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Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 07:33 pm

Never-ending excitement

WUIS show promises the finest roots, bluegrass, blues, and rock

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Among acts scheduled are The Infamous Stringdusters (above) and Elizabeth Cook (below)

Have you heard about the live-music series sponsored by WUIS (91.9 FM)? For those of you who still think the UIS “college radio station” only plays classical music and intellectual talking programs, well, you’re wrong. Even though a good percentage of the programming is dedicated to the aforementioned programming (we’re not complaining), the weekends are blossoming with a variety of shows. Most important to us are the locally hosted and produced Sunday-night programs, including Sangamon Valley Roots Revival, Bluegrass Breakdown, and Nightsounds. The new music series, Bedrock 66 Live!, promises “the finest roots, bluegrass, blues, and rock music,” similar to music played on these popular programs. Nine shows are scheduled, with the Infamous Stringdusters, Robbie Fulks, and Elizabeth Cook scheduled so far and the remaining acts yet to be named. They’re not household names, admittedly, but public radio is a champion of what is good for us and not necessarily the latest dish for the masses. You know, it’s like the difference between Hormel Spam and seasoned country ham — or we could quote the press release and call the performers “talented, lesser, known, yet critically acclaimed national artists.” Yes, that sounds so much better. Seven of the concerts are scheduled for the Hoogland Center for the Arts, in lovely downtown Springfield; the other two will be held in a brand-spanking-new venue on the UIS campus. The Suggs Performing Arts Studio, in the WUIS building, which has been a long time coming, allows the radio station to host intimate performances in an acoustically balanced state-of-the-art room. It is really a wonderful space, and it adds another dimension to the already acclaimed radio station.
Now that you’re all excited about this groundbreaking event, go ahead and call WUIS (217-206-6516) for season tickets or the Hoogland Center (217-523-2787) for individual shows. The first concert, featuring the Infamous Stringdusters, is scheduled for April 5, but that seemingly faraway date should not be cause for dilly-dallying. The sooner you’re on board with this, the better. Here we go with more excitement: Tom Russell and Gretchen Peters perform at Turner Hall in Mount Olive (217-999-7674) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1. Sally Barris and Celeste Krenz play the Trout Lily Café (271-391-0101) at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 6. Phil Wood (217-971-6162), with the band Psychedelic Circus, hosts a musician and band showcase at the Lucky 8 Tavern (Route 97, Petersburg, 217-632-7037), 2-6 p.m. Sunday, March 2. Give Phil a call or just show up to play. All ages, all styles, and all in general are welcome. Little Feat, with Craig Fuller of Pure Prairie League opening the show and likely sitting in on the main event, plays the Hoogland Center for the Arts on March 21. In “it’s about time” news, Micky Shomidie of the local rock group House of Nasty recently found music from his 1980s group Nasty Nasty picked up by a record label and being distributed. More on this later, but check out the news at www.myspace.com/houseofnastyonline. After some 30-plus years in the music business, a guy gets a break. How about that!
Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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