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Thu Aug 27 2015

A Disciple Takes On His Church: An Interview with Sir the Baptist


Anybody who has been baptized knows that the church is more than an institution. It's a culture. And like every culture, it too has its rebels. From Al Green to Jennifer Hudson, many of rhythm-and-blues' greatest voices have been disciples of gospel gone secular. But fewer are those rebels that try to embrace both the virtuous and hedonistic in equal measure.

In that effort, Chicago's own Sir the Baptist, born Sir William James Stokes, has few predecessors. And often times in his music, while attempting to bridge the gap between his past as a preacher's kid from Bronzeville and his future as a rocketing rhythm-and-blues star, Stokes' knowingly contradicts himself. Perhaps that's why when I ask if he considers his music "church music" he replies,"It is and it isn't." Or when I ask him if he thinks his music belongs to the gospel or rhythm-and-blues genre he says, "both" and then explains further ...

"What we've done in music is compartmentalize our lives so much so that we don't even know who we are. I have people who were brought up in the church that sing with me on my albums because they know I'm singing the truth, but they won't perform with me in concert because they don't want to be associated with challenging the church."

With that statement, the purpose of Stokes' music crystallizes. This music man is on a mission to reveal the hypocrisies that are inherent to any kind of life spent adhering to a restrictive dogma, which in Stokes' case is Christianity. But Stokes cannot shake his halo, nor does he feel like he has to. "I'd say I'm spiritual, bot not religious. Or if I am religious, I'm religiously free." By which he means, he tries to be the same person on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning. And then he goes home to write music about the complexities of being an old-school preacher's kid in a modern world to tantalizing effect.

So far that quest has brought forth two immaculate and inundating singles, "Creflo (Almighty) Dollar" and "Raise Hell" and more is on the way. Stokes recently finished recording his first album, PK, and the groundswell around him continues to build. To find out what all the fuss is about, check out Sir the Baptist on September 2nd at Jerry's in Wicker Park. The show has a $10 cover, is 21+, and starts at 9 pm.

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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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