I'm fresh back from a lengthy overseas vacation. Spent some weeks gallivanting through Scandinavia, hitting some great record shops in Helsinki (who knew?) and just missing the Raveonettes in Copenhagen (drat!). Now onward to summer festival season in Chicago!
Since the change of hands, I've been meaning to mention the other folks who cover music for the Sun-Times. Their bylines were all over the place while I was gone, and will continue to be. I can't see every show, and often I defer to the genre expertise of some of these talented writers and critics ...
On staff, fellow columnist Dave Hoekstra frequently digs up Chicago's deepest musical roots. He also has a regular Travel column and sometimes appears in the Food section. Read his recent pieces on John Prine's homecoming shows and even "American Idol" Lee DeWyze and his band.
Jeff Johnson, a Sun-Times copy editor, writes about blues and was all over the festival this month -- the state of Chicago blues, the Howlin' Wolf events and the Chicago Blues Reunion -- and will be out at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival this weekend.
Mary Houlihan writes about theater and other topics for the Sun-Times, as well as roots and world music, such as this year's Millennium Park Music Without Borders lineup.
If you haven't encountered our main freelance contributors before, they are:
Mark Guarino is the former pop music critic at The Daily Herald. Mark writes for numerous outlets nationally and locally, including some excellent news reporting for The Christian Science Monitor. He's also a talented playwright; his play "All the Fame of Lofty Deeds," based on the music and visual art of Jon Langford, is a dense and poignant eulogy for country music. Read his recent reviews of the Eagles with the Dixie Chicks, MGMT and Broken Bells.
Anders Smith Lindall has been writing for us since '98, covering shows and providing support at festivals in town and out of state. By day, he's a union rep; by night, he's an intelligent critic. Read his recent reviews of the xx and Vampire Weekend, and stayed tuned for his 33-1/3 title on Lucinda Williams.
Bobby Reed is another versatile music critic who's worked with the Sun-Times since '98. Bobby's our country expert, as well as a critic of pop and rock. A journalist and editor for 20 years, he's been a guest commentator on numerous radio stations and on the CMT television network. He writes about arts and entertainment for go2.com, and his work has appeared in dozens of publications, from No Depression to Time Out Chicago.
John Litweiler covers jazz for us on occasion and many other outlets. He's a former Down Beat writer-editor, a real pro on the local scene and its history. Check out his Ornette Coleman bio, or his new thriller novel.