Uncle Earl Brings Girl Power to Chicago
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 21, 2008 7:49PM
And you thought the Spice Girls had all the fun? Portland, Oregon's Uncle Earl, an all-woman string band, knows how have a good time banging out the bluegrass and old-time music. Closer to The Be Good Tanyas or The Yonder Mountain String Band than anything to do with Mrs. David Beckham, the ladies (or "g'Earls") of Uncle Earl have been touring in support of their latest release, Waterloo, Tennessee, produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.
Shifting effortlessly from lovely ballads like "My Little Carpenter" to old-time ho-downs like "Streak o' Lean, Streak o' Fat" -- which features dance instructions shouted in Mandarin -- Uncle Earl displays impressive range. Formed in 2000, the band now has two EPs and three full-lengths to their name and have toured both the U.S. and Europe relentlessly, hitting numerous festivals and building up an avid fan-base ("g'Earlfriends") through positive word-of-mouth. They last visited Chicago at the 2007 Chicago Roots & Folk Fest where they had most of the large crowd out of their lawn chairs and on their feet. Their invigorating live shows feature the band running through their own catalog as well as covers of other artists and traditional material, and even some clogging. The ladies use mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, and even hand claps to keep the momentum chugging throughout.
So grab your straw hat, your boots, and your flask of moonshine, and head on down to Schubas for a romping show. With all the dancing, you won't have any trouble staying warm.
Uncle Earl plays Schubas on January 23, at 8 p.m., $16 in advance, $18 at the door, 21+
Photo via the band's MySpace page