Founded by world-class music geeks and all-around swell Chicagoans Nan Warshaw and Rob Miller in 1994, Bloodshot Records has spent the last 15 years building a reputation as one of the most adventurous independent labels in America, with a catalog that far exceeds the narrow alternative-country box that some put it in, and a promising future even in these turbulent times.
"In addition to the world economic collapse that's happening globally, we're going to see indie labels in free fall," Warshaw predicted at the South by Southwest Music & Media Conference last March, taking her place on a panel entitled "Indie Labels Keep the Faith." Bloodshot's plan to stay vital: More than merely manufacturing and distributing its artists' recordings, it hopes to morph into the full-service business support system that musicians need because they'd rather concentrate on making their music.
Of course, some fans would say that Bloodshot has been doing that from the beginning. It's always been as much a lifestyle as a label, and therein lays its success.
As this year's slightly slimmed-down version of the annual end-of-summer Hideout Block Party, Warshaw, Miller and staffers past and present will celebrate their accomplishments and the label's Quinceañera on Saturday, Sept. 12, on the street in front of everyone's favorite local music dive at Elston and Wabansia. The $10 admission benefits the Rock for Kids and Chicago 826 charities, and in addition to a full day of music, the "15th Anniversary Bloodshot Beer-B-Q" promises a kids' area with art and games; an art show curated by the Yard Dog Gallery of Austin, TX; belt-sander races; a drunken spelling bee and food from Pilsen's Honky Tonk BBQ.
As for the music, an hour-by-hour sampling of the sounds follows the jump.
Sanctified Grumblers, noon
A fixture on the local music scene playing acoustic blues and ragtime for the last decade with Devil in a Woodpile, Rick "Cookin'" Sherry (vocals, washboard, harmonica, clarinet, jug and foot drum) has split from that group to lead this two-man band with Eric "Leadfoot" Noden (vocals, guitar, kazoo, harmonica, foot and six-string banjo) dedicated to reviving the jug band music of forgotten avatars such as Frank Stokes, Dick Justice and the Memphis Jug Band.
Jon Langford and Sally Timms, 1 p.m.
Moonlighting from the mighty Mekons--something each of these ubiquitous musicians do with regularity in countless different guises--the charmingly gruff-voiced Langford and the always enchanting Timms never fail to thrill, surprise and crack up audiences whenever they take the stage. They are, indeed, the Sonny and Cher of alt-country.
The Blacks, 1:35 p.m.
Although they split up after only two albums--the 1998 debut "Dolly Horrorshow" and the spectacular follow-up "Just Like Home" (2000)--the band led by guitarist-vocalist Danny Black and the inimitable bassist Gina Black were one of the most original and exciting groups Chicago produced in the last 20 years. Catch the volatile combo now, since there's no telling how long this reunion might last.
Bobby Bare, Jr., 2:30 p.m.
Born with music in his blood--he's the son of Nashville legend Bobby Bare, Sr.--junior has forged a strong solo career after starting out on the music scene with the roots-rock band Bare, Jr. His last release "The Longest Meow" (2006) found him recording 11 songs in 11 hours but showing an ever-increasing emotional depth and stylistic diversity. And his gregarious persona makes his live shows even more rewarding.
Moonshine Willy, 3:30 p.m.
Country punks who have the distinction of being the first band Bloodshot signed, songwriter Kim Docter and her husband, bassist Mike Luke, have come out of musicial retirement, raising their family in Santa Cruz, Calif., to put the band back together for a celebratory reunion gig.
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, 4:25 p.m.
Indefatigable bandleader Elia Einhorn and his ever-evolving ork-pop/folk-rock combo are celebrating the release of their new album "...And the Horse You Rode in On," arriving in stores on Tuesday [Sept. 15]. The 15 tracks show the band maturing considerably from its self-titled 2007 Bloodshot bow, with Einhorn's sophisticated melodies and witty/literate lyrics still resonant of small-town-Wales-meets-big-city-Chicago but with less of a debt to early influences Belle & Sebastian and Morrissey.
Scott H. Biram, 5:25 p.m.
The self-proclaimed "Dirty Old One Man Band' from Austin, TX, mixes blues, rockabilly, country and punk in an intoxicating brew, and then he drains the keg. He released his last Bloodshot album, "Something's Wrong/Lost Forever," earlier this year, but he's best appreciated live, preferably with a bottle in hand.
Deadstring Brothers, 6:25 p.m.
Led by guitarist/vocalist Kurt Marschke, these Detroit blues-rockers are touring in support of their recent album "Sao Paulo," putting the Black Crowes and others of that ilk to shame for even trying.
Alejandro Escovedo, 7:25 p.m.
Still riding high on his powerhouse 2008 album "Real Animal," an autobiographical look at his early punk years, the Texas singer, songwriter and musical treasure comes to his adopted second home to celebrate his stint on Bloodshot and its forthcoming deluxe-edition reissue of his 2001 album "A Man Under the Influence."
The Waco Brothers with Rico Bell, 8:40 p.m.
If any group on the Bloodshot roster typifies the label's ideal free-spirited mix of soulful sounds trumpeted with a no-holds-barred bacchanalian joy, it's Langford and the Waco Brothers, who are certain to close out the street party in high spirits.
15th Anniversary Bloodshot Beer-B-Q
Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12
Outside the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia
Admission $10 (kids under 10 free)