Emily Hurd with Stone Blind Valentine live in concert Feb. 16

Staff Report

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s next Charlotte’s Web performance with Emily Hurd and Stone Blind Valentine will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, at the New Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (formerly First Presbyterian Church), 406 N. Main St., Rockford.

Bluegrass singer/songwriter/pianist Emily Hurd’s style is the embodiment of gusto meets grace: from delicate country lilting to full-fledged belting. Her music is best described as a mix of rock piano, soul singing, folk songwriting and intelligent bluegrass rhyme schemes.

According to the Daily Gazette: “About equal parts Shawn Colvin (vocal beauty, heartland roots), Tori Amos (pianistic punch) and Maria Muldaur (bluesy buzz), Hurd displays plenty of charm and chops. In a clear, strong voice, with perfect but unfussy diction, she sings well-made songs. Her sturdy piano style echoes pop styles, New Orleans jelly-roll and playful Vince Guaraldi light jazz.”

Stone Blind Valentine is the acoustic project of longtime Chicago musicians Hurd, Colby Maddox and Gregg Ostrom. Gritty lyrics and unruly guitar get a layer of polish from bright mandolin and sharp fiddle licks. The group treads on bluegrass while digging into the heavy kind of rhythms that made Levon Helm famous. The band just recorded their first album at Chicago’s King Size Sound Labs; it’s set to be released later this year.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. To purchase tickets, visit www.mendelssohnpac.org or call (815) 964-9713.

From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue

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