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The Best Jazz, Folk, Country, and World Music in December

Chicago’s top 16 shows include King Krule, Andrew Bird, Leo Kottke, and more.

King Krule plays Lincoln Hall on December 11.   Photo: Courtesy of King Krule/Bar Stelka

Folk, Country, World

Andrew Bird

12/9–12 Now a holiday tradition, the indie folk singer-songwriter plays this mostly instrumental string concert at the gorgeous Fourth Presbyterian church. $35–$40. Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E Chestnut. etix.com

Lincoln Hall

12/5 at 8 Pokey LaFarge. Like his label’s president, Jack White, the 30-year-old native of Bloomington, Illinois, has an ongoing love affair with old-timey roots music. He performs with his five-piece band. $15–$17.
12/11 at 9 King Krule. The 17-year-old ginger-haired Brit has gotten a lot of attention for his song writing, and rightly so.
2424 N Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com


Old Town School of Folk Music

12/4 at 8:30 ÑAWI: Yarina & Alex Alvear. As part of World Music Wednesday, bassist Alex Alvear and indigenous Ecuadorian troupe Yarina join forces for a night of rollicking South American tunes.
12/7 at 4 and 7 John McCutcheon. The multitalented folk musician leads a team of locals for a winter-solstice-themed concert. $25.
12/7 at 7 and 10 Over the Rhine. This Ohio husband-and-wife duo continues to enchant with its thoughtful song writing. $35.
12/8 at 4 and 7 Carrie Newcomer. The husky-voiced singer-songwriter performs original work with pianist Gary Waters. $26.
12/8 at 4, 7 Steep Canyon Rangers. Steve Martin has plucked his banjo with this Grammy-winning bluegrass quintet, so consider that an endorsement. $25.
4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org


12/7 at 7:30 Leo Kottke. The Space favorite still plays slide guitar with timeless agility. $30–$62.
12/31 at 6 The Flat Five. A supergroup of talented local alt-country stars—Alex Hall, Kelly Hogan, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, and Nora O’Connor—team up for a night of reworked country standards. $15–$35.
12/31 at 10 Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys. Even with more than 40 years of band-hopping under his belt, the Texan-born guitarist still knows how to sing a haunting tune. $65–$95.
1245 Chicago. evanstonspace.com


Battle of the Saxes

12/27 at 9, 12/28 at 8 Ed Petersen and Eric Schneider fight for sax supremacy in this friendly annual competition. Accompaniment by the Green Mill All-Stars. $12. Green Mill, 4802 N Broadway. greenmilljazz.com

Don Stiernberg Quintet

12/20 at 8 Keeping the spirt of Django Reinhardt alive, the Chicago mandolinist heads this locals-only showcase, featuring Andy Brown on guitar, Jim Cox on bass, Phil Gratteau on drums, and Larry Harrison on piano. Singer Petra Van Nuis opens. $16. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org

Dana Hall

12/10 at 9, 10:30, and midnight The local percussionist plays selections from seminal free jazz pianist and composer Andrew Hill’s 1963 record Black Fire. $10. Andy’s Jazz Club, 11 E Hubbard. andysjazzclub.com

Jazz Showcase

12/12–12/15 Joey DeFrancesco Trio. DeFrancesco proves that the organ is a vital, underutilized tool in the jazz musician’s arsenal. $25–$45.
12/12 at 8 and 10 Fred Hersch Trio. De facto leader of the school of pianists comfortable playing both Monk and Radiohead, Hersch comes to Chicago for what’s sure to be a beautiful, poignant set. Critic’s Pick. $25–$45.
806 S Plymouth


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