Concerts and Shows at The Magic Bag

Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express

Thursday, July 18 - Doors 7pm - $20 adv.

Chuck Prophet shapes his restless career with inimitable subtle flair: a vivid parade of razor-edged one-liners camouflaged in a slack-jawed drawl, songs about heartbreak and everyman heroism, drenched in twisted lines of rude Telecaster.

When the early stages of a financial melt-down coincided with a rare San Francisco heat wave in the summer of 2008, with the window open wide and Dwight Twilley, Iggy, Thin Lizzy and the Knack blaring out the hi-fi, Prophet wrote a collection of political songs for non-political people. Later, in April 2009, he journeyed to Mexico City, where, in the clutches of a Swine Flu panic and earthquakes, he recorded ¡Let Freedom Ring!, his most incendiary record, every bit as urgent as the title demands.

His search for a new perspective paid off, much like at eighteen when he left his native Whittier, CA for San Francisco, which he still calls home, and before too long joined Green on Red, a gang of interloping Arizonans with no small impact on L.A.'s Paisley Underground. During an eight-year run with Green on Red, he cut his first major label session with legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, burned through a couple of big record deals, and ventured a debut solo effort, Brother Aldo (1990). These were the first steps in the career that shaped Prophet into a prolific rock 'n' roll classicist.

But now, he has created his career high-water mark. ¡Let Freedom Ring! wanders into the fractured, surreal state of the American Dream and emerges with the most vital document of Prophet's vision, a reflection of life and love for troubled times.

To untangle topics so knotted, Prophet uses only the most essential language: little else but whip-smart one-liners, a guitar in each channel and a backbeat. There are glimpses in the rear-view mirror of American rock 'n' roll – names like Eddie Cochran and an instinct for lean guitar tunes – but the meat's fresh. There's everything from the capitalist hustle and the immigrant struggle to the impulse to forget it all with a lusty Saturday night.

For his journey south of the border, Prophet put together a band with guitarist Tom Ayres, bassist Rusty Miller and drummer Ernest "Boom" Carter (who supplied Springsteen the beat for "Born To Run"). Over an eight-day session, his ninth solo studio record was born among the gnarled chaos of Mexico City. Outside the doors were warring drug cartels, a crippling recession and the panic of Swine Flu that sent a city of 25 million cowering behind surgical masks. Inside, producer Greg Leisz (Wilco, Beck, Emmylou Harris) used Eisenhower-era gear and did little else but roll tape. It was Mexico City. It was panicked and paranoid. It was chaotic, beautiful, and hopeful. To gain a fresh perspective on his homeland from high on a flat foreign hill, it was perfect.

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