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Thursday, June 14, 2012 06:35 pm

Mid-June bits and pieces

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Mike Farris with special guest Ben Bedford play a Bedrock 66 Live! concert at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Sat, June 16, 8pm.

I see lots of exciting things on board for this week in the capital city. Let’s get to it, so as not to miss a thing.

The inimitable Don Williams performs next Tuesday, June 16, at the Sangamon Auditorium. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town, but you should go see the show. Williams is a true treasure and vastly underrated in the popular history of country music. Known as “the Gentle Giant,” beneath his sensitive and low-key presentation lies the true power of a brilliant artist at work. Musician fans include Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton, who recorded Williams’ songs back in the 70s. I had the great privilege to open for him at Nashville North, then stand backstage and listen as his band supported him in an amazing fashion. He sits in a chair, singing sweetly and every so often says, “Oh mercy,” in his powerful baritone with a mesmerizing effect. Go if you can, he’s a great one.

Good news from radio land as Deb Antoine, WQNA’s general manager, reports the CACC Executive Council agreed to keep the station going for another year with Deb at the helm. In her words, “The next year will be a time of building up the station,” and she and all of us who appreciate the WQNA music alternative thanks the council for their generous and thoughtful choice. When you have a spare moment, tune in to 88.3 FM and take a listen. The diversified programming is a delight, and with the programs hosted by volunteer DJs, you never quite know what’s going to happen. Odds are you will hear music you’ve never heard before.

In other good news for the Springfield music scene, Robbie Kording of the Timmys is about to release Patchwork 2012, the first compilation of area original music in several years. The last I remember was organized by then WQNA general manager Jim Grimes and came out some time ago. I remember (vaguely) a WDBR-sponsored compilation in the late 70s or early 80s that was on vinyl. Mike Burnett gathered folks for a benefit CD a few years back that didn’t get as much attention as the music deserved. The namesake of the upcoming new release was called Patchwork and came out in, I believe, 1991, sponsored by WYMG. It was available on both CD and cassette, received decent airplay on WYMG and sold fairly well right around the Christmas season. Robbie plans to release the 2012 version on June 29 at an NIL8 show at Bar None or shortly thereafter. We shall keep you posted.

The Bedrock 66 Live! concert series knocks another one out of the park this Saturday, June 16, with a sweet pairing of soulful, country-folk singer Mike Farris and area singer-songwriter Ben Bedford. Farris arrived in Nashville a few years back and promptly was named the Americana Music Association’s New and Emerging Artist of the Year in 2008, then won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album of the Year in 2010. Ben doesn’t play too often in Springfield, keeping on the road doing nationally acclaimed house concerts and venues as near as St. Louis and as far as The Netherlands. In 2010 legendary Chicago folk DJ Rich Warren put Ben on his list of the 50 most significant singer-songwriters of the last 50 years, right up there with Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Utah Phillips, John Prine and the rest. This summer he completes the mixing on his third album, recorded at the famed House of David in Nashville, with a release scheduled for this fall or early 2013.

I told you there was a bunch of stuff going on.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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