FOLK | Kevin Warwick
The Old Town School of Folk Music is a beloved Chicago institution, but it's not resting on its laurels: construction is almost complete on a new OTS building across the street—really, right across the street—from the current 4544 N. Lincoln location. Doors open for classes on Mon 1/9, and the first concert in the building's 2,100-square-foot Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall is Fri 1/13: a "Global Dance Party" with Swing Brasileiro and Old Town Samba School. Tickets for concerts booked through May are on sale now.
In other OTS news, the school has combined the four digital compilations it released this summer into a 127-song, download-only "box set" called Live From the Old Town School. It's available through CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon—on CD Baby it's $100 (oddly, the four comps cost $16.97 apiece), but that doesn't seem too steep for what's essentially ten CDs of music. The songs are drawn from more than five decades of folk, blues, bluegrass, gospel, and world-music concerts, almost all at OTS locations. Colby Maddox, archivist and director of the school's resource center, oversaw the project—which involved procuring grant money and clearing the rights to the songs with 85 artists, among them Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Guy Clark, Andrew Bird, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Mahalia Jackson, and Oumou Sangare. Expect more OTS treasures in the years to come.