Tuesday, February 22, 2011

17 Feb 11

...sometimes Father's do know best... ~ Riley Etheridge Jr

Hey, blogspot readers, it's a beautiful night for a special On The Town review. SouthSide's enjoying an intimate acoustic performance by Riley Etheridge Jr (from NY) at Uncommon Ground. Immediately she liked the warm and friendly atmosphere from the staff of this unique restaurant/venue that greeted her upon arriving. The rustic feel (complete with fireplace in the middle dining area) and painted water-colored portraits of Chicago's famous landmarks certainly added to the atmosphere for tonight's performance. And though not there to sample the menu, this reviewer does plan to return again for a special "date".

With Widdell Tilley accompanying him throughout his double Uncommon Double set, Riley Etheridge Jr created a magical music atmosphere never experienced by this reviewer. The intimacy of the surroundings had set the perfect stage for this artist while also creating that singer/songwriter tone for the audience. This was one of the best acoustic performances ever reviewed by SouthSide, thus far, in which Riley combined the rich sounds of Blues to Louisiana Zydeco and Country/Western with his acoustic music. The switch between genres throughout the set kept the audience attentively immersed within the lively acoustic sound ...this reviewer imagines it's probably even livelier with the full band backing him.

Performing his current album, Things I Used To Know, as well as upcoming new one, Powder Keg, SouthSide felt the lively energy buzzing all around the room from each song. There wasn't a single moment when her foot didn't stop tapping along to the rhythmic beat ...or basking in the glow of the interesting tales behind some of her favorite songs (i.e. Scene of the Crime, off Powder Keg album). She was thoroughly amazed how Riley's songs off the new album, Powder Keg (to be released March 8) translated quite well into an acoustic format. For example, the title track - Powder Keg, popped with life within the Zydeco feel in the music even though the recorded version featured a rockin' horn section adding some cajun spice to this song. It was the same way while performing Northeast Texas Women (his homage to Willis Alan Ramsey that might give you the urge to do a Texas two-step to this song) and She's Ready Already (SouthSide wholeheartedly believes this song was written especially for her since it perfectly describes the typical scene before hitting a long night around town).

Besides the music, SouthSide also enjoyed how Riley painted a vivid picture wonderfully expressed from the lyrics via his voice. She could visualize the images, for example, of the elderly couple dancing that mean salsa which in fact inspired Riley to write the song, Still Dance ...the tenderness of a woman's love for her man despite his flaws and mistakes heard in Nobody's Hero (off new album Powder Keg) ...or exposing ourselves without any barriers and egos in Nothing To Hide (also off Powder Keg). Riley's songs also tackled such other personal subjects like love/relationships (He Said She Said and Empty Hands - new song) as well as fatherly advice about accepting the choices we constantly make in life (Fork In The Road) and the folly of being so young and careless (Arrogance Of Youth). SouthSide had a fun "road trip" visitng King City (off Riley's first album, Things I Used To Know) with this artist. It was the way his voice would breathe life into the words thus making his songs pop with such realistic imagery which made them so enjoyable. This reviewer liked his profound cover of Tom Petty's Free Falling that brought out more heartfelt emotions from the words than it's original rock/alternative version. His Jimmy Reed blues cover was another fine example of Riley's versatility between genres featuring a much deeper vocal falsetto range for this particular song.

Overall, SouthSide had a delightful time experiencing the music vivid storytelling by Riley Ehteridge Jr that she hopes makes return visit to Chicago again ...soon. This reviewer highly recommends visiting http://www.rileyetheridge.com or http://wwww.myspace.com/rileyetheridge for information about this artist and when he's coming to a venue near you. Also on March 8, grab your copy of his new album Powder Keg!

SouthSide's night on the town included one more performance, blogspot readers, which took her downtown Chicago for Scott Hutchinson's acoustic performance. A member of Frightend Rabbit (from Scotland), this artist was in town performing at Vic Theatre with an extra performance at the "new" Angels & Kings. Despite arriving in time to catch the few remaining minutes of his set, SouthSide thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic power of his voice. He expressively pumped heartfelt emotions as well as passion into each song like I Feel Better and Living Colour thus fueling a lively and favorable response from the crowd. There was spontaneous energy ...excitement amidst his acoustic sound that had fans wanting more of Scott's enchanting falsetto storytelling style. This singer/songwriter did grant an encore by performing Keep Yourself Warm as many voices joined him until the very end, blogspot readers. Scott promised his loyal fans his return to Chicago with the band in the fall but in the meantime, visit Frightened Rabbit at http://www.wearefrightenedrabbit.com or http://www.myspace.com/frightenedrabbit for more tour dates information and music.

Until next time, support your local scene,


  1. Sorry I missed this one. Sounds like a bonus night.
    I'll catch them in NYC. Thoughtful review. Funny, I saw myself in that "she's ready already" song too : )

    (btw, it's "King City "not "Kino City"--an easy typo, but thought you'd like to know.)

  2. Southside,

    Uncommon Ground sounds like a nice place to go hang out. I should Google map and find it. Thanks for the heads up.


    PS: Your reviews isn't just about finding new musicians you know. ;-)


Thank you for your feedback - SouthSide