Vance Kelly | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Vance Kelly

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VANCE KELLY

Guitarist Vance Kelly, a stalwart on Chicago's south side for some years, has been making occasional forays north and west, including a torrid appearance at last year's Blues Festival. His repertoire ranges from 12-bar Chicago-blues chestnuts to funky soul and R & B to contemporary postfunk aggression; he's also been experimenting with a rough but promising jump-blues swing. Kelly's current CD, Joyriding in the Subway (Wolf), is funky, street-slick, and passionate. The evocative title tune has all the lusty abandon of hard-living urban youth; "Who Called the Dog Pound" evokes the roots of Chicago blues with its Delta-tinged, fingerpicked descending chord structure, slow-grinding shuffle, and playfully macho story line; "I Can't Win From Losing," a lighthearted lover's complaint, is given substance by the righteous funk of the arrangement and the straight-ahead playing of Kelly and his band. And "I Got a Blues Attitude"--with its echoes of James Brown, the late Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and other funk masters--is an anthem for a new generation of blues artists. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3240 W. Armitage; 773-342-0452. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 PM, Checkerboard Lounge, 423 E. 43rd; 773-624-3240. DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by James Fraher.

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