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Thursday, July 3, 2014 12:01 am

In-between Independence Days

Jim McCarty, founding member and drummer of the Yardbirds, steps out to sing and play guitar as “The Frontman,” on Thursday, July 3, at Donnie’s Homespun.


Here’s one thing on that Declaration of Independence stuff, in case you need some trivia tidbits to carry you through the holiday happenings.

As Mr. Howie Baird, our delightfully cantankerous civics and history teacher at Pleasant Plains High liked to remind his students, the resolution declaring independence from the crown of England actually passed the Continental Congress, after a good deal of debate, on July 2. That became the date John Adams famously expected us to celebrate our independence holiday. But it was on July 4 that the Thomas Jefferson-penned document was approved and some Congress attendees signed. When the declaration was printed later that day for colonial and worldwide distribution (under the careful supervision of none other than Mr. Jefferson), July 4, 1776, was placed front and center at the top of the page, sealing the fate of our holiday date. Isn’t that nice to know? Now look at all these music events happening in between those dates on Thursday, July 3.

Jim McCarty, founding member/drummer and songwriter of the Yardbirds, undeniably one of the most influential 60s Brit-rock bands, takes the stage at Donnie’s Homespun. As the Yardbirds complete a tour of the U.S, he steps out from behind the kit, to become, “Jim McCarty, Frontman,” for several dates around the Midwest. A card-carrying member of the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame, McCarty, who also founded progressive rock bands Renaissance and Illusion, recently released, Jim McCarty - Frontman for Record Store Day. The double LP, vinyl-only release on MCM Records, was compiled from his solo songs and other cuts, by Craig Moore of Peoria. Moore. a longtime area musician and friend of McCarty’s, plays bass in the Frontman group performing on Thursday. Opening the show at Donnie’s are Illinois National and The Good Companion.

World-renowned bluesman and Springfield resident James Armstrong plays The Alamo, from 6 to 9. Fresh from a mid-June performance at the famed Chicago Blues Festival, James plays cuts from his wonderful latest recording, Guitar Angels, along with other gems from his mostly self-penned blues catalog. Make a point to see our talented friend now before he hits the road hard, for the next several months. He starts with a visit to Washington, D.C., plus a few stops along the way next week. Then he hightails it out west, with shows in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Montana, before heading back to the Midwest to cap off the run with a gig July 25 at BB’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups in St. Louis. Then he takes a few days off before heading to Spain for 10 days in August. The dates continue into fall, including Friday, Sept. 19, at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago and a one-off at the Palladium Theater’s Ghost of the Blues show in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Oct. 10. Be safe James, as you take your music to the world, direct from Springfield, Illinois.

Out at Mowie’s Cue (we’re still on Thursday), get your Cajun on at the Shrimp Boil Musicfest. Royal Pain kicks things off, then it’s The Throwback Junkies, followed by Mr. Wizard (from St. Louis), with Off The Wall closing out the show, ending at 2 – yes, in the morning. What do you care? It’s a Thursday night and the next day is the Fourth of July.

Isn’t it nice how it worked out that our big party night falls right on the Third of July, finding a nice niche between the Adams day and the Jefferson day to celebrate our nation’s official birthday? While you’re ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the fireworks, please wish “happy birthday” to our music-loving friend, Kent Argenta, a real Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the Fourth of July.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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