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How do pull off a successful record release event with out a physical record in the building to release? Well, you start by inviting two of the best singer/songwriters in Chicago to set the tone, and then you perform with a high amount of passion, warmth, and energy.
This past Saturday Venna celebrated the release of their new album Third Generation Hymnal, but their physical vinyl albums were accidentally shipped to Iowa. Only 300 were made (in Red, Teal, and Black) and you can order a copy here.
The show kicked off with Brendan Losch who released Low this past year. He was accompanied by multi-instrumentalist John Morton who at one point was playing the sides of the keys of his glockenspiel with two cello bows! He also saved the day a bit with a fun round of Catch Phrase when Losch was having some technical difficulties. Despite the difficulties, Losch performed a solid set scoured with songs new and old. The set kicked off with my all-time favorite Losch song, "Now of Never" from 2008's Until We Meet Again. Losch clearly has a voice and a style of songwriting that should have him on a much larger stage.
Speaking of need for a larger stage, Kevin Andrew Prchal is another extremely underrated local singer/songwriter who has quietly been crafting a tremendous songbook over the last several years. His debut album, Eat Shirt & Tie has been floating around for a couple of years but was rereleased in a way this past fall. Prchal was on stage with a full band, and at two seperate moments was joined by members of Venna, and it was great to hear his classic soulful quieter tracks, like "Terrified!" and "Another Fool", brought to life in a fuller way. What really caught my ear was the bands new tracks that will hopefully be on a 2013 release. These tracks were clearly written for this collection of musicians and brought a full rich Americana sound. An easy comparison might be Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.
The night's headliner was the husband/wife lead band Venna who is driven by the warmth and emotion in lead singer Heather Hladish's vocals. They played classics like "Eulogy" from their very first ep, and highlights from their new album, Third Generation Hymnal. What is so remarkable about Heather's writing is how personal yet universal and meaningful it is. Her songs are about patience, waiting, longing but ultimately, as on the song "Married", contentment. Hopefully we can all be content in our wanting. Despite Heather's voice beginning to go towards the end of their set, Venna gave a wonderful performance to match their equally wonderful debut full-length album.
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