Rosalie Sorrels | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Rosalie Sorrels

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Like jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan, folksinger Rosalie Sorrels can make you feel she's touched life so deeply--and paid her dues so courageously--that she is as personally inspiring as the artistry she brings to her music. The sly sophistication of her vocal phrasing--a countrified fusion of Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline laid over dreamily melancholy acoustic strumming--be- speaks an adventurousness that both embraces and transcends western folk roots; meanwhile her reedy Idaho twang brings a sense of sturdy realism to even the most complex material. Sorrels refuses to shy away from the despairing or the politically incorrect; in fact she seems to find hope, and even redemption, by embracing the very contradictions and torments that less courageous commentators might avoid. She draws from a wide spectrum--everything from traditional prairie ballads to beatlike meditations on contemporary urban despair--and through it all she graces the listener with a rare sense of power, dignity, and hard-won optimism. Friday, 8 PM, Mont Clare Congregational Church, 6935 W. Medill; 728-7409 or 889-8174.

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

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