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Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 12:03 am

Friday February fun

The Boat Drunks with special guest Mac McAnally play Boondocks on Friday for a WFC Foundation fundraiser.


Sometimes the stars align and everything happens at once. Without a doubt, that day is Friday, Feb. 24. Not to say that more wonderful and terrific music doesn’t happen on other days, because we all know that it will, but Friday is a music magnet.

I hardly know where to start, so I will start with what I know. While I’m missing from my Friday night post at George Ranks (I’m in central Florida now doing separate gigs with Ken Carlyle, Patrick Hagerman and Joshua Reilly – three area musicians who relocated to sunny Florida), Liz Fitz and Epsom rule the roost. Liz Fitz is Liz Farrar backed by Bruce Williams on bass and Nick Murphy on drums doing cool tunes from Bruce Springsteen to Patsy Cline. Epsom is the bloodcurdling love fest of Scott Faingold, Steven Sgro, Kristopher Zander and Tim Harte carrying on about things you should know and care about. The bands will trade sets back and forth in the time-honored, punkified tradition.

At Boondocks, share in some incredible music by The Boat Drunks featuring the legendary (he really is) Mac McAnally while helping out a good cause. Officially titled the first annual Island Fever Bash, this event is hosted by the WFC Foundation as a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Illinois and the Matthew Project. It gets good when you find out that The Boat Drunks, based out of Champaign, are considered the finest Jimmy Buffett cover band in the U.S.A., and Mac is a longtime member of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. Mac has an incredible history in the music business with beginnings as a sessions player in a Muscle Shoals studio, making hits out of his own songs and penning others for the likes of Buffett, Alabama and Steve Wariner, just to name check a few. I spoke with Mac (thanks, Steve) and found him to be funny, modest, humble and sincere while being acclaimed as one of the finest musicians and songwriters working today (just check his CMA awards list if you don’t believe me). Mac’s presence on stage is a wonder to behold and his musical being is enormous and giving. Most of what we talked about was giving back from the marvels of music-making and the goodness that brings to our world. He’s dedicated his life to the cause, and his music reflects such beliefs.

No, we’re not done with Friday yet, as another friend of the Springfield music community returns when Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys pop into Bar None accompanied by none other than the Wolf Crick Boys from Buckhart for a Bed Rock 66 Live! concert. Big Sandy, a perennial local favorite since the beginnings of Sean and Jamie Burns’ Sangamon Valley Roots Revival, is out in support of more than 25 years as a band by doing what Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys do, and that’s playing gigs all over the place.

What else could happen this Friday? How about Harmony Deep hosting a Mardi Gras Party at Long Bridge or Rockin’ Johnny Burgin at the Third Base Sports Bar hosting a CD preview party? Or the Bad Mama Jamas featuring Casey Cantrall at the Craft Beer Bar or Nate Cozadd settling into an evening at Norb Andy’s?     

For something not on Friday, March 1 marks the beginning of monthly “Open Pic’s” at Abe’s Old Hat, continuing on the first Wednesdays until June, when the weekly sessions return. I hope you made the party last Wednesday when someone had a birthday (see Trudy, I didn’t mention your name).

If that’s not enough, check your pulse and check the Pub Crawl.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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