A Couple of Good Kids
By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on May 2, 2006 6:16PM
Chicagoist has long held that it’s important to separate the artist from the art; some of the best musicians make lousy human beings (Chuck Berry, take a bow!). But lately, we keep stumbling upon two artists who seem like lovely people you could bring home to Mom.
Chicago’s own Aware Records seems to be cornering the market on what we’re calling the Nice Young Man movement, with a roster including Kyle Riabko, John Mayer, Five For Fighting and Mat Kearney, who released his full-length Nothing Left To Lose last month.
We’re not sure if Kearney’s music has made it onto a WB show or not yet, but it’s crying out to be the backdrop to a really romantic episode of “Everwood.” Kearney is an earnest dude (“Undeniable”) who wants to be your forever lover (“Chicago”) and romance you while you road trip around the country (“Nothing Left To Lose”). But it’s on “Undeniable” that Kearney starts to reveal some shading that sets him apart from all those other boys. His spirituality is front and center on the track as he busts some flow that proves there may be room for one more white rapper in the world.
Then there’s Katherine Schell. Just barely old enough to drink in the bars she’s playing in, the Loyola University student is making music to have a spa day by, at least according to this press release, which is just in time for Mother’s Day. But as long as we’re looking at press releases, it’s also worth mentioning that Schell is earning praise for her songwriting through Billboard’s World Songwriting contest (for tracks off her Emptier Streets album) and as VH1’s 2005 International Songwriter of the Year in the adult contemporary category.
Schell began composing music as an emotional release during her brother’s battle with leukemia. Working with her band The Emergency, she’s created a mellow, piano-driven sound with an electronic, ambient bent. She’ll be appearing next at Spot 6 in Wrigleyville on May 13th.
Kearney and Schell aren’t creating the soundtrack to a revolution, but it’s always helpful to have something to put on when your parents are around the apartment.