Rufus Wainwright, Crystal Bowersox among acts performing City Winery in April

Thu. March 23, 2017 8:00 AM

rufus wainwright

photo credit // facebook
City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph Street, announced the following acts performing throughout the month of April. 

Featured artists include the legendary Wanda Jackson on April 1, a return appearance by Kris Kristofferson on April 2, the 5th annual interactive Downtown Freedom Seder on April 4, Out singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright for three shows April 6-7, "American Idol" season 9 runner-up and LGBT advocate Crystal Bowersox, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Emily King on April 13, two back-to-back shows from Detroit Hip-Hop R&B star Dwele on April 21, Grammy Award winner Paula Cole ("I Don't Want to Wait") on April 22, family band Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on April 23, comedian Arsenio Hall performing two back-to-back shows on April 29 and more. 

Related: interview with Rufus Wainwright (2014)

APRIL 2017:

Betches Who Brunch - April Fool's Day Comedy Show

Saturday, April 1; 2:00 p.m.


This April Fool's Day, BETCHES is excited to announce its latest comedy tour, Betches Who Brunch. This brand new, one day event brings the signature snarky and honest BETCHES humor to audiences live, in seven cities across America simultaneously, with a side of mimosas and a sh*t ton of laughs. Line up TBA.

Wanda Jackson

Saturday, April 1


"The First Lady of Rockabilly" Wanda Jackson, who once toured with Elvis Presley and sings the '60s hits "Let's Have a Party" and "The Box It Came In," continues to perform sold-out shows worldwide. The "Queen of Rock" was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 with the support of music legends Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen. Dylan has called Jackson "an atomic fireball of a lady." Jackson's album, The Party Ain't Over, includes a cover of Dylan's rockabilly song, "Thunder on the Mountain."

Kris Kristofferson

Sunday, April 2


Kris Kristofferson has been making things happen his entire life. Born in Texas and raised in a military family, Kristofferson achieved remarkable success as a country songwriter at the start of the 1970s. His songs "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," and "For the Good Times," all chart-topping hits, helped redefine country songwriting, making it more personal and serious, much in the way that Bob Dylan's songs had transformed pop music songwriting in the mid-'60s. By 1987, it was estimated that Kristofferson's compositions had been recorded by more than 450 artists. His renown as a songwriter enabled him to launch a moderately successful career as a musical performer and that, in turn, brought him to the attention of Hollywood, leading to a lengthy career as a film actor.

Joshua James - Album release show

Monday, April 3


Raised in Nebraska, Joshua James' work reflects a distinctly American ache: a yearning for a big sky and an open road. Familiar yet refreshingly innovative, James' songs are devastating in their honesty, working with themes that are intermittently elating, melancholic, and transcendent. After the commercial release of his first album in 2007, James spent the next five years touring across the United States and internationally to places such as Romania and Japan. His first two albums, The Sun Is Always Brighter and Build Me This, topped the year-end "Best of iTunes" lists. His next album, My Spirit Sister, is set to be released on April 7, 2017.

Downtown Freedom Seder

Tuesday, April 4; 7:00 p.m.


City Winery proudly hosts its popular, celebrity-driven music, artistic and interactive Downtown Freedom Seder (SAY-der) in advance of the Jewish holiday of Passover which officially starts on Monday, April 10 at sundown. Offering a unique and contemporary connection to a historic tradition, the Seder features more than a dozen performers, politicians and thinkers sharing a meal with the audience and providing a one-of-a-kind interpretation of the ancient Passover story. Featured participants include comedians Joel Chasnoff and Judy Gold, Blues musician Corky Siegel, activist Malcolm London, Rabbi Brant Rosen and more.

Shawn Mullins

Wednesday, April 5


Whether composing alone or with others Atlanta native Shawn Mullins has always been a dynamic songsmith. Forging influences from folk and R&B to traditional country and even Broadway musicals with pop-leaning melodic sensibilities, he crafts memorable, affecting tunes best defined as Americana. With a supple baritone that still allows him to channel Prince, as well as wail the blues and growl with grit - not to mention rock those talkin' rhythms - Mullins has been engaging audiences since he won his first high-school talent contest with his own composition. He readily admits that several of the songs on his most recent album, My Stupid Heart, address his perceived relationship failures. In fact, many were written as he was falling out of his third marriage; in the title tune, he chides himself for being such a romantic. But it's also a bit of a joke, he says, because he firmly believes in following his heart - no matter where it leads. That oh-so-fallible, yet essential part of our being is, it turns out, the guiding force behind just about every song on the album.

Rufus Wainwright

Thursday, April 6; 8:00 p.m.

Friday, April 7; 7:30 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.


Praised by the New York Times for his "genuine originality," Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists and songwriters of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer songwriter has released seven studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the fantastic Grammy nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, which captured his celebrated Judy Garland tribute performance at the London Palladium in 2007, and the album Release The Stars which went Gold in Canada and the U.K.

Amel Larrieux

Saturday, April 8; 7:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.


An urban chanteuse by birth, Amel Larrieux grew up in a West Village "artists building" in New York City, where her parents exposed her early to a community of artists and artistic experiences that would mold her eclectic sensibilities. At the age of 18, sure that she wanted to express herself musically, Larrieux wrote and demoed a song, which led to her pairing with Bryce Wilson to form the duo Groove Theory. As lead vocalist and co-writer for the group, she enjoyed success with "Tell Me," which broke the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top five on the R&B charts before being certified gold in October 1995.

Larrieux performs a repertoire of soulful hits, folk and world music-flavored jazz standards and cuts from her four solo albums.

Crystal Bowersox

Sunday, April 9


Crystal Bowersox has made it her mission to live life and her music to the fullest. "I believe if you stand for something, stand your ground; stand it strong and stand it proud," she says. There is a sincerity and authenticity about her that can't be manufactured. The same can be said about her musical prowess, which has all the markings of a creative force to reckon with who is in it for the long haul. Her rich amalgam of blues, country, folk and rock makes her one of the most dynamic young voices in music to come along in years. Bowersox's most recent album, All That For This, is a finely crafted and beautifully arranged tapestry that illustrates the dynamic singer's keen ability to shape a narrative poetically and metaphorically, inviting listeners into her world.

Dave Mason - "Alone Together Again" Tour

Monday-Tuesday, April 10-11


Legendary British singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Mason first found fame with the rock band Traffic in 1967. In his long career, Mason has played and recorded with many of the era's most notable musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Russ McLellan and Mama Cass Elliot. Mason's best known song is "Feelin' Alright," recorded by Traffic in 1968 and covered by dozens of artists, including Joe Cocker, who had a major hit with the song in 1969. For Traffic, he also wrote "Hole in my Shoe," a psychedelic satire that became a classic. "We Just Disagree," Mason's own 1977 solo hit, has become a staple of Oldies and Adult Contemporary radio playlists. Meet and Greet tickets are available for $125.

Shane Koyczan

Wednesday, April 12


Internationally recognized author and spoken word artist Shane Koyczan has emerged as a creator of poetry that dares to belong to the people and speak directly to them in their own voice. In 2013, he collaborated with animators to make the anti-bullying viral video "To This Day" which has had over 13 million views, and he performed a customized version "For the Bullied and the Beautiful" to acclaim at the 2013 International TED Conference in Long Beach, California. Shane shapes his words and delivers in multi mediums from authored, video, spoken word, operatic, and musically performed.

Emily King

Thursday, April 13


Emily King is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter born and raised in Manhattan's Lower-East Side. King has toured and played live with Maroon 5, John Legend, Emeli Sande, Alicia Keys, Aloe Blacc, Sara Bareilles and countless others. Her first album, East Side Story, Grammy-nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album of the Year. She released her second and most recent album, The Switch, under her own label Making Music Records. King is influenced by roots, pop, soul, and indie music and carefully crafts compositions that serve as a vehicle for her polished, lush vocals. Meet and Greet tickets are available for $49.

Marc Cohn

Friday-Saturday, April 14-15


After winning a Grammy for his soulful ballad "Walking in Memphis," Marc Cohn solidified his place as one of this generation's most compelling singer/songwriters, combining the precision of a brilliant tunesmith with the passion of a great soul man. Cohn is a natural storyteller, balancing the exuberant with the poignant, and can distill universal truth out of his often romantic, drawn-from-life tales. Cohn followed up his platinum-selling debut with two more releases in the 1990s. Meet & Greet + VIP Sound check tickets are available for $80 and include the opportunity for photos, autographs and a signed poster.

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Sunday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 18


Timothy B. Schmit is the groundbreaking vocalist, songwriter and bass player from the legendary rock groups Eagles and Poco. His most recent 12-track solo album, Leap of Faith, is a strong mix of rock, country, Americana, R&B and even a bit of reggae. This album marks the culmination of Schmit's unhurried, yet inspired reflections of life. Writing and recording between touring with the Eagles, the songs on Leap of Faith have a broad compass. Illuminated by an array of fine musicians and singers, the album plays like a multicolored corona around Schmit's distinctive artistry. From the jaunty opening track "My Hat" to the soaring harmonies and heartfelt reflections of "This Waltz," this is more than another album in a great artist's catalog.

Becca Stevens

Monday, April 17


Since the release of her critically acclaimed third album, Perfect Animal, Becca Stevens has undertaken a journey that began with a study of Queen Elizabeth I as inspiration for a commission to write a concert of new music, which expanded into tributes to various queens from history, literature, folklore, and her own imagination, songs inspired by the regal and divine, and finally Regina as a voice, like a trusted friend or an alter ego. Stevens' style has always evaded categorization, and with her latest album, Regina, even more so. One hears pop, rock, R&B and funk side-by-side with traditional Appalachian and British folk, classical, world music, and jazz. Intricate instrumentation and rhythms seamlessly intertwine with vocals and melodies that work their way into your brain. Stevens has been compared to Bjork, St Vincent, Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell and is certainly making her mark on the international music scene in a big way, establishing herself as a long term and important artist for the future.

Morgan JamesReckless Abandon Tour

Wednesday, April 19


New York-based soul singer, songwriter, and Broadway chanteuse Morgan James brings her powerhouse voice, theatrical swing, and a soulful poise to her full-length debut for Epic Records, Hunter. James assumed co-writing duties on eight of the collection's 11 tracks and even performed all her own background vocals and harmonies. Hunter reached Top 15 at Urban AC radio and #1 most added. She is proud to note that no vocal tuning of any kind has been used on any of her albums. In addition to Hunter, James has released a live tribute to Nina Simone, Morgan James Live, as well as an EP featuring some of her fans' favorite covers, YouTube Sessions. She can also be heard on countless theatre and concept soundtracks. Since Hunter's release, James' music videos have accumulated more than 45 million views (and climbing). With viral sensation Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, James toured the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She is currently touring with her band while writing her next album.

Seth Walker & Edward David Anderson

Thursday, April 20


Living in New Orleans after stints in Austin and Nashville, Seth Walker is thriving musically, surrounded by all the music in the "Big Easy." Walker's music is consistently in the top 20 Americana charts and he has a reputation of being one of the most acclaimed modern roots artists in the country in the last decade. He has become a three-dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyrics alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true blue knack for getting around on the guitar. His latest studio album, Gotta Get Back, produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers, is yet another masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.

Edward David Anderson is one of music's modern makers, a rock & roll veteran who spent his formative years fronting the revered Midwest band, Backyard Tire Fire. Known for infectious melodies and memorable messages, Anderson penned 8 albums for the band and played countless shows across the US and Canada. Their eventual hiatus fostered his solo debut, Lies & Wishes. A serendipitous move south in 2013 introduced him to 'Lower Alabama' where he found the culture and beaches provided reprieve from life on the road and a second home. He quickly immersed himself into the rich and welcoming LA music scene where he met producer Anthony Crawford (Neil Young, Willie Sugarcapps) and recorded Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions over the winter of 2014. The Chicagoland native, influenced by blues, rock & roll, folk and bluegrass creates a sound uniquely his own. He plays a variety of instruments while happily kicking a bass drum and singing songs that evoke an emotional and spiritual connection with listeners in venues large and small.


Friday, April 21 - 7pm & 10pm


Influenced by the sounds of jazz and Motown, R&B's smoothest singer-songwriter-producer Dwele began his career in Detroit's underground hip-hop scene during the late '90s. He has since released five albums and collaborated with artists like Big Sean and Kanye West, including work on West's 2007 Flashing Lights. His 2012 album, Greater than One, mixes silky ballads and crispy up-tempo jams to create what Dwele calls "bedroom music."

Paula Cole

Saturday, April 22


Grammy winner, mother and activist Paula Cole has released seven solo albums of original songs, spanning a 20+ year career. Cole has performed with icons in many genres of music from Peter Gabriel to Dolly Parton, Herbie Hancock to Emmylou Harris and Amy Lee of Evanescence to Burt Bacharach. Cole is known for her emotionally deep, thrilling performances and her poetic, fierce and intelligent writing. Her compositions have been covered by a diverse range of artists, including Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, Katherine McPhee and JoJo. She has sold approximately 3 million albums. As the first woman in history to solely produce and receive the best Producer Grammy nomination for her album, This Fire, Cole has broken boundaries. From her top ten hits of the 1990's to her more recent, critically acclaimed albums, Cole continues to write, produce, record and perform heartfelt, lasting music that defies categorization.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Sunday, April 23; 7:00 p.m.


The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (HBE) is a family band consisting of seven blood brothers who began their musical training at the tender ages of four and five under their father, jazz trumpeter/band leader Kelan Phil Cohran of Earth, Wind, & Fire, Chaka Khan and Sun Ra. The boys went on to form the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble in 1990. The family toured the United States performing the complex original written jazz compositions of Cohran and other greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and even the music of classical greats Bach and Beethoven. While the group's musical training was primarily instrumental, the brothers were exposed to the music of their own generation such as hip-hop, rock and reggae, and combined these elements with the cosmic jazz style of their father. By 1999, the band of brothers discontinued playing with their dad to find their own sound, growing into the band now known as Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Together they have toured throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America playing with everyone from Prince, Mos Def, Mick Jones (The Clash) and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). They've performed at Coachella, WOMAD AU, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. After international success, the group returns stateside for a domestic tour with an emphasis on performances available to young students.

The Black Lillies

Tuesday, April 25

$18/ $22/ $25 /$28

The Black Lillies' story is one of hard work and highway miles; a story that traces their evolution from a group of friends making music in songwriter and frontman Cruz Contreras' living room into what is now an internationally-renowned band of roots-rockers, armed with songs that blur the boundaries between folk, soul, red dirt country, blues and jazz. Proudly independent since their formation, The Black Lillies were one of the first independent bands to play the Grand Ole Opry and have since returned dozens of times - sharing that stage with big-budget bands and major-label mainstreamers. They've chased down success on their terms, ignoring the trends of Nashville and focusing on a sound that, as Vanity Fair notes, "continues to cross generations and musical genres - country, folk, blues and... a touch of the Dead, for good measure." With a reimagined lineup, new songs and the same dedication to touring, the Lillies continue to sink their roots deep into the Americana landscape

Hal Ketchum

Wednesday, April 26


Five years ago, Hal Ketchum packed up his guitars and left Nashville, turning his back on a successful, 20+ year career in country music. He'd already sold more than five million albums, racking up a half-dozen Top 10 hits, including staples like "Small Town Saturday Night" and "Hearts Are Gonna Roll." But Ketchum was exhausted and his multiple sclerosis, a condition that often left him partially paralyzed, wasn't making matters any easier. He headed back to Texas for some peace, quiet and serious introversion. Now, armed with new stories, new songs and a strong fan base that has stuck with him throughout the years, Ketchum is back to stay. In his most recent album, I'm the Troubadour, Ketchum ditches the country rulebook and tackles a combination of folk, blues and soul music.


Thursday, April 27; 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.


Goapele (pronounced gwa-puh-lay), which means "to move forward" in Setswana, has been doing just that, moving forward and making her presence felt as an American soul and R&B singer/songwriter since 2001. For her most recent album, Strong As Glass, she worked closely with executive producer Keith Harris, who helped push the songstress creatively. She also worked with R&B veteran Eric Benet and producer Demonte Posey to finish this genre-bending record, which includes upbeat tracks mixed with powerful ballads, hard-hitting drums, and classic Goapele vocals. Goapele's upbringing in her hometown of Oakland, California combined with ethnic influences from her South African father and New York-born Israeli Jewish mother, have created a unique artist with a passion for her music and her community. Once called the "spiritual love child of Sade and D'Angelo" by Rolling Stone magazine, Goapele has both a sensuous and serious voice that is making a difference in the music world by blending genres including jazz, soul, and hip-hop infused with her own poetry.

Suzy Bogguss

Friday, April 28


Suzy Bogguss is the recipient of a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album as a part of Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster, as well as several awards from the Academy of Country Music, The Country Music Association, CMT and ASCAP. Her songs have been heard on television shows and in commercials. She has performed on many national television shows including: "In Performance at The White House" (PBS), "A Capitol 4th" (PBS), "Austin City Limits," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Live with Regis And Kelly" and "The View." Bogguss is a frequent guest on National Public Radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor. In 2011, Bogguss released American Folk Songbook, a 17-song CD and hardcover book with stories and sheet music.

Arsenio Hall

Saturday, April 29; 7:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.


The versatile actor, comedian and producer Arsenio Hall first became involved in the arts at "The Cleveland Playhouse" and continued to hone his craft through his Kent State University years. In 1979, Hall moved from Ohio to Chicago, where he tried his hand at stand-up comedy and was discovered by jazz singer Nancy Wilson. It was the success of his Emmy Award-winning late-night talk show "The Arsenio Hall Show" that made him a household name. Hall has gone on tour, opening for twenty major headliners including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder and has made numerous appearances on television shows such as "Solid Gold," "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and a cameo appearance in "Amazon Women on the Moon."

All City Winery Chicago events are open to all ages and start at 8pm, unless noted. To purchase concert tickets or for more information on becoming a VinoFile member, please call (312) 733-WINE (9463) or visit