Long the bastion of the South Side Irish, Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood is preparing for some blues after an overload of green. Just two days after the feast of St. Patrick, some folks will be stealing away to the Horse Thief Hollow Brewery for a night of blues/soul music.
The music on the night of March 19th comes by way of the Larry Taylor Blues and Soul Band. Taylor brings an impressive musical pedigree to the brewery as he is the eldest son of Eddie “Playboy” Taylor. The senior Taylor made his mark at Vee-Jay records as none other than Jimmy Reed’s musical partner, guitarist and sounding board.
The musical lineage doesn’t stop there as Taylor’s mother was blues singer, Vera Taylor. His uncle is esteemed guitarist Jimmy Burns, who recently released the highly-regarded “It Ain’t Right” via Chicago’s Delmark record label.
A musical family reunion will be in the works as well. Taylor’s manager, Bonni “Barrelhouse” McKeown said that Burns will be appearing with Taylor at the Saturday music series. She noted that, “this is the first time they’ve played together since Larry was part of the band in 2003.”
This also marks the first time that Taylor and company have played at the Horse Thief Brewery, which has been tapping into Chicago’s deep talent pool. They have expanded their menu, brew selections and musical offerings. McKeown said that Horse Thief’s bartender and manager, Lizzy Benner, has been a “spark plug”in the arts community,
Thanks to Benner’s involvement with the Beverly Arts Alliance, patrons can expect to see some unique art on the Horse Thief’s walls, According, to McKeown, Benner can whip up some pretty artistic cocktails as well!
Horse Thief’s owner, Neil Byers, was born and raised in Beverly. Obviously, he hopes to stake a claim to making the Horse Thief a hit. His efforts have not gone unnoticed as the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce honored him with the James Tyree Emerging Business Award in 2015. In addition to a $25.000 grant, Byers received high praise for his “popular, innovative restaurant and brewery.”
Byers was also lauded for helping Horse Thief become a “neighborhood anchor institution, creating jobs and investing in the community on the South Side of Chicago.”
The area wasn’t always so straight and narrow, The name “Horse Thief Hollow” comes from the disreputable fellows who would hide pilfered horses in the dense woods. The state militia cleaned things up in the 1860s but the legend and name remains to this day.
McKeown has certainly done her part to help preserve Taylor’s family name and musical legacy, Her movie, “The Rhythm and Blues movie” tells the true-life tale of the talented Taylor family living in Chicago during the turbulent 60s and 70s.
She is also excited to collaborate with Taylor and and the band on Saturday night. As “Barrelhouse Bonni” McKeown plays keyboards in the pre-World War 2 style common with the old Mississippi juke joints. She said she’s played “here and there, on and off” as McKeown has been “consumed with producing the movie.”
When it comes to Taylor’s musical output, McKeown said that attendees can expect to see, “a man who channels heavy blues and soul men, from Howlin’ Wolf to Jimmy Reed to Tyrone Davis and James Brown.” She added that, “Because Larry is a drummer, his body merges with the rhythm as he sings. Larry coaches his musicians to sound just like real blues and soul of the 1950s-70s.”
Checking out this live music at Horse Thief Hollow is a steal, too. There is no cover charge on Saturday night but visitors should definitely sample Benner’s signature cocktails and Byers’ southern-inspired culinary delights.
The music begins at 8 and is scheduled to run until 11. The Horse Thief is located at 10426 S. Western Avenue in Chicago. Call them at 773-779-BREW for further details.