Country Music Bars in Chicago

Despite its urban surroundings, Chicago has long been known for its thriving, dedicated country, roots, and Americana scenes. Across the city, you can find everything from local hole-in-the-wall country and western bars, acoustic musicians performing in intimate club spaces, and nationally-celebrated roots artists in mid-sized to larger venues such like the Park and the Chicago Theatre. So if  the cold winter blues have got you down, here are a few of our top picks for country-flavored music events this winter month.

January 9 at The Hideout (1354 W Wabansia Ave.), 8:00 PM

Old Lazarus' Harp Folk Collective

Over the last year or so, Old Lazarus' Harp Folk Collective has turned the local roots music community on its head, emerging from a self-started organic folk/dance party scene into a regular name on the club circuit. The collective, which performs in a rotating style so that there is always someone onstage, features four core groups; foot-stomping Appalachian-flavored string band Can I Get an Amen?, old time/country vocalist Becky Levy, English folk-influenced Spitzer Space Telescope, and Delta-style bluesman Matt "Honeyhole" Johnson. Together, the musicians create an experience unlike pretty much anything else in town.

Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here.

January 10 at Joe's on Weed Street (940 W Weed St), 8:00 PM

Jamey Johnson

Alabama-born country songwriter Jamey Johnson stops in Chicago this month. Johnson's latest album, Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran (Mercury Nashville), his tribute to the music of the classic country songwriter, was recently nominated for "Best Country Album" at the 55th Grammy Awards.

Tickets are $36 and can be purchased here.

January 11 at The Hideout (1354 W Wabansia Ave.), 8:00 PM

Songs: Molina, A Memorial Electric Co.

Nearly a year after the March 2013 passing of iconic indie-folk songsmith Jason Molina, members of his former bands, Magnolia Electric Co. and Hiss Golden Messenger will perform a string of shows in tribute to their friend and his music. The set will include material from throughout his career, and the Chicago show will be especially memorable with members of  Songs: Ohia joining in.

Tickets are $10, and can be purchased here.

January 18 at Beverly Arts Center (2407 W 111th St), 8:00 PM

Henhouse Prowlers

The Henhouse Prowlers are an award-winning bluegrass quartet from Chicago. The group, which combines traditional and hard-driving contemporary sounds, will perform at Beverly Arts Center before launching an East Coast tour later this month.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

January 31 at Metro (3730 N Clark St.), 8:00 PM

Patty Griffin

Grammy-Award-winner and former Americana Music Association "Artist of the Year," Patti Griffin has gained critical and fan acclaim for for her stripped-down songwriting, poignant lyrics, and gorgeous, soulful voice. In October, 2012 Griffen released Silver Bell--which was originally recorded in 2000 and intended to be the follow-up to her poetic second album, Flaming Red. Refreshed for 2013, the record includes harmonies with Emmylou Harris, and was remixed by celebrated producer Glyn Johns.

Tickets are $19 and can be purchased here.


Honky Tonk

Honky Tonk BBQ: (1800 S. Racine Ave.)

Come hungry for Chef Willie Wagner's award-winning BBQ, and stay for live music Wednesday-Sunday evenings. Typical genres here are Western Swing, jazz, New Orleans' brass bands, and of course, honky tonk.

Carols Pub: (4659 N. Clark St.)

Just North of Wrigley Field, this neighborhood spot opens in the morning hours, and stays open until 4:00 AM (5:00 on Saturdays). Like the classic scene in the Blues Brothers, Carol's boats "both kinds of music--Country & Western," with a strong predilection for the classics of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

by: Jamie Ludwig, Editorial Style Manager and Rock Editor at ChicagoMusic.Org