For whatever reason, Springfield likes having the blues, at least when it comes to seeing bands that play the genre. And this month, just in time to thwart any possible pre-holiday, lowdown blue feelings, bands are in demand and plentiful.
Our friends out at Boondocks, the new happening club on Dirksen Parkway (where Rockin’ Robin used to be located) recently established a blues time from 3 to 6 on Sunday afternoons. Dec. 16, Bluesmattic with Creek Walker play the afternoon slot, as Porkpie and the Northend Allstars with Zack Fedor and the Backseat Drivers go from 9 until 1 for a late night blues blast. This Sunday, Dec. 9, is a special event with one of the country’s premier up-and-coming blues guys, Bart Walker. The music starts around 6 for this show, catching Walker returning from a performance in Topeka, Kan., before heading back toward his home base of Nashville, Tenn. With a sweet gig as the guitar slinger for modern country guy Bo Bice, lately Bart’s been stepping out on his own as an accomplished bluesman. The Bart Walker Band placed second in the 2012 International Blues Challenge with Walker receiving the award for all around best blues guitarist.
Walnut Street Winery, another highly supportive venue for the blues, hosts Ivas John, the wunderkind bluesmiester based in southern Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 7, from 7 to 11. Born in Chicago and raised by a songwriting musician father, John gained an early appreciation for quality music. After several years of apprenticeship work backing other fellow bluesmen, Ivas set out to forge his own destiny and found good fortune. His schedule is packed with wineries in southern Illinois, trips to Chicago, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and lucky for us, Rochester. His records sell well and his blues star is rising: Ivas John is a treat not to be missed. Other blues shows happening at Walnut Street include Billy Galt on Dec. 21 and Black Magic Johnson Dec. 28.
In more blues news, Bourbon Street Rhythm and Ribs on the corner of Eleventh and South Grand hosts The Units on Fridays in December from 7 to 9. This bar was once Bruce’s Tavern and the original home of Blue Mondays, founded by the Illinois Central Blues Club. Those jams still happen with the Alamo now the longtime host venue of these classic weekly gatherings. Dec. 10, see the fabulous Hurricane Ruth with her equally fabulous band and on Dec. 17, harmonica master R.J. Mischo rocks the house. Then, due to holiday circumstances, it’s a Blue Sunday on Dec. 23 with the Blue Suns. Keep up with all the ICBC happenings on their easy to navigate website and you could give that special someone an ICBC membership as a holiday gift.
Now for a brief rundown of the other blues dates I found this month. Harmonica man Bad Bill with the Hard Road Blues Band rolls into the Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford on Sunday, Dec. 9. Pier 55 Lounge out on Toronto Road kicks off a Friday blues night with Hipbone Sam on Dec. 7 and Porkpie and the Northend Allstars on Dec. 14. Tombstone Bullet blasts into the Corner Pub on Dec. 17, the Mojo Cats play the VFW hall on Old Jacksonville Road on Dec. 7 and together, both bands host an open jam at Casey’s Pub on Sunday, Dec. 30, to top off all this bluesy-ness business.
And that’s just all I could find on a quick search through the Pub Crawl, so feel free to continue the blues adventure. The best cure and preventative for getting the blues is hearing some.
Contact Tom Irwin at email@example.com.