Jamie O’Reilly’s “In Old Chicago,” reimagined

J. O’Reilly Productions, Cultural Arts and Blog
J. O’Reilly Productions, Cultural Arts and Blog
Jamie O'Reilly's "In Old Chicago," reimagined

Songs and stories of Chicago’s vibrant early 20c history — its people and neighborhoods, rich with arts, culture and feisty activists, are told, and sung about, by singer/writer Jamie O’Reilly “A Voice for the Soul of the City.”


Let us go back to this picture. It is twilight in the village of Tralee, not far from Killarney, in the early forties. (1840’s, that is!) The people are gathered in the street, standing in the shadows of the trees and grouped outside the hedge, waiting. “Hush” they whisper, “Mary Healy is going to sing.”

Aunt Mame (Mary) O’Reilly early 1920s
Eileen Dhu, Nell O’Reilly Tucker, model, artist, writer

Next Concert coming soon! Book this concert!
In Old Chicago debuted pre-pandemic at Chief ONeill’s Pub in Chicago to a sold-out house.  In this musical walk through Chicago and family lore, Jamie is accompanied by John B. Erickson on piano.  This fall 2021 she will present a series of live shows (at last), opening the concert series at the historic Givens Castle, in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood.

Just saw an extraordinary show “In Old Chicago” presented by Jamie O’Reilly at Chief O’Neill’s. Her gorgeous voice mixing poems with songs all with a thread of history of people, specifically the O’Reilly family, in Chicago: Sophie Tucker, Spanish-American War songs, romantic sing-a-longs, Haymarket martyrs. No hipster irony, just music she understands.

Robin Bienemann, Musician

Vocalist Jamie O’Reilly debuted this program in October, 2019 at Chief O’Neill’s glorious pub in Chicago, to a full house and standing ovation. The long-awaited concert celebrates Chicago’s vibrant history and her connection to it. Jamie reflects on forty years in her beloved city, with tales of its neighborhoods, and stories of her Irish and German ancestors and others: artists, writers, and feisty activists around the turn-of-the last century, into and following the first world war. Integral to the piece is the role of radio, and a bit of lore from and about Studs Terkel (a friend of Jamie’s), the truest voice for a by-gone era of the City of Big Shoulders. Songs showcase Jamie’s signature soprano in songbird-style ballads, romantic standards, sultry gypsy ballads, parlor songs, Americana ballads, and Irish songs. There are also songs written by and for her. She is accompanied by John Erickson on piano. Judi Cogan Heikes joins them, narrating and reading her own selections.

“She realized that there were a great many trains dashing east and west on the face of the continent that night,
and that they all carried young people who meant to have things.
But the difference was that she was going to get them!
That was all. Let people try to stop her!”
― Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark

Listen to songs from In Old Chicago

Love’s Sweet Song
Annie Laurie
Blue River
Hey Kid

Listen to Jamie talking with WGN Host Rick Kogan here:

Jamie’s on After Hours with Rick Kogan, Feb 2019

The In Old Chicago concerts are part of the Roots in Ireland Project

Support In Old Chicago and the Roots Ireland 2022 Project!
On the Projects page: https://www.jamieoreilly.com/projects/roots-ireland-2022-project/