Fletcher Rockwell, Kevin Prchal and the Wheeling Birds

Fri, Nov 22 2019, 8:00pm - $10 - Tickets

Doors open at 7 pm.

Fletcher Rockwell's latest release, Help Me Get Better, finds the band conjuring the soulful spirit of a bygone era, when classic anthems like ‘’American Girl’’ and ‘’Born to Run’’ ruled radio airwaves across the nation with big hooks, sparkling harmonies and stellar musicianship. In the first single off the new record, the title cut ‘’Help Me Get Better’’, the group deftly blend the garage-rock rush of early Strokes with the anthemic swagger of classic Springsteen.

Given their penchant for playing modern roots-country hits like ‘’Tennessee Whiskey’’ and ‘’Chicken Fried’’, the band sears some Nashville-tinged flavor into deeper cuts ‘’Lullaby’’ and ‘’Falling Apart’’. They certainly aren’t afraid to dial it back, either - the group’s mellow folky side shines through in the Laurel Canyon sparkle of ‘’Friend or Enemy’’ and the introspective soul-searcher ‘’I Let You Go’’. Help Me Get Better closes out with the dusty highway swan song ‘’People Talk’’, a reverb-soaked epic reminiscent of Kings of Leon in their most haunting hour.

At first blush, Love & Summer, the third full-length album from Chicago-based singer/songwriter, Kevin Andrew Prchal, is a rollicking celebration of its two titular themes. Radiating romance and whimsy, the album revels in the never-ending present of love; its songs ecstatic and tender, playful and impassioned. Early on, Love & Summer stakes out its territory—a green and blossoming world which Prchal explores with breathless wonder and delight. Musically and lyrically, its mood is pastoral: fiddles and pedal steel mingle with the recurring voices of cicadas, and Prchal draws on a register of natural images to populate its landscape. Yet even while Love & Summer presents an homage to this idealized world, the album is also—perhaps more so—a paean to an evanescent present, where, as Prchal sings, “time will fade like sugar on your tongue.” In this sense, the insistent optimism of Love & Summer is motivated less by the dizzy raptures of love than by a hard-won awareness of the fleetingness of things and a determination to remain focused on the here-and-now of real human connection.

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