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Thursday, March 2, 2017 12:03 am

March on the move

Toronzo Cannon with Back Pack Jones entertain blues fans on Saturday, March 4, for the Illinois Central Blues Club 31st birthday celebration at Casey’s Pub.


Perhaps the warming weather trend we’ve felt through February made it happen, but things do seem to be heating up early in the music community for 2017. Before you know it, birds will be singing, bells will be ringing, and outdoor music venues attached to taverns will be bustling in their hedgerows.

Here comes the first weekend in March, just in time to raise our glasses in celebration of the Illinois Central Blues Club’s 31st birthday. Heralded as one of the oldest (and certainly one of the best, don’t you think?) blues clubs around, the strength of the organization has always come from its members. Folks who cared (and still care) to attend the shows and the meetings, all while being willing to make an effort to make something special happen is what allows the organization to function and survive.

They’ve seen ups and downs like any group, but overall the ICBC has stayed the course of the original intent to “promote blues music in Central Illinois.” They do it “by sponsoring live performances of blues music, promoting public education and an appreciation of blues music as a cultural art form,” as stated on the group’s website. You should go visit that site right after reading this and sign up as a member. Or you could go join in person at the concert while being as cool as cool can be. Either way, your support through membership fees and attendance to events is what keeps the ICBC going strong as a viable and vital community organization.

The night of music and celebration held at Casey’s Pub and called a “Party of Monumental Proportions” by club members features Alligator Records recording artist and Chicago native Toronzo Cannon along with 2017’s ICBC representatives at the International Blues Challenge, our local heroes Back Pack Jones. Cannon’s recent record, The Chicago Way, garnered four 2017 Blues Foundation nominations including Album of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year. That’s an incredible showing for a debut record and bodes well for those of you showing up for the Saturday show.

In other blues news, the Mary Jo Curry Band was at the Curve Inn for Fat Tuesday on Feb. 28. Juke House plays The Alamo this Thursday for the early evening James Armstrong Presents performance, leading us into the weekend party mode. The birthday bash continues after Saturday’s event into Blue Monday at The Alamo with our friend Rockin’ Johnny Burgin rockin’ the house. Then David Lumsden and Friends, including former Springfieldian and stellar musician Greg Pasenko, join the amazing Galen Weston Band at the Curve Inn on Wednesday, for a jazz-fusion and blues explosion.

Along with the blues excitement, The Fireside Relics, a local, original-music band that also does some cool covers, pull off a double, playing Friday at the Blue Grouch and Saturday at Bar None. Mark your calendars for an upcoming Relics CD release party scheduled for March 24 at Capital City Bar and Grill.

Next Wednesday, March 8, along with the aforementioned blues/jazz show (see Band Spotlight), check out this stellar concert performance for your enjoyment: The Black Sheep Cafe announces our very own blooms of rockin’ joy Looming making a swing through town before taking a run at South by Southwest. Joining the band of renown is Erik Nervous down from Michigan to rock your world, Spodee Boy (Erik’s cousin they say) and Livin’ Thing, too. Concert starts around 7 and promises to be a momentous time of epic proportions.

Next week we lose the blues and move on to Celtic celebrations.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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