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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, March 23

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« A First Person Account of Big Freedia at the Empty Bottle, 2/1 Rocking Down to Austin: Chicago at the 2013 SXSW Music Festival »

Preview Tue Feb 05 2013

Preview: Angela James' Country Music Has a Chicago Coolness @ The Hideout 2/7


Photo by Jordan Martins

The bio on Angela James' website reports that she first started learning country music songs off the radio sometime in the '80s, "when country wasn't cool."

That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is proof that it's been a very, very long time since country music was ever "cool". Whatever happened exactly that made country music so uncool--or whether or not it even was cool to begin with--is up for debate, but something definitely happened. Nowadays, it seems like its mostly the "alternative" country music that's holding on the strongest to its own roots.

Angela James' country music is one such example of that. But she incorprates a unique twist of her own that might even be considered "cool"--especially if you're from Chicago and you like your country music fused with the seemingly impossible combination of experimental jazz.

James released her debut EP "Down and Out" last November backed by a band of "musicians from Chicago's jazz, experimental, and country scenes." As such, it features those typically bright steel guitars and the mournful lyrics of classic honky-tonk country, but it's also backed with lush arrangements of gently brushed drums and a surprising electricity. The title track even begins with nothing more than a slow build of atmospheric drone.

Before moving to Chicago, James focused on folk and rock music in other bands, and even some samba and tropicalia during a brief stint in Brazil. But country music seems to have always been in the background. The outside influences definitely seep through on her EP, and the result is a uniquely Chicago kind of country music--one literally built from bits and pieces of Chicago's many music scenes.


Angela James and her band play at The Hideout this Thursday at 9pm. Tickets are $7. The Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia Ave.

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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 »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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