James King Band, Eric Lambert | American Legion Hall | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

James King Band, Eric Lambert Recommended All Ages Soundboard

When: Fri., June 5, 8 p.m. 2009

One of the greatest vocalists in contemporary bluegrass, Virginia’s James King excels at bringing the flavor and twang of honky-tonk to mountain music, but that’s not the only way he’s demonstrated how accommodating the genre’s traditional framework can be. He’s also covered folk tunes by the likes of Fred Eaglesmith and David Olney—in the process branching out from bluegrass’s usual subject matter to sing about things like losing a farm or ending up in a nursing home—and last year’s Gardens in the Sky (Rounder) is an all-gospel record that collects five new recordings, an older outtake, and a dozen previously issued gems. Even an atheist ought to be able appreciate this music’s beauty: King’s powerful singing bridges the gap between raw mountain soul and country sweetness, and he always leads a crack band whose members can harmonize with him perfectly. Eric Lambert opens. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20, $15 seniors and children

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