Johnny Heartsman | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Johnny Heartsman


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Johnny Heartsman is a member of the post-World War II generation of bluesmen who developed a music of deep emotional intensity fused with soulful tenderness and a working knowledge of both jazz and sophisticated pop. Heartsman's guitar style--mercurial treble runs accented by powerful lower-register accompaniment and featuring his patented "moaning" effect--is one of the most immediately recognizable in blues. His versatility is unparalleled: He excels on keyboards and flute as well as guitar, and is highly respected as a songwriter, arranger, and bandleader. He is also a deeply expressive singer in the sweet Charles Brown tradition. Johnny's articulate, sensitive nature is reflected in the sophisticated imagination he brings to even his most uninhibited party music; the myriad facets of his musical personality should shine even more brightly in the intimacy of a club than they did during his triumphant appearance at the 1986 Chicago Blues Festival. A rare appearance, not to be missed. Tonight and Saturday, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989.

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