Kevin Junior, frontman for Chicago indie band Chamber Strings, has died at the age of 46. The cause of death is not clear though the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had long suffered from heart issues.
Influenced by T. Rex, Faces, Philly soul and the power pop of Big Star, the band formed in 1996 and released two critically-beloved albums at the turn of the millennium — 1999’s Gospel Morning and 2001’s Month of Sundays.
Junior last issued new music in December 2015 when a Christmas tune called “You’re Coming Home This Xmas” appeared on the Chamber Strings’ SoundCloud page.
Music attorney Matthew Kaplan penned the following note to friends and followers of Junior’s on Jan. 18:
I was totally gutted to hear about the passing of Kevin Junior, one of the most talented people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I did the Chamber Strings’ deal at Bobsled Records. I always said that, one day, both Gospel Morning and Month Of Sundays would be discovered for the musical perfection that they are. It pains me to know that Kevin will not be here to experience the adulation that he thoroughly deserved.
Last time I saw Kevin play out was back in 2006. My wife Jill and I had flown to Chicago to see Tom Waits at the Chicago Auditorium Theatre, and I found out that Kevin was playing a random show at some bar. We made sure to catch his set and hang out for a while after to catch up on things. He still sounded great.
We last spoke two months back just after the [Nov. 2015] death of Asa Ferry [of the band Kind Hearts and Coronets] about the sadness that we both felt with Asa’s passing. I had not realized that Asa, who I knew from LA, had been a one-time member of the Chamber Strings. And then a couple of weeks later, Kevin wrote a long Facebook post about his great love of Benny Tudino’s, a pizza joint in Hoboken that I took the Chamber Strings to when they were here on tour.
Rest In Peace.
Listen to “Make It Through the Summer” from Month of Sundays below: