Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Best Damn Songs Most People Never Heard

by

comment

An honest aberration in an imperfect world, folk artist Jim Post sings songs hard enough to trigger most of the memories inside them and, like banjo whiz Stephen Wade, he pays regular homage to his mentors and colleagues. In his long-running hit Galena Rose Post used ballads and anecdotes to restore an Illinois river town to bustling 19th-century life. In this warm tribute to two departed friends and balladeers, Stan Rogers and Steve Goodman, Post reprises some "lost jewels in the treasure chest of pop culture." Rogers, who died in a plane crash at the age of 34, was a burly, hard-drinking Canadian troubadour whose populist ballads celebrate, among other original subjects, the quest for the Northwest Passage (sung here in a rousing a cappella), the voyages of whales ("Black Fish"), even the resilience of an aging woman ("Lines").

Goodman, who also died young (of the leukemia that had plagued him since he was 21), was one of Chicago's best-loved folksingers. His fun-loving fare pillories the Lincoln Towing "Pirates" and white-bread crooners ("Chicken Cordon Blues"); as Post proves, Goodman's more personal songs "manage to mean as much to you as they did to him." Along with his dazzling guitar and his equally melodious tale spinning, Post brings a ton of heart to "My Old Man" and "Would You Like to Learn to Dance?" Mostly he shares the joy of making music, a gift Rogers and Goodman left to anyone who sings their songs. Centre East Studio Theatre, 7701 N. Lincoln, Skokie, 708-673-6300. Through March 21: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 2 PM. $12.

Add a comment