This Nashville-based group revels in the clash of disparate conventions. Countrypolitan, classic pop, and mopey folk rock mingle in baroque arrangements that layer pedal steel, horns, keyboards, guitar, and ambling percussion; 1995's How I Quit Smoking even employed a string section arranged by Kathy Mattea collaborator John Mock. The delicate, pretty music stands in stark contrast to Kurt Wagner's tenderly warped lyrics. In a fragile, slightly unsettling warble he paints languid portraits of eternal longing, crushing disappointment, and indignities quietly suffered--the latest record, Hank (Merge), closes with a repetitive little number called "I Sucked My Boss's Dick." (Wagner exhibits little more discretion in his longer narratives.) Despite the fact that saxophonist Deanna Varagona now lives in town and that Wagner spent time here in the 80s, this performance marks Lambchop's long overdue Chicago debut. Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Lambchop, by Dana Thomas.