NRBQ, Sanctified Grumblers | FitzGerald’s | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

NRBQ, Sanctified Grumblers Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Sat., Aug. 27, 9 p.m. 2011

Earlier this summer NRBQ released its first new album in seven years, Keep This Love Goin' (Clang!), but astute observers will recognize the lineup as the Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet, with Chicago-based guitarist Scott Ligon, bassist Pete Donnelly, and drummer Conrad Choucroun—keyboardist Adams is the only previous NRBQ member involved. The old NRBQ went on hiatus in 2004 and played a reunion show in 2007, but since then it's ceased to exist. This March Adams revealed the reason for the hiatus: he'd been diagnosed with stage-four throat cancer. By the time he had a clean bill of health again, his bandmates had moved on; in 2007 he formed his quartet, then waited four more years to reclaim the NRBQ name. Though the new group plays material from throughout NRBQ's history, I sure hope they don't neglect the new record, which is full of songs that celebrate enduring love, from "Boozoo and Leona" (a touching portrait of zydeco accordionist Boozoo Chavis and his wife) to the title track (one of several Beach Boys-flavored pop nuggets that fall just this side of corny). Despite the prevalence of pure pop, Adams gets in some of his trademark jazz licks—he accents the sweet hook of Ligon's "My Life With You" with chromatic stabs and comping straight out of the Thelonious Monk playbook, and he takes a Brubeck-ish solo on a version of the 30s pop hit "Gone With the Wind" (the only song here that doesn't end happily). This new NRBQ has a ways to go before it equals the resilience and range of the original lineup, which lasted nearly four decades with only a few roster changes, but it's off to a more than auspicious start. —Peter Margasak The Sanctified Grumblers open.

Price: $15

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