Birds of Chicago

May 19
7 p.m.
Allison Russell and JT Nero — late of Po' Girl and JT & the Clouds, respectively — established Birds of Chicago as an idiosyncratic chamber Americana outfit. The duo initially took flight on their 2012 eponymous debut, featuring a particularly supple blend of folk, country, gospel, roots rock, and soul. On February's sophomore LP, Real Midnight, the couple now refers to their music as "secular gospel" for its spiritual flair and their belief in the transformative power of music. There's also Russell's glorious voice, which is radiant with gospel's intricate grace and uplifting fervor. Yearning, aching, caressing, and testifying, she helps define an overtly raw, immediate, rustic yet intricate BoC sound. The group's other key defining factor is Nero's near-obsessive grappling with mortality, which basically comes down to bittersweet memories ("Remember Wild Horses") and the fundamental title cut question, "What are you gonna do with your days left in the sun?" BoC's answer is creating sublime music that ripples through your soul. Ben Lubeck of Farewell Milwaukee opens.