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Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:01 am

Making mid-May music

The Funky Butt Brass Band blows in from St. Louis for a show at The Creek in Chatham on Saturday night.


As foretold and promised in recent accounts here in this column, May is heating up musically almost as much as the weather did last week. Even though the current outside temps seem to indicate a climate control set on wacky, the music selections and presentations remain constant, playing it cool and keeping things hot.

What could be cooler or hotter than the Funky Butt Brass Band playing The Creek in Chatham on Saturday night? Any regular visitor of the St. Louis music scene has likely heard or at least heard of this classic and popular band based in the Gateway City and rooted in the traditions of New Orleans brass bands. Voted best Jazz/Funk Band in the Riverfront Times reader’s poll for the last four years and regulars at the Broadway Oyster Bar, the sextet consists of trumpet, sax, trombone and sousaphone with guitar and drums, plus everyone helping out on vocals. Thanks to the good folks at The Creek (located west off of Route 4, just before you get into Chatham proper) for introducing these guys to us on the house, with plenty of fine food and delightful drinks available for purchase and public consumption.

We wish the rocking and rolling band Sleepwalker a fond goodbye this weekend as they perform a final show at The Cove on Saturday night. For nearly six years the quartet rocked the house all over central Illinois with a variety of popular tunes and surprising covers. Rusty Koehler, who played bass and sang in many classic area bands (Starry Eye comes to mind), is moving on and his longtime buddy Keith Dunlap (rhythm guitar, vocals), along with Tony Grissom (drums, vocals) and Dave Boedecker (guitar, keys and vocals) decided to end the group rather than try to recapture the sound with a replacement. You’ll likely see original Sleepwalker, Kortney Leatherwood on Saturday with Ted Russell “there in spirit” as the quartet lives up to its motto of “playing good music and having fun,” one last time.

On Friday, catch an excellent, on-the-rise singer-songwriter with a rocking band as Ernie Hendrickson performs at Donnie’s Homespun with local Dead jammers Sunshine Daydream opening. His recent CD, One for the Dreamers, recorded near Nashville, Tenn., under the steady hands of world-class producers and musicians, garnered Wisconsin native critical comparisons to Tom Petty and Ryan Adams with reviews in national publications such as Relix and American Songwriter. Hendrickson plays quite a bit around Illinois and used several Americana musicians from Chicago on previous records. Look him up on the Web and enjoy several YouTube videos out there. Good stuff, man.

The Paris-Belle Concerts in Williamsville host a full weekend of music with reservations available at On Friday, hear a classical music concert of classic pieces performed by a local group called Heritage String Quartet and Switchback, the Celtic-Americana duo that most recently played the Hoogland around St. Patrick’s Day, comes in on Saturday night.

Boondocks booked a sweet three-day run starting with Johnny Lee and the Urban Cowboy Band on Thursday. Yes, he’s the same Johnny Lee from the Urban Cowboy movie and soundtrack. Is he still “looking for love in all the wrong places”? You have to go to find out. KFD on Friday and Brushville on Saturday finish out the hit-filled weekend. Just park the van in the lot and plan on hanging out for awhile, my friends.

Remember all this is going on while plenty of great music happens downtown at the Old Capitol Art Fair and PrideFest, and at the St. Andrew’s Society’s Highland Games in Chatham, as well as the usual haunts and watering holes hosting live music on a regular basis. This may be the best May ever for area music.

Contact Tom Irwin at


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