They played before thousands at Millennium Park on Memorial Day, but Saturday, you could catch a secret show by harmony kings Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough at Forest Park’s Goldyburgers.
“[Goldy’s owner] Mike [Sullivan] is a good friend,” said McDonough, the ‘human jukebox’ who previously performed with the Beatle Brothers, among others. “The food’s great here and we don’t play many clubs where we’re treated with half the dignity and obvious pleasure at having us.”
McDonough and Ligon performed on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage two days later with their dear friend Kelly Hogan.
Ligon, who also plays lead guitar for Rhode Island-based party rockers NRBQ, played on every track of Hogan’s new album, “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain” which will be released next week.
Hogan traveled to Los Angeles’ Eastwest studios, where groups like the Beach Boys and Mamas and Papas once cut wax. Ligon, an old friend and amazingly versatile instrumentalist on piano, guitar and other instruments called himself her “hometown boy.”
Hogan recorded with musicians like 1962’s “Green Onions” composer Booker T. Jones and Dap Kings bassist Gabriel Roth. For the woman who was once Neko Case’s background singer and hasn’t released a record since 2001, the album is a big deal. The title track was written by Robyn Hitchcock.
“I wanted to call the album ‘I’m not worthy,'” she told the Chicago Tribune.
Ligon and McDonough are vital members of her band and key players in a circle of bands centered around Chicago’s Hideout and the monthly country music nights at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn hosted by cartoonist Heather McAdams. (Ligon is McAdam’s brother-in-law.) Bands include the Western Elstons, the Letter 3, and the Flat 5 with Nora O’Connor and occasionally Robbie Fulks. Ligon lives in Berwyn and McDonough further south.
Saturday’s Facebook-spread performance at Goldy’s was a repeat of an earlier series of intimate harmony shows that the duo has performed there.
“We don’t have any promotional materials for this duo. It’s just kind of … loose,” said Ligon. But the band was anything-but as they performed skin-tight harmony tributes to artists you’d expect such as the Everly Brothers and selections very rarely touched, such as the 1950’s jazz tune “Poinsiana.”
Then there was the now obscure Roy Orbison song “In Dreams” made famous again by one of the scariest scenes in the movie “Blue Velvet” (“The Candy-colored Clown they call the sandman…”). Of course the two threw in music by the Hollies, Beatles and “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel, maybe just to show off.
Goldy’s owner Mike Sullivan shook his head as he tried to articulate his appreciation for the duo.
“The first time I saw Scott was here at Goldy’s and then next thing I knew I turned on the TV and he was on the Tonight Show playing keyboard for the Redwalls,” he said. “The two have such incredible, unbelievable talent. And they’re such nice people. I just hope they make the money. They are so talented these guys should be living in mansions.”