The Freddy Jones Band – a group born in Chicago during the 1990s and renowned worldwide for their roots-rock jam-heavy performances in the tradition of groups like The Band and The Allman Brothers -- will return to their “home turf” after a long absence for two shows.
The group hits the stage at 9 p.m. Feb. 22 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn. Tickets are $20 (www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com) and then at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 for a strictly acoustic performance ($20-$36 ticket) at Space (1245 Chicago Ave.) in Evanston (www.evanstonspace.com).
In 2000, The Freddy Jones Band went on hiatus. During the 10 previous years of recording and touring, the band had amassed a body of work that included five albums and a reputation for lengthy and energetic live shows that made the quintet a hot commodity on the tape-trader circuit. Now the Freddy Jones Band is back and reminding the world what was so special in the first place.
The group's original lineup—singer-guitarists Wayne Healy, Marty Lloyd and Rob Bonaccorsi, bassist Jim Bonaccorsi and drummer Simon Horrocks—reunited in the summer of 2005 for a charity show in its former home base of Chicago.
The group's latest album, "Time Well Wasted"—its first since 1999's "Mile High Live"—is at once a recap and a step forward. It features 10 tracks recorded live in 2007, reprising favorites such as "Take the Time," "Waitress," "One World" and "In a Daydream," as well as three new songs—"Home Thing," "Contender" and "Empty Room"—written by the Healy and Lloyd team and marking the start of a new era in the group's interrupted history.
"We felt like it was time to put out a new piece of product that had new material and is also deeply rooted in the history of the band—but sounds like today," says Horrocks.
The sessions for the new songs took place in Atlanta, which Healy and Horrocks now call home, and were among the easiest of the group's time together. "Everyone had such an open mind," Lloyd recalls. “We didn't care who was writing, playing or singing. If it was working, we used it. We all accepted each other's support and direction openly and as a team, and I think it shows in the recordings”.
"We're just really enjoying the fact we can play music together again," concluded Horrocks. "And we're really playing better than ever. We've all kind of matured. We've kind of grown into our material in a way. We're like a new band with a long history."
• After rocking the region for 22 years as Southern Justice, the veteran line-up of Jack Decker (vocals/harmonica), Ron Sawyer (drums), Danny O’Bannan (lead guitar), and John Yaney (bass), teamed up last year to back new, young vocalist Jake Decker in the recording studio for a project. Now a year later, the five are galloping together as a live unit as Dark Horse.
Ready to start booking shows, the newly restructured and revitalized group offers up a broad range of cover material (as diverse as Train, Black Keys, Blackfoot, and Travis Tritt), along with some tasty original songs. More: (219) 977-3072.
• Northwest Indiana-rooted band Native -- Bobby Markos (vocals/bass), Ed O'Neil (guitar), Dan Evans (guitar), Nick Glassen (drums) -- have announced a slew of North American live dates beginning later this month, many with post-rock instrumentalists Caspian. The tour brings Native back to Chicagoland on March 14 for a show at The Subterranean.
Native recently finished recording their second full length album with Greg Norman (Russian Circles, Pelican) in Chicago with a mid-summer release planned via Sargent House Records. More at: native.bandcamp.com or www.facebook.com/nativeIN
• Beatles fans up late tonight will want to tune in “The Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” at midnight on 98.1FM – The Lakeshore, to catch Eric Michaels (Paul McCartney) of American English, talking about the band’s history and their globally-acclaimed tribute to The Beatles which hits the stage Saturday at Star Plaza Theatre.