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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 09:56 pm

Blues, BBQs and beyond


The Wailers headline Reggae Fest at Donnie’s Homespun on Sunday, Aug 25.

The Wailers headline Reggae Fest at Donnie’s Homespun on Sunday, Aug 25.

I feel like I’m beginning to sound like a broken record – those were those big flat, black things with music on them we had many moons ago. Sometimes they’d get stuck on a scratch and play the same thing over and over. I still have a bunch with a working turntable and the records sound great – when they aren’t stuck. But my repeating broken record line is this: There are so many good and fun music events to enjoy in Springfield, I can’t make them all. An observation once worthy of a column now seems to be a regular happening. Hurrah for us!

The Old Capitol Blues & BBQs comes on strong with a two-day event, stretching from Friday night through Saturday afternoon and evening. This year with a different booking policy in place, the festival features local bands Tombstone Bullet, Black Magic Johnson, Murder of Crowes, Shakedown 66, Brooke Thomas and the Blue Suns and Backpack Jones, along with headliners James Armstrong on Friday and John Saint Holiday and Elliot Sowell on Saturday.

In addition to blues music, there’s plenty of tasty barbecue to eat and be judged, and there’s the Illinois Central Blues Club Challenge, where the winners represent the ICBC at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in February. Other doings include a family/kids’ area and special deals on advance ticket sales available online. For more information, visit downtownspringfield.org.

In other bluesy news, the Iguanas, a stupendously good roots rock band from New Orleans plays Donnie’s Homespun on Saturday night. These guys have done it all and are still doing it. They describe their sound as deep groove music with Chicano rock and Latin influences tied in with rhythm and blues styles to create a special blend of blues-based, Americana, Hispanic, New Orleans, gumbo stuff that just rocks on and out. With an NPR Mountain Stage appearance last spring, along with the release of a brand new record in April called Sin to Sin, plus a constant touring schedule, lookout – the Iguanas are on the move. Donnie’s also hosts a Reggae Fest with none other than The Wailers of Bob Marley fame headlining the event on Sunday. Rasta on, mon.

Boondocks continues to roll on with national acts on a weekly basis. The Northend live music club on Dirksen (the old Rockin’ Robins for those who remember that place, however foggy the memory may be) books an amazing bunch of acts. The independent minded Jo Dee Messina continues her delightful run in rocking country music with a recent, fan-driven, Kickstarter campaign that produced her latest record. She stops into Boondocks on Friday for what will be one heckuva good show. Our pal Chris Knight plays there with a band on Aug. 31 with Cody Canada and the Departed opening the show. Check out the Boondocks website (or the IT ad!) for all the goodies coming up.

On Saturday, Debbie Yates hosts a sincere and vital fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research at Capital City Bar and Grill from noon to midnight. Debbie calls her event G’ma’s Memories Festival and includes vendors, 50/50 drawing, raffles, DJs, bands, silent auction (ends at 8 p.m. sharp), karaoke and more. Admission is free from noon to 4 then it’s only 5 bucks (you can donate more!) until the end. This fundraiser comes from the heart. Debbie’s experience working with loved ones affected by this life-altering illness prompted her to raise awareness and money to help others, setting an example to be admired, emulated and repeated often.

Now if that’s not enough to do I’m not sure what you’re looking for, but – I bet you can find it in IT’s calendar and pub crawl pages.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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