Eddie Kirkland | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Eddie Kirkland


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe



One of the more embarrassing moments of my journalistic career occurred when I touted guitarist Eddie Kirkland for his nonstop, high-energy performances, only to have him show up, sit in a chair, and play moody blues ballads and low-key shuffles all night--which is to say that Kirkland is both a supremely gifted and refreshingly unpredictable bluesman. Famous for his dynamic spectrum of tones, erratic tunings, and explosive barrages interspersed with metallic chording, he's equally comfortable with the more subtle emotional ranges of postwar blues traditionalism. But Kirkland is not just a talented player, he's also a consummate showman--for years he was known as the only bluesman who could play and run full tilt at the same time. At his most raucous, Kirkland, who came of age in Detroit in the 40s and early 50s, sometimes seems as if he's straining to approximate the intensity many of his Chicago counterparts summon with less apparent effort. But at his best he's a riveting performer capable of fusing emotional honesty, musical dexterity, and all-night-boogie endurance into a seamless and satisfying whole. Saturday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452. DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom McPherson.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →