Chely Wright & Alice Peacock - 9/11/19Wednesday, September 11 2019 6:00 PM Doors / 8:00 PM Start / Ends 10:00 PM (ESTIMATED ENDING TIME)
- Front Premier
Chely Wright & Alice Peacock - 9/11/19
at City Winery Chicago
- 6:00 PM
- 8:00 PM
- 10:00 PM (ESTIMATED ENDING TIME)
Chely Wright rose to fame as a commercial country singer in the 90’s, and has since released eight studio albums and charted more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. The Academy of Country Music named Wright "Top New Female Vocalist of 1995." Her first hit came in 1997 with “Shut Up and Drive” followed two years later by her first number one single, “Single White Female,” and in 2005 "The Bumper of My S.U.V.” In 2010, Chely Wright released her eighth album, Lifted Off the Ground produced by Rodney Crowell, revealing a dramatic artistic transformation and emerging as a singer songwriter of the first order.
Chely made history by being the first country music star to publicly come out as gay, which she revealed in her 2010 memoir entitled “Like Me.” That same year Wright founded The LIKEME® Organization, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance, resources and education to LGBT individuals and their family & friends, as well as founding The LIKEME® Lighthouse, an education and community center for gay youth in Chely's hometown of Kansas City, MO.
In 2016, Wright released her latest critically-acclaimed studio album entitled I Am The Rain, produced by Joe Henry-produced and praised by Rolling Stone as a "real triumph," noting "Wright tempers the darker themes on her album with character-driven story songs whether inspired by her years as a touring musician or springing from her vivid imagination.” The Bluegrass Situation noted that “the album's quiet confidence showcases what is probably the truest side of [Wright]."
The end of 2018 saw the release of the holiday EP Santa Will Find You, which No Depression called the "warmest, most-family oriented" of recent holiday records. Chely will release a new Americana EP entitled Revival in May of 2019.
Much has changed for Alice Peacock since 2009’s Love Remains. She’s had three kids, moved to Cincinnati — and gotten 10 years older. “Feel the weight of the world on my shoulders/ Am I wiser or am I just older?” she sings on “Dry Spell,” from her new collection, Minnesota. The record suggests that despite her “wondering what all is yet to be,” she has indeed attained a measure of wisdom.
She uses the word “midlife” but does not follow it by “crisis.” She views her current outlook more as an awareness of life’s fragility and an appreciation of its sweetness. “Being a parent, I don’t know that I could love any more than I do right now,” she says, “so I’ve also never been more vulnerable. I have everything to lose.”
On Minnesota Peacock explores an understanding of love, in particular, that transcends hearts and flowers, Sturm und Drang. “Resting in the Quiet” acknowledges “a glimpse of the divine” in unspoken eloquence: “We don’t have to talk about it/ We don’t have to say a word/ We can wrap ourselves in silence/ Cause I’ve already heard/ Everything your eyes are saying.”
A departure from romantic love, “Free and Wild” is a lullaby sung from the viewpoint of someone “with a love so fierce” it hurts. Peacock likens parenthood to “going through life with your heart outside your body.”
The album’s title track is a love song to her home state. “As soon as I get back to Minnesota and hear the birds and smell the air,” she says, “I feel, ‘This is mine; this is me.’” In the song she recalls sitting in “sacred silence,” watching “the electric light show playing wide across the sky.”
The song “Minnesota” was written in 2018, but some of the album Minnesota was written in 2015, the year Peacock took the third annual Real Women Real Songs challenge – which meant writing 52 songs in 52 weeks. Among them were “Resting in the Quiet,” “Free and Wild” and “Paranoid.” Their appearance on the new record reflects the songwriter’s love of – and commitment to – songwriting itself.
Peacock credits Grammy-winning producer/keyboardist Phil Madeira, guitarist Will Kimbrough, bassist Chris Donahue and drummer Bryan Owings – aka Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Boys – for helping her realize her vision of Minnesota: “I got a call. They said, ‘Hey, we’re in town if you want to do some recording.’ And I said, ‘Why, yes, I do.’” The town was Nashville, where Peacock and the Boys cut basic tracks in four days.
Now that she’s done having babies, she intends to return to the studio at regular intervals. “When all the focus was on me, on my music, I’d think, ‘I’m looking forward to putting the focus on something else; I’m really tired of thinking about myself.’ These days, as much as it possibly can be, the focus is back on my work.”
Which also means she’s back on the road, savoring the blessed, evanescent connection with fans she and they can only experience live.
“Things feel especially precious to me at this time in my life,” Peacock confides. “You reach an age where you begin to lose people. The beautiful moments we have, like being out in nature up in Minnesota – ‘the moon waxing over the water, the loon calling to her lover’ – I keep telling myself, ‘Take it in because this is it.’”