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Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 12:03 am

August with gusto

John Paul Keith and Motel Mirrors with Amy Lavere and Will Sexton play Bar None on Thursday for a Bedrock 66 Live concert starting at 8pm.


August in Springfield is ruled by heat and the events of the Illinois State Fair, which runs from August 10 through August 20. In the week before, here are a few doings to do (or not).

Tonight (Thursday) at Bar None (I hope you got your Illinois Times today) another hopping Bedrock 66 Live! concert happens with Motel Mirrors coming up from Memphis. Originally a duo with John Paul Keith and Amy Lavere, the addition of Will Sexton as killer guitar guy and an extra, excellent songwriter makes a really good group even better. Plus, they just opened for Lucinda Williams at Knucklehead’s in Kansas City last night (Wednesday). Last time Amy and Will were in town, I got to be cool and hang out and play some tunes with them at a house concert after-party. We were down in Memphis on Sunday, July 24, to get vinyl copies of my new record and missed seeing John Paul at the Blues City Cafe by about an hour. My luck has improved. Sean Burns graciously asked me to do a set of songs from my new record before Thursday’s show. These guys rock up a Memphis groove storm without breaking a sweat, but you will, if you’re dancing properly to the happening beat.

Check out the Billy’s Tumbleweed Retro Reunion this Saturday evening starting at 5 at Weebles Bar & Grill on Peoria Road (the old Horseshoe Lounge, for those of an age). For decades, Billy’s was a great, hard-partying, live country music roadhouse bar off North Dirksen, owned by the Barr family. Hosted by Mikey’s Entertainment, the reunion event includes performances by New City Road, Bustin’ Loose and White Lightning; extends invites to other musicians or customers to play and reminisce about “the Weed;” and asks you to come say hello to Shirley Barr via Facebook live. I remember first starting to do the Pub Crawl in August of 2000 (it was called something else then) when all the band listings were either dropped off at the office written on pieces of paper or faxed weekly (remember faxes?). I wasn’t supposed to take anything that wasn’t received on paper, but I always made an exception to call Shirley every Monday just to say hi, hear her voice, and get the music listings for the week. Time marches on.

Saturday night includes a special performance at the Virden Annual Picnic by a great and authentic Zydeco band from Louisiana called Dikki Du and the Krewe. Dikki, a third generation member of the renowned, musical Carrier family, plays accordion and washboard while singing the real stuff just like his relatives. The band plays Chicago the night before and Memphis the day after; then they head to home turf in southern Louisiana. I talked to Dikki, and he’s a nice dude and loves, loves, loves playing Zydeco his way, by way of the family way. You can’t go wrong on this one. I’ve been invited to play a set before Dikki kicks off the festivities, but then I am getting out of the way to enjoy this show.

What’s this, the Black Sheep Cafe is hosting the tenth annual Black Sheep Fest all day on Saturday starting at 3 and featuring some 15 bands with local visual artists on displays? Yes, Mildred, it’s true, and you can’t stop me from going, says maybe someone to somebody somewhere. But you had better be there or be more than square can be.
I’d be amiss to not tell you the Walnut Street Winery hosts Barry Cloyd from Peoria on Friday and Lowder and Manning on Saturday and an open mic on Sunday. There, I am not amiss.

Hang on tight; there’s a fair a-coming your way to a town near you.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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