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Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 12:03 am

Healing arts and blues

Chicago blues guitar master Rockin’ Johnny Burgin rolls into town for a show at Third Base Sportsbar on Friday, Sept. 28
Photo by Bárbara Sánchez Palomero


Other than the usual complaints of time passing quickly, we’ve had a dang good run of summertime fun, outdoor gigs and all. Now, as the festivals come to a close, with only a few left in early October and as the Sunday Funday patio and beer garden shows fade back inside, enjoy the time out of doors while you can, if you please.

Meraki Healing Arts Festival, a high-energy, low-key, organic gathering, is on a good run. After several years in Douglas Park, this fine fest, a good example of an event created, ran and enjoyed purely for pleasure, education and unity, moves over to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hardee’s parking lot and stage on Stevenson Drive, not far from the Taylor Avenue and West Lake Drive intersection. Meraki, according to the Greeker Than The Greeks website, is an ancient Greek notion considered untranslatable in one word, but means “doing it with love, passion and a lot of soul” with the “it” being anything from painting the house to painting your masterpiece. The actual happening goes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday with live music by Nighthawk kicking off the tunes and Purple Stardust closing out the night, plus several more musical artists performing betwixt and between. There will also be displays, booths, demonstrations and all kinds of stuff related to the healing arts, as the festival title implies. So go get your meraki going and use it every day to make the world and your life more festive and fun.

The blues have it this week with several major blues acts from local heroes to touring artists, to local hero touring artists playing in your town over the next few days. On Thursday internationally acclaimed guitarist, singer, songwriter and Springfield resident James Armstrong, known popularly as the Ambassador of the Blues, lands at the Curve Inn for a too-rare local show while Devin Williams brings his salty vocals and saucy slide guitar blues to Buzz Bomb Brewery. On Friday Chris Camp and his Blues Ambassadors deploy downtown at Craft Beer Bar for a heck of a blues time while Mary Jo Curry drops by the Dew Chilli Parlor Pub & Grill on North Grand Avenue to heat things up. Robert Sampson takes it to the Walnut Street Winery in Rochester for some Lefty Preacher blues work on Friday night then takes the whole show to Pawnee at Locals on Saturday. For a big finish to the Friday night blues Rockin’ Johnny Burgin rolls into Third Base on his way back to California after a long run out on the East Coast, continuing the Chicago blues master guitarist’s marathon music adventure of nearly nightly gigs.

Juke House covers the jump blues boogie beat at Lime Street Cafe on both Friday and Saturday nights while the Hard Road Blues Band blows their blues away at Capone’s in New Berlin on Saturday. Award-winning bluesman Joel DaSilva completes our weekend run with a dynamite performance at Third Base on Saturday night. Cap your blues experience with Levee Town, a Kansas City-based “hot rockin’ Americana trio,” who will bring in something different than your standard blues band sound to the long-running Blue Monday gig at The Alamo hosted by our Illinois Central Blues Club.

For the big event, catch former Springfieldian (close by, any-hoo) and now Nashville resident Kelsey Hickman with The Longmeyer Band at the newly opened outdoor amphitheater on the south side of Sherman on Saturday night. They say Kelsey was born to sing, and she does, doing the Nashville thing at the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and other spots while working on cracking the mighty music business nut.
See you in October!

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com


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