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Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:02 am

March music

Lyman Ellerman and Jason Morgan play the Backroom Lounge in Riverton on Friday night.


Leave old February behind as we march into March with plenty of live music for the lamb or lion in you.

This weekend blues rules at Third Base Sports Bar with two remarkable shows featuring nationally acclaimed powerhouses. Friday brings in Johnny Rawls, a major player in soul blues who spent a good deal of 2017 touring Europe. Mr. Rawls is honored to have his current record, Waiting for the Train, up for the 2018 Blues Music Awards Soul Album of the Year and has had several records nominated during his illustrious career.

On Saturday legendary Texas bluesman John McVey and Memphis singer and harpman Brandon Santini do the Base. John played with everybody everywhere for many years, earning a resounding reputation as a profound, individualistic blues guitarist. Brandon brings in the future of blues as a relative newcomer who founded the award-winning blues band Delta Highway in 2003 (that’s fairly new in the blues world). Finish off your blues weekend on Monday at the Alamo with Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames, a Chicago-based blues guitarist who worked with many blues greats, including JB Hutto.

On Friday the Backroom Lounge, Riverton’s intimate venue, hosts our good friend and Riverton homeboy Lyman Ellerman. Lyman, a veteran of the Nashville songwriter scene for many years, is out hitting the circuit with his longtime collaborator and brilliant guitarist Jason Morgan. The legacy of Lyman’s songwriting speaks for itself, especially his recent songs that dig into the psyche of life as only someone with experience can do. His current release, “The Addict,” is a personal reflection touched by family tragedy that speaks to the core of addiction while attempting to understand and sympathize with those caught in this terrible trap and dangerous dilemma. Go to Lyman’s Facebook page and experience “The Addict” in a dramatic video, then please like and share the song to help further his hard work to reach others in tough places. Besides all that, our guy tells a good story, sings a good song, and reaches you in a good way.

On Saturday night there’s a benefit for the Nika family at Capital City Bar & Grill, hosted by Kathy Brennan from 7 to 10, featuring the comedy of Al Nimpson, Tim Laffey, Amy Watson, Buddah Eskew and Maurice Robinson. The fundraiser is to help out a 1-year old named Jessica whose family is supporting this “spunky” girl born with Down syndrome, along with numerous life-threatening medical conditions. You can find out more at a GoFundMe account under “jessica-nika.”

Good rocking with original music and bands playing instruments and singing just like the good old days dominates Saturday’s nightscape. Bourbon Street hosts Sam West and the Nightshift along with guests Death and Memphis. Epsom soaks it up at The Radon Lounge joined by Alec James, Veseria and Hushpad, with the artwork of Christopher Martin on display. Epsom just released an EP titled Redundancy; you can get it on Bandcamp, just in time for anything. The Timmys, Bruiser Queen and Jeff Williams will do their level best to get George Rank’s round bar spinning in circles, and Ultraviolet rolls into Big Shots out on Peoria Road for some good, clean fun.

Take time on Sunday afternoon to visit to Hand of Fate in Petersburg for a show by our good friends Kimberly and Jay Larson. They are really good and go really well with good beer and food. Over east at the Decatur Conference Center, the Juvae Jazz Society presents Steve Lilley’s Kick Brass Swing Band for a blast from the past into the future from to 2 to 5.

Keep marching to the beat of a different drummer.

Tom Irwin can be reached at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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