A Night of Reckoning | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A Night of Reckoning

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This showcase of artists on Nashville's Dead Reckoning Records proves that the DIY spirit can flourish even in Opryland, home of stodgy hit-generating formulas. Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Tammy Rogers, Mike Henderson, and Harry Stinson started the label so they could make their own records and release them independently. (Kane, Welch, and Henderson have all made fine albums for major labels, but they failed to meet Nashville's sales quotas and were summarily dropped from their respective label rosters.) The Dead Reckoning imprint has released three terrific albums this year: Kane's Dead Reckoning is a sweet-voiced, even-keeled honky-tonk romp; Welch's Life Down Here on Earth is an exuberant, literate collection that opens country up, stretching it from Steve Earle-ish twang to Bob Dylan-esque narratives; In the Red, the most breathtaking of the three, is a gorgeously evocative mostly instrumental collection of duets by fiddler Rogers and percussionist Don Heffington, the original drummer in Lone Justice. A new album from Henderson is expected shortly. Since they play on each another's albums they can tour together efficiently; when they played here this past summer they earned excellent notices. Saturday, 10 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118.

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