Cathy Richardson Band

Below is taken from and © Chicagoist. The original article can be found here.

Martyrs at Martyrs'

Chicagoist was out at Martyrs’ last night for the launch of the Chicago Music Commission, which kept the focus not so much on the “commission” but on the “music.” The soft-sell approach was probably best considering the crowd of “extras from High Fidelity” (in the word of one Chicagoist writer), ex-hippies and others with nothing better to do on a Tuesday night. It was a night to “solidify the base” as political consultants like to say.

While CMC board members signed up people for the mailing list, emcee Terri Hemmert made plugged their mission of advocacy for Chicago musicians, club owners, and other music industry professionals. Greg Kot expressed cautious optimism about the project in an article last week and noted the strength of the board is in its veteran members like Cathy RichardsonMartyrs’ owner Kate Hill, photographer Paul Natkin, Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer, and Pressure Point recording studio honcho Chris Schneider (who reminded us of Penn Jillette if he had been a roadie for the Grateful Dead). The CMC’s biggest hurdle will be finding a way to work with the city, which has been reluctant (at best) to support the expansion of music outside of already existing clubs. Some of their other goals include developing industry resources for musicians and organizing networking events. In fact, the networking had already begun as we watched a shy Columbia College student drop flyers on the bar for a talent showcase presented by their Record Deal Strategies Class.

But last night was mainly about giving attendees a sampling of why the CMC needs to exist and that came courtesy of local mainstays DJ Maurice Joshua, Lil’ Ed (without his Blues Imperials), Howard Levy, and the Cathy Richardson Band (pictured at right).

No matter what show we go to, there’s always one guy who’s unabashedly rocking out to the music between sets and last night was no exception. While on most nights That Guy stands alone, last night the communal vibe brought him some luck as well as a couple of dance partners. So perhaps that’s more of the networking the CMC’s trying to foster. But the laid-back atmosphere worked against Lil’ Ed and Howard Levy as the crowd was appreciative, but distracted by conversation.

So when headliner Cathy Richardson took the stage, she became the first artist that night to own the stage as she seduced and then broke the crowd’s heart with her too-short set. While comparisons to Lucinda Williams are inevitable, Richardson’s act is not a pose. Like the best musicians, she gives a part of herself every time she performs. The highlight of the evening was her thundering rendition of the Beatles’ “Oh Darling!” with Levy sitting in on keyboards. In fact, it was probably the best advertisement the CMC could hope for: a reminder that the pool of talent in Chicago is wide and ever-present but shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Image: Kim Pace

Posted by Scott Smith in Music
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Copyright © Cash Rich Records