Willie Nelson Adds 2nd Show at Paramount Theatre, 4/11 & 12


After selling out Aurora's 1,888-seat Paramount Theatre in record time, country music legend Willie Nelson has just added a second show at the Paramount, Wednesday, April 11 at 8 pm.

Nelson's two concerts at the Paramount, now April 11 and 12, will be his only Chicago-area performances this spring. Tickets are $69 to $89, and are now on sale.

For tickets and information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call the Paramount box office, (630) 896-6666, or visit the box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances.

The Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd., in the heart of downtown Aurora.

More about Willie Nelson and his newest solo album, American Classic

As a Nashville artist in the '60s, Willie Nelson himself penned more than a few tunes that have arguably become American classics themselves, including "Crazy," "Night Life" and the sublime "Funny How Time Slips Away." But that was just the prologue for the iconoclastic singer-songwriter, who would redraw the borders of country music in the '70s after moving back to Texas and settling in the musical melting pot of Austin. Along with fellow traveler Waylon Jennings, Nelson was labeled the outlaw of the genre, but he was more visionary than rebel, especially with the way he attracted rock fans to take a closer look at country. He was celebrated for his work with buddies like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, but scaled even greater chart heights by singing, improbably enough, with Julio Iglesias ("To All the Girls I Loved Before"). Along with Marsalis, recent cohorts have included Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel and reggae icon Ziggy Marley.

Fast forward to today, and Nelson is currently touring behind his recent solo debut on Blue Note Records, American Classic, referring as much to the man himself as to the storied Tin Pan Alley repertoire he explores on this elegant new set.

While it's common now for mature pop artists to attempt to put their own stamp on the American Songbook, Nelson practically invented the approach. He set the standard for, well, playing the standards more than 30 years ago with Stardust, perhaps this "outlaw" entertainer's most daring move, an album that many industry pundits thought would get him laughed off the charts and out of the biz.

Fans around the world know that Nelson can sing just about anything-and with just about anyone he pleases. As he sees it, "The more songs you know, the more musicians you listen to, the more writers you hear, the better equipped you are to decide where you want to go next. That's why I want to listen to everyone and everything and then decide which way I want to go. Then, of course, I might change my mind and go in an entirely different direction. But at least I have all these options."

On American Classic, he's joined, on vocals and piano, by Diana Krall in an intimate rendition of "If I Had You" that feel more like pillow talk than mere wishful thinking. He also duets with Norah Jones, countering playful protestations with romantic persuasion on Frank Loesser's "Baby It's Cold Outside." Backing musicians include such notable jazzmen as pianist Joe Sample, bassist Christian McBride, Krall guitarist Anthony Wilson, and drummer Lewis Nash; Nelson's longtime sidekick Mickey Raphael, his memorable co-star on Two Men with the Blues, plays harmonica, adding evocative, bluesy inflections to "Angel Eyes" and "Since I Fell For You."

Throughout the album, Nelson's singing retains its easygoing charm. There's warmth and humor in his delivery, along with some twinkle-in-the-eye sex appeal. Just check out his rendition of "On the Street Where You Live"-you can feel the eternal spring in his step. Nelson ends American Classic with a re-interpretation of "You Were Always On My Mind," the one-time Elvis Presley hit that Nelson took to #1 on the country chart and to Top Five on the pop chart in the early eighties.

For more information, visit willienelson.com.

In addition to Willie Nelson, music acts coming soon to Aurora's historic Paramount Theatre include Il Voce (Sunday, Feb. 19, 3 pm), Los Lobos (Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 pm) The Pink Floyd Experience (Tuesday, Mar. 20, 7:30 pm) Almost Elton John and The Rocket Band (Friday, May 18, 8 pm.) and The Oak Ridge Boys (Sunday, May 20, 3 p.m.). The Paramount is also presenting four amazing Broadway musicals during its 80th anniversary season in 2011-2012, plus a long list of family-friendly entertainment, comedians, and a new Classic Movie Mondays series.

The Paramount Theatre is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. Named "One of Chicago's Top 10 Attended Theatres" by the League of Chicago Theatres, the 1,888-seat Paramount Theatre, located in the heart of downtown Aurora at 23 E. Galena Boulevard, is nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, superb acoustics and historic, Art Deco beauty.

The Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Executive Director Tim Rater, Artistic Director Jim Corti, a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater professionals.

The 2011-12 Paramount Theatre season is sponsored by the Paramount Arts Centre Endowment, American Airlines and The Beacon News/Sun Publications. This season is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

For more information, visit the Paramount Theatre online at ParamountAurora.com.

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