[nggallery id=6]

Is Schuba’s the best music venue in Chicago? Probably not, but this tiny music venue has plenty going for it, especially its lack of a backstage. This charming quirk often leads to performers walking past the audience to get to the stage, which was the case with Sahara Smith, who walked right by several audience members on the way to the stage. The diminutive Smith performed a great set, and her sultry, enchanting voice was as good as advertised. I wish whoever was in charge of selecting the Super Bowl entertainment was at the show — I’m pretty sure Ms. Smith, a Texas native, would have represented the NFL and the Lone Star state much better than Christina Aguilera. To see some photos of Sahara Smith’s performance at Schuba’s, check out the above slideshow.If you’re looking for another exciting new face on the indie country circuit, then go see Jessica Lea Mayfield, who will be opening for Justin Townes Earle tomorrow night at the Metro. I saw Mayfield over the summer in Cleveland, where she opened up for the Black Keys. Her new album “Tell Me” — produced by Black Keys guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach (the one with the beard) — just came out last week. Mayfield’s from Ohio, has a drawl like Texan, and her music has a dreamy quality reminiscent of Mazzy Star. Tickets, $16, are still available for her concert tomorrow: doors at 8, show starts at 9. Check out one my Jessica Lea Mayfield favorites, “Kiss Me Again,” in the video below.

[youtube]mu9gbEf3aPQ[/youtube]