Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / Music - Tom Irwin / No maybe for May music
Print this Article
Thursday, May 1, 2014 12:01 am

No maybe for May music

James Armstrong and band plays Casey’s Pub on Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m.


Wow, what a month of May music coming up. Yessiree, there’s no maybe about it; we are in for a blast of interesting and exciting music moments in the next several weeks. That then leads right into the summer season, including fairs, festivals, fish fries, homecomings, hullabaloos, house concerts, burgoos, beer gardens, blues and barbeques and probably a few other things as well.

Start your May fun on May Day by experiencing James Armstrong and band at Casey’s Pub in the Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road. James, a world class blues player who actually travels the world, now makes Springfield his home. Every Thursday he’s in town, you can catch the magic he makes playing music everywhere else, right here at Casey’s. When J.A. is on the road, other local bands take the stage, creating a blues night out every Thursday. Armstrong’s latest record, Guitar Angels, received rave reviews across the country, including down at Recycled Records where the album is for sale and can often be heard blasting out of the downtown store windows, to the delight of passersby.

Just to give you an idea of the caliber of James Armstrong’s music, he just returned from an East Coast tour playing the Iridium in New York City and Madam’s Organ in Washington, D.C. Last month, he was on WGN-TV in Chicago, this weekend he plays Buddy Guy’s Legends on Saturday and next Thursday he’s at Indianapolis’ world famous Slippery Noodle. Then there’s a jaunt down south, a run back through the area for another Casey’s date in two weeks and up to Chicago for a show at Kingston Mines. James is off to Spain for the first part of August, returns for more Midwest shows, and the constant and consistent touring continues. So, in other words, get out there to Casey’s and check him out. He’s really, really good.

Illinois State Museum hosts wonderful, ongoing events each First Friday that brings, food, drinks, live music and good times to the usually quiet and reserved museum space. Craig Russo’s Latin Project, featuring Russo’s percussion talents teamed with some of the finest jazz musicians in central Illinois performs at May’s event called First Friday Fiesta. The fun happening runs from 5 to 8, including salsa dance instruction from 5:30 to 6:30 with Apollo Shaw, featured pottery by Karen Fiorino of Clay Lick Creek Pottery on display and for sale, plus chow from Chadito’s Food Truck and libations by Pour Bar. Cha-cha-cha.

Also on Friday, country music gets served in several flavors in the capital city. Try Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours with special guest Amy Benton at Guitars and Cadillacs for tasteful, old-time country. If national touring Nashville radio acts fit your taste, sample Natalie Stovall and the Drive (they’ll be on the Grand Ole Opry, May 6) with Clayton Anderson at Boondocks. If you like your country local and popular, taste test New City Road at Marly’s.

Looks like our good friends at Donnie’s Homespun are hosting a couple of good causes this weekend. On Saturday, it’s Black Queen, Epsom, Sarah Sgro and Afterimage playing for the American Diabetes Association’s Kiss-a-Pig Fundraiser. We’re not sure about the pig-kissing business, but the music lineup is killer (Queen, that is). On Sunday, musicians, friends and family gather to celebrate the life of Danny Spencer and help raise funds for his family expenses. Hosted by Hipbone Sam and featuring Sleeping Doggz, Big Guy and the Mob, Setpiece, Roxschool and 11th Hour, the tribute runs from noon until 8 p.m.

The rest of May continues with the Fat Ass 5K, Old Capitol Art Fair, Highland Games, PrideFest and more. See ya then.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.


  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu