Monte Warden | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Nominally a rockabilly artist, Monte Warden is most frequently compared to Buddy Holly, and both that influence and that of the Everly Brothers are unmistakable on his self-titled 1993 solo debut on Watermelon Records. The former frontman for the Austin-based Wagoneers, Warden follows an energetic pop-rock 'n' roll path, the one Holly himself was blazing at the time of his death. Warden's also a modern guy who occasionally dips into pop-inflected white soul of the early Hall and Oates variety. The main spin, however, is around the 60s radio dial, where Warden absorbs everything from Tommy James and the Shondells to the fabricated Archies rubbing elbows with the comeback Elvis. Warden sings with a high, wistful sincerity, though a duet with superior vocalist Kelly Willis serves to point out his weak links. As with much of his music, his lyrics are a throwback to an earlier time, when pledges of fidelity and belief in a one true love for every boy and girl were common themes. As stupid and naive as that sounds in the age of irony, Warden actually pulls a lot of it off, making such sentiments seem like viable possibilities. Saturday, 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 525-2508.

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

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