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

The critics picked 11 shows to catch this month, including an appearance by bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and Kurt Elling at the Green Mill.

Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys   Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Folk, Country, World

Patty Griffin

1/31 at 8 For 13 years, the veteran folk singer and songwriter’s third album, Silver Bell, languished in purgatory after a bum business merger. Finally released in October, the recording, featuring the oft-covered “Truth #2,” was worth the wait. $15–$20. Metro, 3730 N Clark. etix.com

Judson Claiborne

1/2 at 9 The roots outfit has only grown in profile since its 2007 inception. Here, the band performs selections from its latest LP, 2013’s We Have Not Doors You Need Not Keys. $10. The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia. hideoutchicago.com


Cate Le Bon

1/24 at 9 The Welsh singer garners comparisons to ’60s icon Nico. She plays in support of Mug Museum, which recalls Television with its smart guitar lines and narratives that are both charming and bleak. $12. Schubas, 3159 N Southport. schubas.com

Lord Huron

1/30 at 9 Bon Iver fans will go ape for this Michigan folk act, the creation of singer-songwriter Ben Schneider, who produces a similarly appealing take on pastoral melancholy. $20. Metro, 3730 N Clark. etix.com


Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys

1/11 at 8 A haunting and unforgettable voice in the world of bluegrass. You probably recognize the living legend—who’s been playing since 1945 and continues to tour at age 86—from his work on the soundtrack for the Coen brothers’ classic O Brother, Where Art Thou? He’ll no doubt deliver “O Death” tonight, as well as some high-spirited standards and new material with his family band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. $40–$42. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. oldtownschool.org



Jon Batiste

1/13 at 8 Perennially charming, the jazz pianist and vocalist often riffs on extended licks and weaves insightful anecdotes into his performances with his backing band Stay Human. $28–$88. City Winery, 1200 W Randolph. citywinery.com/chicago

Branford Marsalis Quartet

1/31 at 8 The eldest Marsalis handles his role as impending jazz statesman well, as evidenced by the relaxed sound and cheeky title of his quartet’s latest album, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes. $28–$88. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

Kurt Elling

1/3 at 9, 1/4 at 8 The consummate baritone returns to Chicago for an annual January set at his old haunt, the Green Mill. $15. 4802 N Broadway. greenmilljazz.com


Rob Clearfield Trio

1/8 at 8 Credited with bringing more creative vigor to the local improv scene, the genre-agnostic pianist performs selections from his debut album, The Long and Short of It, in addition to some new works with bassist Dan Thatcher and drummer Marcus Evans. Constellation, 3111 N Western. constellation-chicago.com


1/3 at 8 Larry Coryell Trio. The master guitarist rarely releases albums, but it doesn’t matter, because his live performances prove once and for all that the 70-year-old is the king of the fretboard. $20–$34.
1/11 at 8 Liquid Soul. This time last year, the self-described pioneers of acid jazz were celebrating their 20th anniversary. Now they’re back to play selections from their catalog of funk-driven records. $12–$24.
1245 Chicago. evanstonspace.com


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