It seems that anything Chicagoan crooner Janet Bean touches turns to gold. Her contributions to Eleventh Dream Day always elevate that band’s material from impressive to illustrious, and her collaboration with Catherine Irwin in Freakwater is consistently stunning. The Horse’s Ha is Bean’s new project, a partnership with Zincs leader James Elkington that fuses jazz, country and folk in grand, often surprising ways. (Local musicians Fred Lonberg-Holm, Charles Rumback and Nick Marci each have their hands in the project as well.) The record, titled “Of the Cathmawr Yards,” celebrates its release this Friday at Schubas, and it’s as stark and penetrating as anything Bean has previously done. Not to discount Elkington’s work either—his momentous, breezy acoustic-guitar-playing gives the record its backbone, his voice a nice match for his female counterpart. The Horse’s Ha produces a dreamy folk ready for long summer nights. You’ll miss them once they’re gone. (Tom Lynch)
July 3 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, (773)525-2508.