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Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018 12:03 am

Old, new onesies


In the music scene, we receive great gifts in the form of musical moments throughout the year, but the amount of giving increases during the holidays. Indeed, one of the finest additions to this time of year must be the extracurricular concerts and music performances held around town. I refer you to the main calendar under the “Holiday Happenings” and “Music Events” categories to find those events not listed in our most humble Pub Crawl.

One of my favorite spaces has become active with live music again in the last couple years, thanks to the work of intrepid folk singer, songwriter, musicologist and musician Chris Vallillo in organizing the “Music at the Museum” concert series. Anyone not making the trek to the lower level of the Illinois State Museum on the second Thursday of each month is missing out on some of the finest music shows in the area. The acts booked are touring artists who may not be well known in town but are quite popular out on the larger circuit of folk and singer-songwriter venues on the national scene, as is the case with this week’s performers.

Known simply as Curtis and Loretta to most folks, the husband and wife duo of Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet has been making vital and lovely music together for some three decades. From carefully chosen traditional songs to brilliant, self-penned odes, these two take music and give it space to hang out for you to enjoy. Accompanied by an array of instruments including but not limited to Celtic harp, mandocello, mandolin, guitars, clawhammer banjo and National steel ukulele, plus a touch of kazoo, harmonica and shakers, they blend humor and realism in a poignant performance of super-duper stuff. This Thursday at 7 p.m. the duo performs a specific holiday concert in costume called “A Victorian Christmas.” Next month, on Jan. 10, world-famous autoharp legend Bryan Bowers takes the museum stage, with more shows coming in 2019.

As we enjoy supporting those who’ve spent a lifetime supporting a lifestyle which allows them to bring us heartfelt and important music, here’s someone just getting started in professional performance. Ella Gibson, a 12 year-old student at Rochester Junior High, brings her buckets of talent to the Walnut Street Winery on Saturday night. Her father, Shawn, sent me a message about this gig with information on her song selection and background. Ella will cover classic rock, pop and country, plus toss in some Christmas tunes while accompanying herself on guitar, ukulele and maybe piano. She sings with the school jazz choir and also placed as a state vocal finalist in ILEMA. The pipes are there; all you need to do is show up and enjoy. This might be her debut, but I’m thinking we’ll be hearing about Ella for years to come.

In the bar scene, Off the Wall concocted a one-of-a-kind show where you’re expected to wear a “onesie” to The Curve Inn on Friday night for a “Onesies Showstopper” event. Hopefully you will be able to get your onesie off when you get home or even find one in your size beforehand, but the plan is to be in full dress for the show and to help celebrate the “onesie and only” Ami M.'s birthday that same evening. You heard it here.


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