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Thursday, June 27, 2013 05:06 am

Catch the June music bug

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Julie Gribble plays Donnie’s Homespun on Friday night with opening act Eva Hunter.
PHOTO COURTESY JULIEGRIBBLE.COM

We sure are on a roll weather wise lately, either sweating up a storm or sweating out a storm, with not much in between. Regardless, the music keeps pouring all the time and that’s just fine.

Speaking of weather and live music, have you been to the Old Capitol Plaza on the south side of the square to see an Artist on the Plaza show yet? Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer months, the Springfield Area Arts Council coordinates, and many fine businesses sponsor (always room for more, folks), an hour-long musical event starting at noon. One day may feature a local singer-songwriter and the next a group from the Muni performing songs from an upcoming show. With the amazing performers too numerous to list, just show up to support your local artist and get a good lunchtime concert in the meantime. And tell Sheila I said hi while you’re there.

Friday is shaping up to be a busy and diverse night for the Springfield entertainment scene. I have the honor of being on one of the fine music bills in town at Donnie’s Homespun. Starting at 7:30, I’ll be plucking a few tunes (I’ve got a new one called “All That Love” that turned out to be a doozie), then the fantastic and seldom seen lately, Eva Hunter takes the stage for a solo show. All this leads to a performance by Nashville resident and national touring artist Julie Gribble. Julie is a self-made, successful singer-songwriter with an acting appearance in a major motion picture, songs on several TV shows and films, and an appearance on Craig Ferguson’s national late night program, plus lots of awards, accolades and all around praise for being a good person, excellent songwriter and determined artist. Good stuff here.

Out at another bustling venue, Boondocks hosts the coolest band around, when Blackberry Smoke takes the stage on Friday night. A true Southern rock band with the long hair, hats and sunglasses to match the moving vocals, heavy guitars and soaring keys, these guys took about a decade of hard traveling to really make a name for themselves and get a well earned foothold in the business. Along with touring with the Zac Brown Band (and signed to the band’s record label), Smoke covered lots of ground, opening for big names like ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker and George Jones. They just got the call for an appearance on the Jay Leno show July 10, as the world keeps turning their way. But for all the success these guys really play for the love of the music and the joy of performance. And for the most important point of all, local music guru Kent Argenta says, “In my musical humble opinion this is a MUST SEE show.” So there you have it.

Hopping on to Saturday night, there’s a special benefit concert at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 7 to 10:30 featuring area vocalist Brooke Thomas. She will be supported by musical group the Blue Suns with Mike Burnett, Chris Warren, Dion Thomas and Luke Turasky, for part of the show, then Brooke sings solo, accompanied by the talented and lovely Bonnie Ettinger. The piano and vocal really exposes the beauty and essence of Brooke’s voice and the tasteful and exquisite playing of Bonnie, so make it a point to attend. The $20 admission covers a donation for the ALUUC and the Family Service Center, Brooke’s workplace and heart home.

As usual, I had to leave out much more that I could fit in, so there’s plenty of music out there for you to search and discover your own June music bug.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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