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John Kimsey's original songs twist the roots, drawing on homegrown Southern music styles to map the highways, byways and lowdown dirty ways of contemporary American politics and culture. Singer/guitarist Kimsey's comrades in this effort are Lia McCoo (vocals, flutes, percussion), Morry Fiddler (keyboards), Steve Hashimoto (bass), and Brad Newton (congas, percussion) -- aka the Twisted Roots Quartet. Their unique blend of soulful stylings, spiky wit and acid Americana has been described as "Ry Cooder meets Robyn Hitchcock." The group first came together in 2003 to perform Kimsey's award-winning song cycle Twisted Roots: Music, Politics and the American Dream Blues, which has been described by Ben Sidran, former host of NPR's Jazz Alive and score composer of Hoop Dreams as "an ingenious way to blend political and social commentary into a musical architecture." Meanwhile, DePaul University chaplain Anthony Nicotera has called Twisted Roots "music to inspire the soul and charge your commitment to peace and justice." To see clips from the 2003 performance, search for John Kimsey & Twisted Roots on youtube. To get a taste of how the group will sound at Uncommon Ground, check out the Chicago Acoustic Underground podcast Episode 642. You can also download Kimsey's album Traps for Troubadours: the Best of Twisted Roots from CDBaby.com or iTunes.
According to The Ectophile’s Guide to Good Music, tonight’s acclaimed opening performer Donna Adler “has an amazing voice and is a talented guitarist and songwriter.” Meanwhile, In The Mix observes that while “Many have grabbed the cloak of urban folk,” Donna’s music “turns the cloak into a tapestry.” Donna has produced four CDs: All The Riches of The World (1997), Alta Vista Sky (2002), Violets and Blues (2007) and Stories To Keep (2012). Her song “Hide and Seek” appears on the compilation CD, “Live At Uncommon Ground”. Her latest 2 CDs, both recorded in Nashville, received generous airplay on folk radio. “Stories To Keep” was listed among the top CDs of 2012 for folk radio and landed in the top favorites for WDCB’s “The Folk Show”, WVPE’s “The Back Porch” and WAMU’s “Americana Breakdown”. For a time back in the 20th century, Donna played guitar and sang backup for The Art Thieves, a Chicago-based rock group led by tonight’s featured artist John Kimsey.