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Calling Todd Kessler a singer/songwriter simply wouldn’t do him justice. The rising folk-rock star is the consummate storyteller, with a remarkable ability to take listeners on a winding, wonderful, and introspective journey through the depths of the human experience. Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Kessler graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Music Theory and Composition. Shortly after graduating, he released his first LP, We Are the Musicmakers. In 2012, Kessler formed Todd Kessler and The New Folk, and they released their first album, Sea Fever, which was produced by Manny Sanchez (Patrick Stump, Umphrees McGee). The album’s release was supported with a lengthy residency at Schubas Tavern, but as it happened, Kessler missed part of the residency when he was chosen as part of Team Ceelo on NBC’s The Voice.
Kevin Andrew Prchal
At first blush, Love & Summer, the third full-length album from Chicago-based singer/songwriter, Kevin Andrew Prchal, is a rollicking celebration of its two titular themes. Radiating romance and whimsy, the album revels in the never-ending present of love; its songs ecstatic and tender, playful and impassioned. Early on, Love & Summer stakes out its territory—a green and blossoming world which Prchal explores with breathless wonder and delight. Musically and lyrically, its mood is pastoral: fiddles and pedal steel mingle with the recurring voices of cicadas, and Prchal draws on a register of natural images to populate its landscape. Yet even while Love & Summer presents an homage to this idealized world, the album is also—perhaps more so—a paean to an evanescent present, where, as Prchal sings, “time will fade like sugar on your tongue.” In this sense, the insistent optimism of Love & Summer is motivated less by the dizzy raptures of love than by a hard-won awareness of the fleetingness of things and a determination to remain focused on the here-and-now of real human connection.