Three of today’s brightest new songwriters team up for a tour, and some collaborative tunes | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Music » Concert Preview

Three of today’s brightest new songwriters team up for a tour, and some collaborative tunes

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus are three singer-songwriters who have each made an impact in the music world in just the past couple of years, particularly with their recent solo releases Turn Out the Lights, Stranger in the Alps, and Historian, respectively. While Baker’s instrumentals—usually sparse figures on a chordal instrument—are mellow and minimal, her voice is a powerful force that often transforms into a melodic yell. Bridgers’s music is similar in that it is also an ethereal assortment of mollified, simple layers, but her lyrics are typically more narrative than Baker’s. Dacus’s songs tend to be louder and more musically upbeat than the other two, and focus on a typical live-rock sound. Despite these differences in approach, Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus find common ground in their lyrical themes, which frequently deal with mental-health concerns, heartbreak, and assorted tribulations. The musicians have long had a mutual respect and admiration, and after booking a tour together, they began writing together as a supergroup of sorts too. The brand-new self-titled EP of their project, Boygenius, shows a true synthesis of their solo work that takes advantage of the personal and aesthetic similarities of its creators. Through its six songs they convey like-minded thoughts and tales over gut-wrenching three-part harmonies and multiple distinctive guitar tracks. In just 21 minutes, Boygenius has a beautiful arc that builds to a startling, immense energy in the penultimate track, “Salt in the Wound,” before closing out with the stark, folky “Ketchum, ID.” Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus are all sensitive, thoughtful artists on their own, and Boygenius proves they can maintain those qualities while stepping outside of their own creative processes to work with others—their individual voices bubble up now and then, but they ultimately meld together harmoniously. It’s the start of something new that hopefully will continue while the three songwriters also pursue their solo careers. These two sold-out shows at Thalia Hall will feature a shorter opening set from Dacus and two full solo sets from Baker and Bridgers—plus a possible trio encore featuring Boygenius material.   v

Add a comment