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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 12:03 am

August music awes

Turnpike Troubadours detour into Boondocks on Friday, August 5.


After the super summer so far, you might think we’d be slowing down a bit but things look to be charging full speed ahead into those august days of August. Onward into the music, my friends.

I’m proud to announce two special gigs I have this weekend. On Friday I open the evening for St. Louis-area acoustic folk-rockers Rogers and Nienhaus at the Legacy Theatre, hosted by Sterling Tax Service. On Saturday I join Sally Barris and Amy Benton for a songwriter-in-the-round session in the Club Room at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Proceeds from Friday help the non-profit Legacy group pay for a new sound system; Saturday’s payoff goes to the Springfield Area Arts Council’s Amp Up the Arts project.

From Friday through Sunday (with a special family night on Thursday), downtown Decatur becomes home to the Decatur Celebration. One of the largest and most popular family street festivals in the Midwest with eight stages featuring national and regional music artists, three blocks full of arts and craft dealers, 60-plus specially-picked food item vendors, carnival rides and the always spectacular Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade, there’s lots going on here. Always good at getting blast-from-the-past headliners, 2016 is no exception with Morris Day and The Time (yes, Mr. Day was born in Springfield) and 38 Special on the bill. The DC is also well-known as a big Christian music supporter, with a full stage dedicated nightly to those faith-based performers. In a fine example of what happens over there, on Sunday our local, contemporary country group Tennessee Borderline opens for Jonathan Jackson + Enation, a star from the hit TV show “Nashville.” Check out the online schedule for all the skinny.

The Virden Annual Picnic celebrates 20 years of fun on the downtown square with free, live entertainment and scores of other pleasing “Picnic” pleasures. On Thursday night catch ClusterPluck from St. Louis; Friday afternoon brings Gracia Harrison followed by Off the Wall in the nighttime. On Saturday experience The Suburban Mystics starting at 3 followed by Ultraviolet from 8 until midnight. It sounds like the party is a picnic in Virden.

Fun DMC hits a milestone of 100 shows with a performance at The Curve Inn on Friday night. On the Facebook invite, Ric Major, house sound man at The Curve and multi-winner of our Best of Springfield reader’s poll, commented this would be his “300th Curve Inn show, give or take a few.” Congrats to the band and a special thanks to “Skip” for his lifelong commitment to making musicians sound good through a sound system.

The Turnpike Troubadours, one of the best bands out there now in the Americana world, drop by Boondocks this Friday. Over the last few years of upward mobility in the music business, the traveling band from Oklahoma received praises from Rolling Stone, Paste, Playboy, American Songwriter and The Wall Street Journal, among others. These rockin’ country boys built a following of dedicated fans while selling hundreds of thousands of recordings all without a big record label, just through word-of-mouth by doing great live shows, making well-produced albums of killer songs, and keeping the faith that good music done well gets you a happy audience every time.

Also this Friday, the always incredible Lowder and Manning guitar-and-vocal duo play at the West of Wise Winery, just this side of Petersburg on Route 97. Sometimes the winery brings in local food vendors, but on this evening feel free to bring along a picnic, then settle in for fine wine and marvelous music in the lovely bucolic setting behind the winery.

Ready or not, the Illinois State Fair is coming to town next week.

Contact Tom Irwin at


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Sunday Aug. 18th