My Brightest Diamond with Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras | Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

My Brightest Diamond with Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Free Member Picks Soundboard

When: Mon., Aug. 8, 6:30 p.m. 2011

The two albums singer-songwriter Shara Worden has released as My Brightest Diamond—2006's Bring Me the Workhorse and 2008's A Thousand Shark's Teeth—are among the strongest, most distinctive pop records I've heard in the past decade. Worden's voice is so spectacular that not even her elaborate, highly dramatic rock arrangements can put it in the shade. Worden, who earned a bachelor's degree in classical vocal performance at the University of North Texas, has such remarkable command of her pitch, dynamics, and phrasing—her delivery used to remind me of Mia Doi Todd's mannered style—that she's able to adapt her nonrock approach flawlessly to indie-pop songs. Recently she's been spending more time with collaborators far removed from the rock world: she made terrific contributions to last year's Penelope (New Amsterdam), an art-song cycle by Sarah Kirkland Snider, and for this show she's partnering with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Worden will be backed by 50 local high school students performing new arrangements by CYSO faculty member Brian Baxter, mostly of songs from the forthcoming My Brightest Diamond album All Things Will Unwind (due October 18 on Asthmatic Kitty). She wrote it for eclectic New York chamber group yMusic—they've provided simpatico support for folks like Bon Iver and Antony & the Johnsons—and it's her strongest record to date, with gorgeous arrangements that masterfully complement her dazzling range. —Peter Margasak

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