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Thursday, July 5, 2018 12:03 am

Jump into July

Midnight River Choir rolls into Danenberger Family Vineyards WineRocks stage on Friday, July 6.


Once the famed Fourth of July flies by and the corn is several feet past knee height, the summer season kicks into to overdrive, setting up a midsummer sensation of live music revelations.

Thursdays are turning into a hotbed of music making “pert near smack dab” in the middle of the week, and this one is no exception. The Fireside Relics will burn up the Curve Inn as they honor Ed in his last gig before he becomes a former Relic. Full of cool covers and awesome originals, these folks bring their A-game with every show. Downtown at 411 Bar & Grill on Washington Street, Frank Parker kicks up his Jambalaya Jam, featuring all the fixin’s from food to music, including New Orleans-style dishes and honest-to-goodness Crescent City jams. Frank is the real deal (he has family in NOLA and plays down there several times a year) and brings the best out of the folks coming in to jam.

The Red Dirt country music scene, generally originating from the Oklahoma-Texas roots-rockin’ country style, is well represented here on Friday night. First, Danenberger’s WineRocks stage presents Midnight River Choir and fellow Texan Bo Brumble along with our very own The Deep Hollow as part of DFV’s First Friday concert series. MRC keeps coming back to the area and making more fans and friends with each visit, and Bo is an authentic Texas singer-songwriter of the Ray Wylie Hubbard mold. We’re patiently (sort of) waiting for Liz, Dave and Micah of TDH to drop their latest studio project, due sometime soon. Out at Boondocks the Turnpike Troubadours, Oklahoma’s touring champions of DIY modern country music, are joined by Cody Canada & the Departed, a big-time rockin’ road warrior combo as well. To anyone familiar with the genre, it’s quite a collection of well-known bands playing in town on the same night.

Over in Jacksonville, the downtown weekly Friday evening concert series keeps on rocking with an appearance by The American Rogues, an internationally-touring Celtic Rock band complete with guitars, bodhrans, bagpipes, kilts, drums and dancers. They’ve got a good thing going over there on Friday nights with a local opener starting at 5:45 (this week it’s Gabe Marshall) and a national touring act going on from 7 to 9. Check out the summer schedule at and go get you some “Jax” on.

It’s a double dose of Mary Jo Curry on a north-end weekend, when the emotive, gifted singer, songwriter and entertainer turns on the blues with her band at Long Bridge north of the airport Friday and Weebles out on Peoria Road on Saturday. There are some things you just can’t get enough of, and MJC is one.

Chris Vallillo, Western Illinois’ favorite son of a folk singer, singer-songwriter and musician, drops by the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse for a bicentennial concert on the lawn this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Chris helps the community commemorate 200 years of statehood with selections from his vast repertoire of original, traditional and popular songs, including some favorites of Old Abe’s and likely yours as well.

Don’t forget to support and enjoy the Artist on the Plaza concerts held every Wednesday at noon on the south side of the Old State Capitol lawn. Why not spend all day downtown on Wednesday by catching the Farmers Market in the morning and AOP music at noon with a lunch? Then wander the streets and shops in the afternoon to be ready for the DSI-sponsored “Why Not Wednesdays,” when plenty of downtown businesses stay open into the early evening for your shopping and meandering pleasure. Yeah, why the heck not?

Happy jewel-eyes, you firecrackers!


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