Syd Straw's Heartwreck Show! Special guest Freedy Johnston. and featuring guitarist Mark Shippy - 2/14
at City Winery Chicago
- 6:00 pm
- 8:00 pm
The Triumphant Return of Syd Straw's Heartwreck Show!
Syd Straw is an American rock singer and songwriter. The daughter of actor Jack Straw (The Pajama Game), she began her career singing backup for Pat Benatar, then took her distinct voice to the indie/alternative scene and joined the Golden Palominos (also including Michael Stipe, Matthew Sweet, and Anton Fier). She released her first album, Surprise, in 1989; it featured contributions by Stipe, Fier, Richard Thompson, Jody Harris, Peter Blegvad, and a number of other well-known musicians. A second album, War and Peace, appeared in 1996. Recorded with a relatively obscure Midwest rock group called the Skeletons, it chronicled a brief and unhappy romance. In 2008, she released a new album, entitled Pink Velour, on her own label, Earnester Records. According to an earlier interview, the title track “is about my family moving back and forth between the east and the west, and my being kidnapped by my mother on Valentine's Day in 1969, and about not seeing my dad for almost seven years.”
As a boy growing up in the farming community of Kinsley, Kansas, Freedy Johnston was drawn to a sign in the town’s tiny business district. It showed two arrows pointing in opposite directions. One read “New York City.” The other, “San Francisco.” At an early age, Johnston knew two things: He wanted to follow that sign in one direction or another, and he wanted to play rock ‘n’ roll.
When it came out in 1992, Rolling Stone and Spin hailed Can You Fly as a masterpiece. Robert Christgau called it “a perfect album.” Its success led to a major label deal with Elektra, for whom Johnston released “This Perfect World” in 1994. Not only did that album showcase Johnston’s increasing sophistication and range as a songwriter, but it also included his breakthrough hit, “Bad Reputation.”
Now splitting his time between New York City and Madison, Wis., Johnston is currently writing and recording songs for his next album, tentatively titled Neon Repairman. In an age where the Internet has greatly diminished the power of radio to dictate artistic success, Johnston is poised for perhaps the most exciting stage of his career. At this point, though, it isn’t about destiny. Johnston fulfilled that a long time ago. Now, it’s about joy – both for Johnston and his fans.