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Thursday, April 4, 2013 11:04 am

No fooling April

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Wayne “The Train” Hancock rolls into Donnie’s Homespun, Friday, April 5.

If last Monday someone tried to pull an April Fool’s joke on me by talking about the quality and variety of upcoming live music this month, I think I’d wholeheartedly felt foolish and fell for the whole shebang. But really there are some amazing shows headed our way in the next few weeks.

First let’s look at the tragic, yet hopeful situation of Tyler Self. The 3-year-old, recently diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, turns 4 on May 28 with three years of scheduled chemotherapy ahead. Thanks to Lorrie Eden for sending the info and organizing a benefit on Sunday at the Knights of Columbus Hall (Meadowbrook and Iles) from 2 to 8 p.m. with MC Ed Eden and DJ Cory Brown, plus bands, Seeing Daylight (2-3:30), Robert Sampson and Blues Gumbo (4-5:30) and Thin Ice (6-7:30). A $20 donation at the door gets you a meal and music with these decidedly generous bands joining in on very short notice to get this little guy’s family (Selfs and Pierces) some much-appreciated help.

On Friday Donnie’s Homespun continues a run of good acts by hosting Wayne “The Train” Hancock with opening act Patrick Sweany taking the stage at 8:30. Sweany comes carrying some sweet credentials, including highly touted references from Roy Book Binder and Jorma Kaukonen, among others. Wayne just released Ride, his latest on the Chicago-based Bloodshot Records, and, bless his heart, gives us more of the sure and steady Hancock sound that makes him a standard bearer in the traditional blues and country world.

No stranger to Springfield, Wayne first played in town for the blues tent at the Illinois State Fair (the few and glorious years we had one). I met him there as we drank and talked about the delicious flavor of Goose Island orange crème soda. Hancock had quit drinking alcohol for years (and still abstains I believe) and I was on the wagon at the time as well. He was one of the first acts brought to town by Sean and Jamie Burns for their Sangamon Valley Roots Revival, well over a decade ago. Always a solid bet for a rocking, bluesy show, “The Train” also attracts quality musicians, making the backup band, usually different on each tour, a surprise treat.

And speaking of Sean Burns, he’s booked another superb show for the Bedrock 66 Live! concert on Saturday night at the Hoogland with Field Report and Miles Nielsen. Yes, Miles is the son of Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick and a wonderful singer-songwriter in his own right. Field Report founder and frontman Chris Porterfield came from the Wisconsin band DeYarmond Edison that also sprouted indie champs Bon Iver and Megafaun. The new group feeds strong lyrics into swirls of reverb-laced guitar ambience with a swarming pedal steel cascading as needed to create a freshness of sound that impressed a bunch of folks including Rolling Stone, NPR, Time, Paste and Pitchfork in the press and Aimee Mann, Emmylou Harris and Counting Crows on the artist side of things.

Bluegrass in the Tallgrass, a benefit for our friends at the Friends of Sangamon Valley nature-preserving organization, hosts the Henhouse Prowlers on Sunday at Donnie’s Homespun at 6 p.m. The Walnut Street Winery has a heckuva lineup this weekend with Jeff Pearce (Thursday), Frank Parker and friends (Friday) and Billy Galt (Saturday). Jim Dandy and Black Oak Arkansas (didn’t they play the Griffin High School gymnasium in the early 70s?) hit On the Rox on the newly remodeled square in Jacksonville on Friday. Hipbone Sam opens the show that runs from 7 to 11 p.m.

That should do it for this week’s April Tom-foolery.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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