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Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 03:06 am

Weekend news for you


Big Storm (Brandon Carnes, Phil Sgambelluri, Eli Newman) perform at Porter Hazels Sunday, Feb. 11.

I’m writing from the road over the next few weeks, sending you this missive from the home of New Mexico scholar and poet Kendall McCook, now located in Fort Worth, Texas. From Kansas last week to Texas now, I’m off to Albuquerque and Santa Fe for shows there culminating in a tribute to beat poet, country songwriter and loveable rascal Kell Robertson on Feb. 11 in Madrid, N. M., at the Mineshaft bar. Then to Flagstaff to hang with Springfield ex-pats Mike and Sandy Standish for a Monday show at the local brew pub, on up to Pagosa Springs, Colo., for a Feb. 18 performance, and with a few other gigs tucked in along the way, that completes my Sangamon Songs adventure for now. Through the amazing world of the World Wide Web I’m in touch with the Springfield scene and here are a couple of interesting shows happening this weekend. As always, check IT’s Pub Crawl listings for regular events and wonderful surprises.

I’m not sure what rock I’ve been sleeping under lately, but when Suzy Carnes sent me info about an upcoming gig involving her son Brandon this weekend (thanks, Mom!), I had to look up the venue online. Welcome Porter Hazels (First and Jefferson) to the dining in and delivering out lunch crowd and also to the live music world. Recently the Square of the Roots performed and on Saturday, Feb. 11, Big Storm (with Brandon) and Jaik Willis play a free, all-ages show at 7:30 p.m. Expect good songs and fine music done well from anything Brandon serves up and Willis comes highly recommended as well. I played on a bill with Jaik in Bloomington-Normal through a connection with our old pal, Jason Eklund (who I happen to be traveling with now). Willis has also shared the stage with the likes of Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Wilco, Bela Fleck, Del McCoury, NIN, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Leftover Salmon and Justin Townes Earle, just to let you know the fine company he keeps. A troubadour of rare talent and incredible perseverance, the bearded bard plays hard and brings messages of hope and change in each engaged performance. Rolling Meadows Brewery is serving up some delectable Lincoln Lagers and other hometown libations during the show, for you drinkers of legal age only, of course.

Junior Stevens, an area artist coming from a different genre, presents a one-man band extravaganza on Feb. 11, 8 to 11 p.m. at Knuckleheads on Peoria Road. As Junior says, “I am without a band and not waiting for one,” so he recorded all the instruments to his songs as backing tracks, then he plays along to them at shows. Other than found drum loops which he chopped up to fit his songs as needed, all the music behind the guy with the mini-Marshall stacks is a pre-recorded stereo mix performed entirely by Stevens. With decades of experience playing in all kinds of bands in all kinds of situations, Junior claims to now “finally get the opportunity to follow my musical destiny” and is doing so with fervor. His repertoire, classified as rock/metal with melodic lyrics along the lines of Zack Wylde, is completely original. Now undergoing a creative renaissance, the 53-year-old singing, songwriting, rocking guitarist reports that “songs that have been cooped up in my brain for too long are finally pouring out and the live shows are powerful and must be heard.” Please consider catching an artist peaking as an important and vital experience, and get yourself out to see Junior do his thing.  

Contact Tom Irwin at

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