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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 12:03 am

So long February music

Harper and Midwest Kind blow into Third Base Sports Bar on Saturday, Feb. 24.


Well, that didn’t take long to wind through the shortest month. Certain parts seemed interminable, but now we look forward (for sure) and back (as needed).

For early evening, most excellent Friday night music, don’t miss the Brian Pryor Quartet playing cool jazz as the artist of choice at Robbie’s for our lovely Uptown Friday Night. Thanks to all who keep this precious gig going. As one of the longest-running weekly shows in town, it’s a sparkling tradition and strong connection in our scene, a true jewel of which we should all be very proud to see remain as a focal point of our local music and arts community. Johnnie Owens and Friends kick off a few blocks away at 411 when Brian and friends finish up around 8 for a logical extension of the jazz connection continuation.

Micah Walk rightfully and righteously books the music groupings at the Curve Inn for the monthly Thursday “Americana Night” event, and this time he had the good sense to put himself on the bill along with the ever-wonderful Amy Benton and some newcomer named Tom Irwin and His Hayburners. The term “Americana” was coined several years ago as an inclusive gesture to bridge categories as enterprising musicians merged various styles of folk, country, blues and rock into an amalgam of American roots music. In the last 15-plus years, the Americana brand has moved into the forefront of contemporary roots styles with an aggressive campaign supported by its own association, radio charts and agenda. As with most things, the good stuff needs no defining, and you’ll do best to decide for yourself. So just come on out, listen to the music, and call it what you want.

Maybe because I was so sick last week that I had to cancel two gigs I feel the need to announce two more special events I’m proud to be involved with this weekend, both on Friday night (because I, foolishly but selfishly, double booked myself). The Black Sheep folks invited me to join in an awesome singer-songwriter night anchored by Kansas City’s Doby Watson and joined by local, well-armed, songster artists Kate Laine, Heck and Whitney Devine. I will start the show at 7 then boogie on down to George Rank’s for our “Third Anniversary of Friday Nights.” Joining me musically will be the Hayburners and who knows who else, with Danielle behind the bar and ahead of it all. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make this relationship of music, libation, friendship and business a successful mix here and everywhere.

Saturday’s roundup starts at the Capital City Bar & Grill. As Greg Patterson of the Wolf Crick Boys succinctly says, “We’re sharing the stage with Sarah Schneider and Fireside Relics, who happen to be our actual friends and neighbors! Come out and enjoy an evening of locally produced, organic, free-range music!” He’s not kidding. Behind the bar in the old theater part of the building is an excellent stage with great seating arrangements for experiencing live music. At Third Base Sports Bar comes a rare bird called Harper from Australia with his band Midwest Kind, bringing his brand of harmonica and didgeridoo-based blues to the south side club. Manned with a powerful, peaceful voice and songs of equal magnitude, Harper does what he calls “world blues” and does it in award-winning and chart-topping fashion. Finish off the night with a pleasing portion of The Fabulous Hoedads playing acoustic-style at It’s All About Wine. The level of musicianship and professional playing is a treat to behold, and the FHs live up to their name, whatever it is that it means.

See you as we March along.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com


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