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Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:03 am

Lady Carole turns 7

Lady Carole & Her Knights celebrate their seventh anniversary with a musical performance from 9 to midnight, at Fox Run, on Saturday, March 25,
As I write this, I’m looking out the window into the beauteous out of doors, like a schoolkid or state worker begging the universe for something to happen that would legitimately allow responsibilities to fly out said window with me right behind. But alas, no such luck.

Let’s start the week off with congratulations to Carole Vetter, better known as Lady Carole. Along with her band, the Knights, this week she’s celebrating seven years in the music business as a working combo. As Carole told me over lunch at the Fox Run Restaurant and Bar in Legacy Pointe where she will hold court for the anniversary party this Saturday, her love and performance of music goes way back. She performed in church for many years and could “read” music, but didn’t always know how, because of a lack of formal training. As she says, this ability to play by looking at sheet music, but not knowing anything about the keys or the business of really understanding how it worked, was nothing but “a gift” that she considers a calling of sorts.

From showing up at many jazz and blues gigs to listen and dance (oh, she loves to dance), friendships formed with musicians such as Frank Parker and Henry Miles. During conversations, the musicians found out she sang and asked her to join in at the Monday night Jambalaya Jam held for years at the old Brewhaus (currently Parker hosts this on Wednesdays at 411 Bar & Grill on Washington Street). To the surprise of everyone who knew her as a dancer and listener, the gal could sing and knew lots of songs. From there she kept going to the open jams until Mike, Carole’s husband, got her a gig for a birthday gift on March 26, 2010. That first show at Bourbon Street Rhythm & Blues started the tradition of Lady Carole & her Knights. She still approaches each performance with respect and admiration for the music and musicians, while being the band leader in organizing rehearsals, booking gigs and running the show with equal input from the Knights.

Carole’s current band of Tombe Kemayo (keys), Keagan Cunningham (drums), Tommy Lewis (guitar), Jerry Cole (keys) and Charlie Foxx (bass) work together interpreting a wide variety of easy listening songs, blending a generation of musicians into a connection that Carole’s husband, Mike, termed as “synergy.” All her Knights can read music, something she feels is essential to choosing the band’s material and performing it well. They continually add new songs from Sade to the Eagles to the many standards of classic jazz, R&B and pop already in the set list. Most of all Carole likes the joy her music brings to others and the goodtime feelings emanating from and to the listeners. She often hears from the audience that, “You all look like you’re really enjoying yourselves up there,” and it’s because Lady Carole & her Knights truly are.

In other news, Thursday night marks the return of Anna Fermin & Trigger Gospel to the Curve Inn with The Deep Hollow in support. The Brewhaus announces a new kitchen opening and menu with free pulled pork (while it lasts) and a performance by the Blue Gs on Friday evening at 6. On Sunday, Southtown is abuzz with the third annual Black Sheep Art Show in tandem with an open house for Springfield’s newest recording studio, Southtown Sound, both going on from 5 to 8. Check out local, intergenerational artists, poets, storytellers, musicians and bands in and around the venue near 11th and South Grand. Visit the Facebook page invite for all the details.

Now to get out through the window and into the wonderful world beyond.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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