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Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:01 am

April ending acts

Pimpin Henry plays Crowe Fest 14 at Crow’s Mill Pub on Sat., April 26.


A sure sign of the upcoming warmer season is the opening of outdoor venues. Curve Inn, consistently chosen by Illinois Times readers as the best beer garden in town, manages to keep the music going all year, but in the warmer months, Ami kicks it up a notch and the good, old Curve rocks on through the summer with steady bands on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, starting at 6 p.m.

Our venerable sound man Ric Major now turns the knobs on Thursdays and Fridays, blessing us with good tones to go along with the good tunes. This week it’s the Hard Road Blues Band on Thursday, with harmonica hero Bad Bill Robinson telling me he’s stoked and ready to blow with this hard driving, blues-rock band. On Friday, a young, three-piece traveling rockabilly band called Iron Horse puts on a show while playing the music. Saturday, The Shunpikers (look it up) take the stage as familiar faces in a new band. Ed Fliege, Tim Lacy, Chris Noonan, Scott Nichols, Gary Davis and Jim Cloney come together to cover four decades of recognizable but not worn-out music. Check out the Curve’s sweet-looking website for all the upcoming shows.

For our first music festival of the year, head out to Crow’s Mill Pub this Saturday, when Murder of Crowes hosts the no cover, just-music Crowe Fest. The music starts at 5 p.m. with Pete Sander, John Brillhart, Pimpin Henry, a Tom Irwin (that’s me) combo featuring Jay Larson on electric guitar, Murder of Crowes doing a couple of sets, Randy Charles and the Western Angels knocking the bottom out and Gary Fifer as the roving mandolinist sitting in wherever folks are lucky enough to have him play. Always lots of fun (and extra memories for those of us who remember the other Crow’s Mill); this one should be a blast.

On Saturday night at Donnie’s Homespun, the soulful Chicago-based band Old Shoe opens up for themselves by playing a full set to honor and pay tribute to a band so good, they just called them The Band. Be sure to check out Julia’s Lounge next door hosting regular acoustic acts in the refurbished restaurant and bar area.

Boondock’s continues to book terrific, touring, traveling bands, especially those in the pop-country market, including a just announced date by the legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on May 24. Be sure to catch the always entertaining Johnnie Owens Quartet at Norb Andy’s this Friday, in our “best-band-suited-to-a-venue” show this week.

Back Pack Jones, our high flying, area blues band scored some awesome airplay recently from their 2013 release, “Betsy’s Kitchen.” During the first week of April, “I Got a New Girlfriend” reached a potential millions of listeners as a featured song on Blues Deluxe radio, America’s longest running, syndicated, blues-rock show. Then on April 21, Paul Jones of BBC radio, one of Britain’s most iconic and revered blues-music hosts, played “Even God Gets the Blues” for his Easter program, putting the tune out there for many millions of Brits to hear. Congrats to BPJ, with more to come.

In other media news, local friend of music and to musicians Kevin Kennedy appears Thursday on the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars.” Kennedy offers a Danelectro bass guitar, documented as purchased and played by The Who’s John Entwistle in 1965, to show host, store owner and big Who fan Rick Harrison to talk about and haggle over. The internationally popular show airs locally at 8 p.m. and was actually filmed last fall. Does he sell or not? No spoiler alert here, sorry. Kennedy possesses other Who memorabilia and expects to return to the Las Vegas-based program later in the year.

See you on May Day.

Contact Tom Irwin at


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Friday Sept. 20th