Powell & The Exports and Young Hines

Each Monday night show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $6. 21+ Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport Ave.

 
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jeanne marino / July 14, 2012 3:35 PM

The Shams Band is rocking the music world! They have such an amazing sound, so freeing and refreshing they make you want to rush the stage and dance the night away. Great stress reliever! Love the Shams Band.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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