Chicago music fans familiar with singer-songwriter Brad Cole know him as the host of the monthly Acoustic Circus at Elbo Room and for his work on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association. Cole is also a veteran of the bands Treatment, The Second Story and The Subscribers, as well as a recording artist. His new CD, Exile, is a follow-up to 2008's Highway 200.
The songs on Exile, driven by Cole's world weary vocals, are uniformly strong and offer up some nice collaborations: Van Ghost's Rocco Labriola adds cryin' pedal steel to the plaintive country rocker "Come Home"; "Waiting For You" features jazzy drums and noir-ish guitar; Kate Schell adds delicate backing vocals to "The Hardest Part"; "Monster" is distorted funk rock; flute is featured on "Crossin' the Line"; "My Oasis" has the jangle of early R.E.M. and the anthemic qualities of U2.
A solid effort from one of Chicago's true hidden treasures, Exile finds Brad Cole getting by with a little help from his friends.
Brad Cole hosts and performs at Acoustic Circus at Elbo Room on Saturday, Oct. 16.