Rich Krueger, a performing songwriter, has a pretty good following in the Chicago area. He’s not a household name, but a fair number of folks around the country have been exposed to his art. He was recently a finalist in the “New Folk” category at the Kerrville Folk Festival, and has been written up in European publications focusing on American acoustic music. He was also a member of The Dysfunctionells, who described themselves as “THE butt-ugliest band in Chicago.”
I host open mics, and Rich came by one night at The Grape Escape. He shook my hand, we chatted a bit, and I got him on the list. He got up to perform, and halfway through his first song, some of the regulars and I looked at each other and mouthed the same word: “damn.”
The guy got chops.
Afterward, Rich mentioned that his job would be bringing him to Redding for a week out of each month, and he would see us again. Oh yeah, his job: I talked to Rich three times at three open mics before he bothered to mention that he was a doctor. A neonatologist, to be specific. While it was obvious from the git-go that Rich is a bright guy, I was a little surprised, because Rich’s demeanor stuck me more as from a person who might be a world-weary downtown Chicago bartender–with a large streak of kindness–than a by-gawd doctor of medicine. I think Rich would be pleased with that characterization.
Rich will be performing at Armando’s Gallery House this Wednesday, December 20. Things kick off at 6 p.m. Some guy named Hal Johnson will open for him (ulterior motive alert). C’mon out. In the meantime, check out his EP “Overpass,” which is a sampling of his two full-length albums coming out next year.