Arts & Entertainment

Rachael Yamagata will bring stories of love and loss to Schuba’s Tavern

Photo courtesy of Laura Crosta

Anyone who went through a break-up in the early 2000s will likely know American indie-pop singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata for her raw, poetic lyrics and melodic tunes such as “Be Be Your Love” and “Worn Me Down.”  These served for many as a soundtrack to our sadness.

As the bio on her website states, “Her troubadour of heartbreak songs are tonic for anyone who’s been run over by love.” Even if you didn’t personally get your heart broken, you also could have heard her music accompany others’ sorrows in TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C. and One Tree Hill.

On Thursday, Oct. 9 at Schuba’s Tavern (3159 N. Southport Ave.), Yamagata is scheduled to perform her complete debut album, Happenstance, for its 10-year anniversary.


“This concert will be the only time to see the album performed front to back in order,” Yamagata said in an interview with the PHOENIX. “The album was a translation of my first heartbreak, my youthful aches and the record that introduced me to the world of music.”

The talented singer will be performing songs that she has never sung live. She will also be performing with a new band, which she believes brings “fresh energy to the old album.”

With Happenstance turning a decade old, it’s normal to feel nostalgic. A lot can change in 10 years, and for Yamagata many things have changed, including her perspective on life.


“It’s strange to look back,” she said. “New experiences give you a different perspective on life, love and relationships. Things that used to floor you don’t floor you the same way. I’ve learned to laugh at life.”

With this concert being a special anniversary tribute unlike her other current tour shows, attendees can expect a well-rehearsed concert from a woman who has been in the industry for quite some time (her first musical contribution dates back to 1999 with her past Chicago funk collective, Bumpus).

Yamagata gave The Phoenix some insight on the entertainment she will provide at Schuba’s Tavern, as well as the scoop on her favorites on her debut album.


“A lot of hilarity and a great line-up,” she said. “Everyone plays a bit of everything so expect new sounds, even horns. It’s going to be a fun throwback to where it all began. My favorite songs on that album are ‘I’ll Find A Way’ and ‘Reason Why.’”

As a former student of Northwestern University, Yamagata called Chicago home for years and even spent time in some of the places many Loyola students go to today.

“I used to be one of those loner girls that would hang out on the rocks during lightning storms,” Yamagata said. “I want to go eat at Kamehachi and check out some thrift stores in Wicker Park if I have time [during my time in Chicago].”

After the tour, Yamagata said she plans on finishing her new record, hopefully having it done by February or March. She will also be working on her Pledge Music Campaign (a direct fan music platform that connects you to the artist of your choice and involves you in the music making experience), for which she plans on recording an acoustic version of Happenstance.


If you’re free this Thursday, make sure to check her special anniversary show out at Schuba’s Tavern, or Friday at Lincoln Hall for her current tour for a mix of all her albums. Someone like Yamagata who believes in love, loyalty and the lingering magic of music is bound to put on a good show.

To buy tickets for her Schuba’s Tavern show, click here.  For tickets to her Lincoln Hall show, click here.

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