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Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 03:34 pm

From Rhodes to Fulks

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Sonny Rhodes plays the K of C Hall on Meadowbrook and Iles on Fri., Nov. 11 at 8:30 p.m.

We students of the area music scene often talk around town of the wonderful dilemma actually occurring in Springfield. This strange quandary forces live music goers to make a distinct and difficult choice in entertainment opportunities. This Friday is one of those evenings.

Sonny Rhodes, the legendary and longtime Texas bluesman, stops by the Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook and Iles on Friday for a night of classic blues as only a septuagenarian blues performer can deliver. Sonny played in Austin, Texas, bands during his teenage years in the mid-50s and made his recording debut with Domino Records in Austin in 1958. He joined the Navy after high school and ended up in California, working as a DJ and musician. He signed to Oakland’s Galaxy Records in 1966 and lived since as a working blues musician.

Throughout his storied and stellar career Rhodes focused on the lap steel guitar as his favored instrument. While making some 200 records, touring Europe and the States countless times and altogether doing what it takes to make music happen, he became a purveyor of what is called the “Real Deal” in the blues world. Truly a master of the genre and a gentleman too, Rhodes garnered 15 Blues Foundation music awards during his career, and won in 2011 for his blues performance work on the lap steel.

Why, of course the good folks at the Illinois Central Blues Club, where new members are always welcome and old ones are always welcomed, bring this great concert to you. Come early for the 8:30 start time and partake in the fine Friday fish dinners offered at the K of C, along with a full menu of other delightful dishes.

Wouldn’t you know it, on the same night the fantastically talented and stupendously good Robbie Fulks plays a Bedrock 66 Live! concert at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Mr. Fulks, currently a Chicago resident and no stranger to the Springfield stage, is a leading performer in what was once the fledgling roots rock, Americana movement and is now considered just good old wonderful music in America.

Robbie, always keen with the wit, used on the audience during performances as well as in his lyrics, brings a new batch of songs with a special group of musicians for the show sponsored again by the generous folks at WUIS and E & F Distributors. To prove to you that the aforementioned Fulks is a both good and sharp, let’s let him describe in his own words why this Friday is a treat for us all.

 “It’s my special upcoming shows, dang it! I’ll likely not have this exact group of players together again under one roof, and I’m excited from skull to sole to make music with them, especially since it’s new music that we’re soon putting to wax. The deets: Robbie Fulks (guitar and voice), Robbie Gjersoe (stringed things and voice), Jenny Scheinman (fiddle and voice), Ron Spears (mandolin and voice), and Mike Bub (doghouse and voice).” There you go, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Just to add one more exceptional show on Friday, see IT’s Band Spotlight as Chicago’s Bobby Conn lights up Bar None. Brought to you by the Trudeaus, owner/operators of Springfield’s only (for now) craft brewery, Rolling Meadows, these are the clever folks who named beers Abe’s Ale and the Lincoln Lager.

Now that we’re all filled up on Friday, here’s a tip for next Thursday. On Nov. 17, the Sauce Boss, Mr. Bill Wharton comes to Bar None to make gumbo and music at the same time. The show is a culinary and harmonic treat for the senses that all participates in through dancing, eating, drinking and singing. Can’t beat that no how.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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