It might be the Woodstock Opera House, but it’ll feel like Chicago’s folk scene in the 1970s when legendary singer Bonnie Koloc takes the stage.
Returning to the Opera House Feb. 17, Koloc will perform songs from her 15th and latest CD, “Seems Like Yesterday,” as well as memorable favorites. Many of the CD’s 16 songs were recorded long ago at the legendary Amazingrace Coffeehouse in Evanston, one of the many music venues drawing crowds hoping to catch the hottest acts in the 1970s.
“It was a time when I was in a real transition,” said Koloc, a singer and songwriter. “I’m not even sure who the musicians were.”
She does know who will be joining her when she takes the Opera House stage – Don Stille on piano and accordion, Steve Eisen on saxophone and flute, Elliott Delman on acoustic guitar and Al Ehrich on upright bass.
“I don’t get to work with the band that often, and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be doing this,” said Koloc, who first arrived on the Chicago folk scene in 1968 from her native Iowa. “Time goes by, but it’s been really wonderful. I still love what I do, and my band is fantastic. I hope people will come. You never know when I won’t be here anymore.”
Koloc will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock. Tickets cost $25 at the door or at www.woodstockoperahouse.com or by calling the box office at 815-338-5300.
Known as a folk legend, she describes her music as eclectic with jazz and blues thrown in the mix. Earning numerous accolades throughout her career, Koloc has performed on stages throughout the world, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as a member of Charles Neville’s “Diversity Band,” and as part of the Gordon Lightfoot tour. She sang on John Prine’s classic “Brusied Orange” and the Grammy-wnning “Tribute to Steve Goodman.”
“I’ve always done a real mixture of stuff,” Koloc said. “I just like different kinds of music. In the music business, that always worked against me because it’s a business in which they want to know what to call you.”
An artist in every sense of the word, Koloc also has found success with her visual and theatrical art. Her work has been featured in galleries and on stage, including a one-woman musical at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn in which she wrote the music and lyrics, designed and built the set and created all the costumes. She has illustrated more than a dozen books for Free River Press, working from a studio in Iowa.
“I can’t stand not doing anything,” she said. “I’m always busy. I hit the deck running every morning.”