Jamie O’Reilly’s SongBirds Series

With the SongBirds Series featuring Tough Broads & Tender Lasses, celebrated vocalist Jamie O’Reilly’s versatile instrument shines with songs to lift the spirit; folksongs, World War II blitz-ballads, torch songs, lullabies, anthems, humor and novelty tunes.

“It moves me every time I hear you…She’s one of a kind, ladies and gentlemen. One of a kind.”
Rick Kogan, WGN Radio 720

Jamie performs the unforgettable songs our grandmothers sang from sheet music picked-up at the five and dime. The Top 40 radio hits played during the war years. Songs heard in old movies, sung in the parlor, music hall, cabaret, and around the dinner table. Signature songs Jamie wrote with her late partner Michael Smith, from their critically celebrated theater productions and recordings, round out the program.

Tough Broads and Tender Lasses: Songs of Resilience

What keeps an artist going? Daydreaming, dancing, cooking, gardening, family, love, determination in the face of adversity, prayer, poetry, art and music. And hope.

In this inspiring program in the SongBirds Series, Jamie honors the 20th century chanteuse — women who met adversity and struggle with tenacity and vigor — leaving behind classic songs and stories. These are women who weathered the stormy entertainment world with determination and vivacity, surviving world wars, poverty, and personal loss. Paired with the concert is Jamie’s SongNotes Blog and Podcasts, presenting the stories behind the songs.

Women in Tough Broads & Tender Lasses
Women in Tough Broads & Tender Lasses

Jamie performs an uplifting and intimate program of songs about and by singers and songwriters who influenced her distinctive vocal style. Among them: Vera Lynn, Judy Garland, Mahalia Jackson, Sophie Tucker, Jeanette MacDonald, Ella Fitzgerald, Victoria de los Angeles, Edith Piaf, Dionne Warwick, Martha Schlamme, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Lucinda Williams and lifelong friend Anne Hills.

Jamie is accompanied by the fine jazz pianist John Erickson. Judi Cogan Heikes reads poems of resilience by Wendell Barry, Muriel Rukeyser, Emma Lazarus, and others.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Rick Kogan on WGN Radio.

Listen here to Can’t Make These Shoulders Behave

Blue River with John Erickson

Read more on the event pages.

Posters by Nia O’Reilly Amandes
Photograph by Iwona Biedermann