The Flat Five
Its members may not be household names, but you'd be hard-pressed to find five musicians with better credentials to form a rootsy pop band than the ones in Chicago act The Flat Five. Singer Kelly Hogan has been a longtime backup singer for Neko Case and a solo artist with a knockout voice for more than decade. Guitarist Nora O'Connor had a place in Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire before putting out a sweet, folky solo album of her own in 2004, Til The Dawn. The other components—Scott Ligon, K.C. McDonough, and Gerald Dowd—are all fluent in a scattering of instruments and capable of replicating dauntingly difficult five-part harmonies. And while alt-country or folk may be the common denominator among its members, the quintet seems determined to vary in genre and play anything underneath that enormous umbrella of "pop."