John Oates

John Oates

Photo by Philip Murphy

Music fans with a fondness for Americana sounds, roots grooves and bluegrass-tinged tunes would have been in their glory during John Oates' recent concert at The Old Town School of Folk Music.

Oates, one half of the Grammy-winning duo Hall & Oates, brought his solo show to the stage Thursday at Maurer Hall at Chicago's Old Town School. Oates, who is touring in support of his latest Thirty Tigers release "Arkansas," performed a 90-minute show filled with plenty of songs from the album as well as a few surprise selections from the Hall & Oates catalogue.

"Arkansas," which was recorded in Nashville, is filled with tunes that blend roots, bluegrass, Delta blues and Dixie sounds.

The singer/guitarist began the intimate show with "Lord Send Me" and then launched into the 1921 song "Anytime."

Oates often spoke to the audience during the show as he talked about the history of the songs and the making of the album. He explained that the album started as a tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, who has long been one of his idols.

During the show, Oates was backed by The Good Road Band, made up of three musicians. Though Oates told the audience he was battling a cold, he and his fellow musicians offered a strong performance of outstanding tunes.

It was interesting as well as entertaining to hear the background of the songs from Oates, who describes himself as a "music history buff."

Among songs on the playlist were "Miss the Mississippi," "Dig Back Deep" "Lose It in Louisiana," "Pallet Soft and Low" and the charming "Let Him Come to You."

Oates also performed an energetic Reggae version of Hall & Oates' "Maneater," which he explained was the original style he had envisioned and actually written the song in. Another Hall & Oates favorite on the roster was the hit "You Make My Dreams Come True."

For more information on Oates' upcoming solo shows and the new album "Arkansas," visit This summer, Hall & Oates will be touring with the band Train. Find more information on that tour at

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Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.