Like sports, popular music has its share of legends and all-stars, and is also choc full of support players who don’t get the recognition but are as worthy of the household named greats they backed.
And where the all stars, from the Rolling Stones to Beyonce, make their way into town with much press and fanfare, the supporting greats tend to make their rounds a little quieter, but heralded with as much fervor as the greats by those in the know.
Save for Americana fans in the know and voracious liner notes readers, Buddy Miller isn’t the first name that comes to mind when it comes to lighting up marquees, but his pedigree on stages and in studios is stellar.
Over the decades, he has collaborated, as musician, producer or songwriter, with the varied likes of Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Steve Earle, John Fogerty, Patty Griffin and Dolly Parton – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Two years ago, he added a Grammy to his mantle for his behind-the-boards work for Griffin’s “Downtown Church,” which took home the Best Traditional Gospel Trophy.
Active in Nashville for decades with a handful of acclaimed sets released in his own right and with wife Julie Miller, last year saw the release of “Buddy & Jim,” a collaboration with fellow acclaimed musician and songsmith Jim Lauderdale.
Following Miller and Lauderdale to Chicago four days later is Charlie Musselwhite, who is to ardent blues fans what Miller is to Americana/Alt Country aficionados.
Reared in Mississippi, harmonica extraordinaire Musselwhite made his way to the Windy City in the `60s, where he performed alongside legends of the genre such as Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Sunny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf. Elected into the Blues Hall of Fame three years ago, Musselwhite has released more than two dozen sets on his own over the course of the last four decades-plus.
Last month saw the release of “Get Up!” a collaboration between Musselwhite and Ben Harper, which has seen the elder statesman receiving some of the best reviews and exposure of his career.
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, 8 p.m. Feb. 27, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. $25 (21 and older). FYI: (773) 525-2501, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, 8 p.m. March 3, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave., Chicago. $49 (18 and older show). FYI: (773) 275-6800, JAMUSA.COM.
ON SALE NOW
For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
J.D. McPherson, April 19, Metro (METROCHICAGO.COM)
Garbage, April 3, Riviera Theater (JAMUSA.COM)
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Joe Walsh, April 6, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Scott Weiland, March 19, House of Blues (HOB.COM)
Mavericks, April 4, Park West (JAMUSA.COM)
John Medeski, April 11, Old Town School of Folk Music (OLDTOWNSCHOOL.ORG)
Train, Gavin DeGraw, Script, July 21, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Michael Nesmith, April 6, Old Town School of Folk Music (OLDTOWNSCHOOL.ORG)
Man or Astro-Man?. June 14-15, Empty Bottle (21 and older, EMPTYBOTTLE.COM)