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Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 10:18 am

End-of-February fun

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Pokey LaFarge and the South City 3 tear it up at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, in the Club Room, on Fri., Feb. 24, 8 p.m.

My, oh my, looks like we’re in for a jam-packed weekend of music goodies. Here we go with a whoop and a holler.

First up is my quick report on recent adventures that took me through Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Highlights include being heckled by an elderly fellow at a senior center in Coffeyville, Kan. (“You know the difference between you and Johnny Cash? He made all the money!!), hanging out in Fort Worth, Texas, with Johndavid Bartlett, a still vital and active relic of Austin’s late 60s psychedelic folk scene that produced the likes of the 13th Floor Elevators, munching on the best green chile burrito ever at Fred’s Restaurant, Lounge and Package Liquor in Fort Sumner, N.M., home of one of Billy the Kid’s grave sites, seeing poet/activist Tammy Gomez tear down the house at the Mineshaft Tavern in Madrid, N.M., at Kell Robertson’s Ride Easy tribute, watching an imitation, metal, extra large pine cone covered in lights lowered from the Hotel Weatherford in Flagstaff, Ariz., to commemorate the Grand Canyon State’s statehood centennial, cruising with white knuckles through the San Juan Mountains in a severely moderate snowstorm, nearly running out of gas in the Comanche National Grasslands until discovering civilization in Springfield, Colo., and listening for hours to peculiar observations on life by Christian commentators on Kansas talk radio, until finally cruising into the Brewhaus (home sweet home) on Monday night.

First up this week in entertainment is Pete Sander’s Homegrown Folk show, at Bar None, 9 p.m. on Friday, with local stalwart singer-songwriters Ben Bedford and Micah Walk, plus Dan Tedesco from Chicago, with Pete in the fray as well. This show is always a pleasure for those searching to experience songwriters in the round. Also on the singer-songwriter front, Marina V and Ben Bedford are currently each promoting fundraising to complete new albums. Check them out online, then help them out.

Another great Bedrock 66 Live! concert comes to town on Friday at the Center for the Arts, featuring Eilen Jewell along with Pokey LaFarge and the South City 3. Jewell brings a variety of roots music to the stage from folk and jug band stylings to a Loretta Lynn tribute, on through country gospel, UK 60s garage rock and Chicago blues. Her latest record, Queen of the Minor Key, made many music critics and listeners lists for Best-of-2011, while continuing to stir up good gigs for Eilen and her top-notch band all over, with an upcoming Australia tour in the works. As she spans the globe, the music stays rooted in Americana and is indeed in the minor key with seamy and steamy songs of characters from the vivid imagination of this wondrous songwriter.

Pokey LaFarge originates from St. Louis and is making a splash everywhere, coming up with new ways to play old music. Considered by many (you know, those folks) to be one of the most inventive of the purists playing the classic, blues-based form that encompasses early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing and that laid a foundation for a good deal of 20th century popular music. I hear tell Pokey is a treat to behold, a treasure to hear and the South City 3 is a dance band beyond compare.

The MojoCats host an open blues jam on Saturday starting at 7:30 in Casey’s Pub inside the K of C Hall on Meadowbrook. A back line is provided, so bring your ax and join in the fun. Matthew Curry and the Blues Fury from Bloomington are participating too, so come prepared to rock the blues.

Soon I’ll be singing, as Willie Nelson croons so appropriately, “I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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