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Thursday, May 3, 2018 12:03 am

May music arrives

Joey Tenuto Band plays at Walnut Street Winery in Rochester, on Sunday, May 6, from 2-6pm.


With the sudden arrival of summerlike weather we rather skipped over spring, but that’ll happen some years. Now our outdoor venues are in full swing, and we’re watching for clouds from both sides now.

Venues that start around 6 and host live music outside on Friday and Saturday nights include Weebles (on Peoria Road), Long Bridge Golf Course (located just past the airport on Route 29), The Curve Inn (on South Sixth), Crow’s Mill Pub (on Toronto Road), The Blue Grouch (on Maple Avenue), Tradewinds (at Knight’s Action Park) and Danenberger Family Vineyards (near New Berlin). Expect to see your favorite local cover bands with occasional appearances from other types of groups, but generally the same bands play at different venues, so pay attention to your Illinois Times “Pub Crawl” to keep up on who is where and when, with no reason why or what for.

For you folks that stay away from the sunshine, our clubs that start at 8 or 9 and go into the nighttime (it’s the right time) include 411 Bar & Grill and the Brewhaus (located on different sections of Washington Street downtown), Craft Beer Bar and Bar None (each on corners of Fifth and Monroe), Smurf’s Guitar & Cadillacs (on Peoria Road), Trading Post Saloon and Lime Street Cafe (located on different parts of Durkin Drive) and George Rank’s (at Sixth and Laurel). Then, out of town, several small burgs have venues that generally do late night shows, such as Boar’s Nest in Athens, Kuhl Tyme Korner in Jacksonville, Connor’s Corner Pub in Tallula, BREWzrz in Thayer, and Walnut Street Winery and The Alibi in Rochester.

For a couple of hometown classics that don’t play in town often enough (in my opinion), James Armstrong does his blues at the Curve Inn on Thursday evening at 6, and Debbie Ross gets the band together for that 5:30 spot at Robbie’s on Friday. And I will give myself a pitch as a hometown boy getting a big thrill when the Hayburners open for the Old 97s at Boondocks on Saturday night.

Sunday, popularly known as Funday, has come a long way since those rest days of the not-too-recent past. Indeed, with the advent of wineries, breweries and outdoor venues, there’s nearly half as much music happening on a Sunday afternoon than on a Saturday night. Let’s start out at 2 p.m. with the Joey Tenuto Band at Walnut Street Winery in Rochester; Jimmy Riemer, Micah Walk and Dave Littrell at Danenberger Family Vineyards near New Berlin; Jones and Chase Acoustic at Vixen Hill Winery in Palmyra; Dan Rivero Blues Trio at Hand of Fate in Petersburg; and Baise, Marr and Lecouris at Sheedy Shores Winery in Loami. Starting at 3 p.m. there’s Al and Kathy Kitchen near Burlington, Iowa, at Ike’s Riverfront Tavern in Dallas City, and Tom Irwin (that’s me) and Friends at Brookhills Golf Club on Old Jacksonville Road, featuring the return of the indomitable Bad Bill Robinson as the only harmonica player in town to survive a plane crash and live to play on. At 4 p.m. here comes Michael Burnett at Mama Lee’s Sandbar near Mechanicsburg and Erisa Rei at 3Sixteen Wine Bar in Chatham. Then, Jay and Kimberly Larson close out the wonderful day of entertainment at Trail’s End in Curran at 5.

On Monday night let’s welcome with open arms and ears the return of Catfish to the Alamo. The highly respected guitarist, known as John to a precious few comrades, brings along those Sharks to join in some pointed blues playing for the long-running Illinois Central Blues Club sponsored weekly performance. Long live the Fish!

Contact Tom Irwin at

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