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Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 12:01 am

Tennessee connection

Lyman Ellerman plays Guitars & Cadilllacs on Sat., Jan 17, joined by Chuck Werner, Jimmy Bonefeste, David Leach and Jessi James.


Prepare yourself for plenty of local action as clubs are filled with area bands this weekend. But a deeper look shows a Tennessee tie to the local scene now and in recent weeks.

Nashville may be more than six hours away from Springfield, but we certainly feel the gravitational pull of the entertainment mecca. Last Thursday, The Deep Hollow (Elizabeth Eckert, Dave Littrell and Micah Walk) played the City Winery in Music City, U.S.A. for the 30th anniversary party of the prestigious American Songwriter magazine. The local threesome rubbed shoulders (and got photos) with luminaries on the current market such as Jason Isbell, Elizabeth Cook and Jim Lauderdale, while showcasing in front of industry folks as well. You can see Micah this Saturday night at Norb Andy’s and wish him well in person.

On Friday, Lowder and Manning play the venerable Norb’s. They have a Nashville connection, too. Jaigh Lowder, many years ago, made regular trips to meet with publishers and pitch songs in the capital of country music. Jill Manning played invitation-only gigs at the famed Bluebird Cafe several times in the last decade, showcasing her songwriting talents among the elite. Now the two have joined forces to produce a powerful duo based on song, performance and stage presence somewhat nurtured by the Nashville presence.

Lyman Ellerman, a Riverton native and established Nashville songwriter returns to his home turf for a show at Guitars & Cadillacs Saloon this Saturday. Joined by longtime co-writer and cohort, Chuck Werner, along with fellow musicians and friends Jimmy Bonefeste, David Leach and Jessi James, Lyman presents a legacy night, performing many of the many, many songs he’s written during several decades of composing. A righteous guy and my good friend for a long time, it’s always great to have Lyman in town. We wish the best to you and to your long and distinguished career of making music. Guitars & Cadillacs Saloon also presents Whey Jennings, grandson of Waylon on Jan. 24, one of the numerous, locally produced shows of major country acts at this establishment.

The final connection leads us to Boondocks, Springfield’s home for touring, Nashville-based, country charting artists. For example, this week Eric Paslay plays Friday and Big Smo on Saturday. Then, Jan. 23, here comes Cody Jinks. So if you think Nashville, Tenn. doesn’t influence the capital city, have another think. Heck, Toby Keith just played the big shot, inaugural party for our newest governor. Yee-haw!

And what about Memphis, Tennessee’s other big music city? Our local scene sends several performers thataway next week to compete in the annual International Blues Challenge. Good luck to all heading that way and may you all be first place winners. More in a few weeks on the progress of our gifted competitors about to go head to head with some of the world’s best undiscovered blues talent.

Now here’s something completely unrelated, as Dirt Cheap plays in town for the first time ever with a show at Craft Beer Bar on Saturday. Expect original songs, some covers and plenty of cool jams combining funk, rock, bluegrass and improv from this five-piece out of Bloomington, Ill., featuring Springfield residents Jay and Kimberly Larson. Welcome!

Now that we’re getting familiar with frigid temps and gaining our slick surface legs, the incredibly inclement and disagreeable weather shouldn’t keep audiences away from attending the assortment of audacious shows listed here and in Pub Crawl. Those first few times getting out in the nasty stuff seems awful, then as we get used to it (sort of), nothing can stop a music appreciation experience from happening, hopefully. But be careful, please.

Contact Tom Irwin at


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