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Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:03 am

Green goes the music

On Thursday, Mar. 15, Annie Marks and Chris James play a house concert at Jubilee Farm.


Some folks could care less, I know, but I always enjoy the celebration of jolly St. Patrick, if for nothing else than enjoying music from the Emerald Isle and neighboring islands. If you’re not a fan of Celtic sounds, that’s okay too, because everybody parties when the Celts turn it on.

Let’s start with some non-Irish music on Thursday at a Jubilee Farm house concert featuring New York City musicians Annie Marks and Chris James. The duo, known for their intricate workings through harmony and melody, performs original songs on vocals and guitars with Annie on acoustic and Chris on electric.

Interested parties should send an email to for all the skinny.

On Friday the Black Sheep Cafe hosts a night titled “Singers, Poets and Activists,” organized by Clare Frachey and others with the support of the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault. There will be an open mic event from 7 to 9 p.m., plus many other things best understood by going to the Facebook invite page or just by showing up to experience this very cool happening that encourages participants to “Embrace Your Voice” and champion Sexual Assault Awareness month in April.

The hooley begins Friday night at 8 with The Emerald Underground performing their unique brand of Celtic fusion at Lime Street Cafe, including a timely visit from the St. Andrew’s Society Pipe and Drum Band. TEU continues their run at Lime Street Café on Saturday night with another visit from those bag-piping, kilt-wearing, drum-beating members of the St. Andrew’s Society in the plans.

During my Friday night show at George Rank’s, we will play a bit o’ the Irish in preparation for our Saturday afternoon, 2-to-5 gig as McKinney, Hennessy and O’Hare. Rick Dunham, sometimes known as Elvis Himselvis, becomes Willy McKinney and releases his inner Irish self with me on guitar as Gilbert Hennessy, playing songs from the Clancy Brothers and others. This year we’re honored to feature Theresa O’Hare on the Irish whistle and vertical flute, plus host a special appearance by Gene O’Acree on the bodhran, a Celtic hand drum. On Sunday we take our show on the road to Petersburg for an afternoon at Hand of Fate Brewery for those willing and able to continue the St. Pat’s celebration.

Skibbereen, featuring the Celtic and world music-stylings of Hank Helton and a group of dedicated Celtic-influenced musicians, takes the award for most gigs in a day with three on Saturday. The fun begins at the unholy hour of 8 in the morning at Floyd’s Thirst Parlor for the annual Eggs-n-Kegs event before the parade in downtown Springfield. Then they wander like good Irish minstrels to Chatham for the “World’s Shortest St. Pat’s Parade” with gigs scheduled around 1 p.m. at the Tap Room and then another later at AJ’s. After that the Skibbs mosey back to town for a 6 to 10 finale at Boone’s Saloon. Now that’s some day of playing, my friends.

Music in Irish-less forms abounds on Saturday night, including Bluesmattic at Danenberger’s, The Fabulous Hoedads featuring special guest Ron Stockert at George Rank’s, Fireside Relics at Crows Mill Pub and Thornhill at Walnut Street Winery. In a special event, well-known and respected Nashville songwriter Travis Meadows drops into The Alibi in Rochester for a night of his big-hit songs done his own way.

Looking ahead to next Wednesday, outstanding and contemporary blues man Selwyn Birchwood plays the Alamo for an early evening show. Then on March 24, the Illinois Central Blues Club celebrates their 32nd anniversary with Corey Dennison and Robert Sampson.

Always remember the luck of Irish is with you and to check your Pub Crawl regularly.

Tom Irwin can be reached at

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