|Mike Farris at The Union Jan. 24, 2014|
Friday night I performed a 30-minute set at The Union in Naperville, opening for Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue. The crowd was great, braving brutal wintry conditions to turn out. There were more than 100 tickets presold, and a lot more showed up at the door.
The show was part of North Central College's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week, and it was an honor to be part of the celebration. The Union presents outstanding national acts on Friday nights during the school year in a former church building and is staffed by students involved with the College's Office of Ministry and Service.
The show was a little late getting started, as the band's sound check ran long. Understandable, since the band was a nine-piece lineup of stellar professionals that included two guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, horns (sax and trumpet) and backup singers.
|Ted at The Union, Jan. 24, 2014|
Nashville-based Mike Farris has been a star in the music business since the early 1990s when he fronted the Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies. More recently he's been merging roots gospel music with arrangements inspired by New Orleans, Stax and the blues. He's earned an Americana Music Association New & Emerging Artist of the Year Award and a Gospel Music Association Dove Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album of the Year.
He performs solo or with three-piece, five-piece and nine-piece bands. The full nine-piece lineup doesn't often travel with him outside of Nashville but he brought them all to Naperville.
Paul's got an impressive resume as an artist and producer. He owns a recording studio and record label in Nashville, called Ocean Soul. He's amazing on the Hammond B3 organ and very fun to watch perform.
|Paul Brown, Bobby Rush and Bonnie Raitt at the Troubadour, Jan. 25, 2014|
Meanwhile, Mike and the rest of the band made their way back to Nashville, no doubt questioning the wisdom of booking a January show in Chicago. You could see from Mike's Twitter that road conditions on the trip home were less than ideal.
Brutal weather on road from Chicago back home. black n white really captures it.
Thanks Whitney, Jeremy, Brian, Dorothy and everyone at The Union for the opportunity to be part of a fun and special show.