Reviews of new music by 3 acts coming to Chicago: Elle King, Rosanne Cash and Kurt Vile
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Elle King, ‘Shake the Spirit’
Writing and recording “Shake the Spirit,” the follow-up to her 2015 debut “Love Stuff,” which featured the hit “Ex’s and Oh’s,” helped Elle King get through a tough year that left her in a deep depression.
She had eloped in 2016 with Andrew Ferguson, whom she’d met just weeks before. A year later, she announced on Instagram they’d split.
Recording some of the new songs, she started crying. But King mostly keeps things lighthearted here. She jokes about a certain sexual act in “It Girl,” calls out a cheating ex by admitting her own infidelity on “Man’s Man” and offers up her own crying-in-your-beer country blues song on “Sober,” when she promises “I’ll fix it all when I’m sober.”
The album ends on a redemptive note with “Little Bit of Lovin.’ ” She originally wrote the lyrics as, “There ain’t no more lovin’ left in this heart of mine” but changed that to: “I still got a little bit of lovin’ left in me.”
Rosanne Cash, ‘She Remembers Everything’
Rosanne Cash brings in collaborators including T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, Sam Phillips, Lera Lynn and Colin Meloy of the Decemberists.
But there’s no mistaking that “She Remembers Everything” is her show, the sort of lovely, literate work her fans expect.
Cash recorded half of the album at home in New York with husband John Leventhal, her usual producer, and half in Oregon with producer Tucker Martine.
The best song — “Not Many Miles to Go,” a love song to Leventhal produced by Martine — is about a couple who know they have more days behind them than ahead. Yet it’s celebratory and rocks hard.
Kurt Vile ‘Bottle It In’
Kurt Vile co-founded The War on Drugs, then quit for a solo career after the formidable band’s debut album release. Now, he’s out with “Bottle It In,” an accessible, guitar-fueled album.
Vile is inventive throughout the 13 songs, leaning on a lazy lilt of electric guitar to back his playful lyrics. “Check Baby” buzzes as Vile sings about taking the stage and play — Vile at his finest.
The centerpiece is “Bassackwards,” more than nine minutes long, a psychedelic song that shows how Vile says he sees the world.
This should earn Vile new fans and assure longtime followers he’s on top of his game.