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By Andy Argyrakis
This Week's Picks:
Australian indie pop, new Nickel Creek project, plus a new leaf for a local turned legend
Monday, February 27
Australian indie pop: Sydney-born singer/songwriter Ben Lee has steadily ascended the indie pop ladder to become one of today's most celebrated faces. He's hitting the road with guitar in hand to unveil tunes from his eighth studio CD Deeper Into Dream (Dangerbird), which is sure to appeal to fans of Wilco, Ryan Adams and The Decemberists. Monday at Martyrs: www.martyrslive.com.
An industrial Orgy: Some may consider Orgy to be a novelty band given the group's fluke hit cover of New Order's "Blue Monday." While the group may technically be a one hit wonder to most, this recently revived act continues to be one of the hardest hitting in the industrial rock/alternative metal worlds who maintain a surprisingly feverish fan base. Tuesday at The Rave: www.therave.com.
New Nickel Creek project: One of the most ambitious Americana/alt-county/bluegrass acts of all time may be on hiatus, but that doesn't mean its spirit stopped living on in other outlets. Nickel Creek's Chris Thile leads the progressive, southern-slanted sounds of The Punch Brothers, who promise plenty of instrumental proficiency and improvisation. Thursday at Park West: www.jamusa.com.
A new leaf for a local turned legend: With five Golden Globe Awards, an Emmy Award, plus multiple Academy and Grammy nominations, there's little legendary entertainer Ann-Margret hasn't accomplished. After rising to fame in silver screen blockbusters like "Bye Bye Birdie," "Viva Las Vegas" (alongside Elvis Presley), "State Fair" and The Who's "Tommy," she became one of Hollywood's most sought after actresses with recent credits as diverse as "Grumpy Old Men," "Any Given Sunday," "The Break-Up" and "Law & Order: SVU." On the recording side of the coin, the Swedish star turned Chicago transplant just put the finishing touches on God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions 2 (Greenhaw Records), which she shared with Concert Livewire, amongst other colorful subjects, during a recent phone chat from home in Los Angeles.
Livewire: Who do you hope your new album's audience will be- exclusively gospel fans, those familiar with your past work or a little bit of both?
Ann-Margret: A little bit of both. I hope and pray that it touches some people and they can feel that emotion that I feel coming out of me into those songs. The album was done in a sanctuary with those high ceilings, the big pipe organ, the 130 person choir, and at one point, just a violinist and a piano. It was thrilling to do it.
Livewire: Do you have any fun recollections of growing up in the Chicago area?
Ann-Margret: When there was a huge snow storm, I remember mother and I used to get on our skis and ski downtown [from the suburbs] and get whatever we needed and ski back. People just thought we were crazy! Oh yes, I come from a very adventurous family.
Livewire: How does it feel to introduce yourself to new generations? I just noticed that "Men's Health" named you one of the "100 Hottest Women of All Time."
Ann-Margret: What can I say, I'm just bewildered. It's of course very flattering. If a man says that he finds you interesting, I would think that every woman would feel good [and vice versa]. If a woman thinks you're interesting, don't you feel good? So that's how I feel about the whole thing.
Livewire: What advice would you give those going into show business nowadays?
Ann-Margret: You have to learn to take criticism and failure and you just learn from it and go on. You have to have the passion. I always ask "are you passionate about this?" If somebody waits a second, then I know they're not passionate. If I wasn't passionate about the things I do, I'd leave just as quickly as I came in.
Feb. 20 - 26
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Jan. 30 - Feb. 5
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