November Project

A few weeks ago I wrote about the wonderfully evocative, gorgeously layered debut EP of November Project, a band that rose from the ashes of the mid-'90s band October Project.

Last weekend, during a business trip to Washington, D.C., I had the amazing luck to find November Project playing at a nearby club. They proved as magical live as they are on CD, and promise an eventual Chicago concert and a full album early next year.

In the meantime, I have to reiterate my March 30 review check out their debut, a disc that I've been unable to remove from my CD player for long in fact, completely coincidentally, it was one of two discs I dragged with me to D.C.

CeciliaBut wait, there's more ... Opening for November Project at their concert was a D.C.-area group called Cecilia. This six-piece act is fronted by two sisters with additional help from their parents, and they turned out to be an incredibly entertaining band with beautifully rich harmonies and catchy songs that ran the gamut from bayou-drenched jams ("Not Our Day") dreamy folk ("All Right") to Dance Hall Crashers-esque ska ("Something About You") to upbeat, sometimes country-influenced pop ("Stay A Little Longer," "I Know You").

Call them a rootsy American version of The Corrs they certainly have the talent to achieve the same success. The band has a six-song demo CD which doesn't really do justice to their full live sound, but it does give a hint at the smart pop sense that they've quickly developed. Some major labels are already interested in working with them, and as it happens, they're playing three shows in Chicago over the coming month so catch them before they get huge.

They'll debut their instantly infectious, smile-inducing sound in Chicago at Schuba's (3159 N. Southport) this Friday night, and follow that Saturday with a show at Lincoln Park Zoo's "Rock & Roar" around 5 p.m. They may also sneak in a Monday show at Elbow Room, but that's still unconfirmed. A month later, on August 5, they'll be back to play the North Halsted street festival at 3400 N. Halsted around 7 p.m.

The band has already gotten some strong plugs from music types in the Nashville area, as well as their own Washington, D.C., but I wish I'd written what Dave Nuttycombe, a Washington City Paper writer said. This summed up my take on the band perfectly:

"I hear a lot of bands in the course of my job, but I don't hear a lot of hit music. After catching Cecilia's energetic set, there were not one, but TWO melodies dancing through my head. If "It Don't Matter" and "Something About You" aren't perfect radio hits, then I'm switching to an All-Sports Station. Forget Ricky Martin, Cecilia's music has been the sound of my summer."