Get to the Gig: Whitney

One of my favorite Chicago artists is set to be back in Madison for a third time — Whitney. They’ll perform at Majestic on Wednesday, November 29, less than a year since their last appearance here, and it’s going to be pretty hard to top their first two performances, headlining their first time at the Majestic, and opening for The Head and the Heart at the Orpheum their second time.

The band is made up of heartthrob Julien Ehrlich, tall, curly-haired Max Kakacek, Malcom Brown, Tracy Chouteau, Charles Glanders, Josiah Marshall and Will Miller. They’ve got a hefty lineup, though most of the music comes from both Ehrlich and Kakacek, who founded the band after leaving separate musical projects.

Whitney’s sound, which has been classified as indie-pop laced with country tones, is fairly unique. Their most notable song, “No Woman,” is a good embodiment of their given genre, though the whole album, Light Upon the Lake, attests to the aesthetic.

So, what has Whitney been up to since being here last? Well, being all over the gosh dang world on tour! They are literally going to be in Brazil, Peru and Mexico right before they make their way to Milwaukee, and then us. That’s pretty impressive for a band that just got their feet on the ground last year.

In addition to living the jetset life, Whitney has released a number of singles, as well as a demo album. First came a few Spotify singles; a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You,” which they played live at the Orpheum show, and a live version of an original, “The Falls.” A couple other covers followed — “You’ve Got a Woman,” originally by Lion, and “Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can),” by Dolly Parton. Originally, I had no idea that they were covers and was completely fooled. They sound like a perfect fit for Whitney, but perhaps with a little more swag. The latter song definitely has that classic country swing, though.

After these teasers, Whitney released a single from their upcoming demo album, called, “You and Me.” The guitar in this song is absolutely fitting to their sound, albeit a lot more upbeat – a welcome, refreshing complement to the more mellow vibes of their debut album. Just recently on November 10, Light Upon the Lake: Demo Recordings, was released. This album provides a raw form of their debut — they sound very similar, showing their true artistry. Dedication to sounding as true to form as possible must be a large part of their recording process. Sure, the songs might not sound as tight and polished in comparison, but it’s real. On the demo recordings, Whitney included their version of Glen Campbell’s “Southern Nights,” which is a new one for them. Compared to the funk of the original, this version is much more chill. They’ve given it their own twist, making it a bit softer. Though it seems that the band has been putting out a lot of covers, don’t be fooled; their ability to make each version their own, a window into their creativity and perspective, is worthy in its own right.

As they say, third time’s the charm, so that must mean Whitney is about to knock this show out of the park. See you there!

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