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Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 12:03 am

February freeze out

The Urban Pioneers settle in upstairs at Buzz Bomb on Saturday night for an evening of hillbilly swing music.


Here it comes, and hopefully there it goes, as the Great Freeze Out of 2019 passes through this week, definitely affecting attendance at some of our live music shows. Just remember, there’s nothing like a cool music show to warm things up on all levels.

Thursday brings us a wonderful reminder of a talented Springfield-area native as our dear friend, Eva Hunter, returns for a gig at the Curve Inn. Over the last 20 years, Eva developed a consistent presence of original music with intensely written songs that framed her emotive voice with thoughtful lyrics, backed by strong arrangements. During the 2000s, she toured with the Nashville-based group, The Floating Men, as a supporting act and harmony singer, releasing three studio albums and two live albums by 2009. Her records were produced by Ric Major in his local recording studio and featured many of the top musicians from our scene. In 2012, she took a break from the exhaustive work of producing original music full time and began doing other music projects in her adopted hometown of Bloomington, Illinois.

Eva will be backed by longtime collaborators Michael Sullivan (guitar) and Bruce Williams (bass), as well as Scott Neuweg (drums). Marla Wilcox Plunk (keys/vocals/writer), also known as “Mar at the Piano Bar,” and a current Eva playing partner, joins in, too. Eva’s sister, Gina Hunter (backing vocals), a member of the original Hunter Sisters, where Eva got her start in show business as an eight-year-old singing sensation, rounds out the combo. The show begins around 6 p.m. (don’t be late), followed by another area songwriter with his own story to tell, as Micah Walk, joined by the Station Hands, finishes out the evening. 

At Lime Street Cafe, on Friday and Saturday (8-11:30 p.m.), a new jazz group called the Blue Note Boosters takes the stage with music and a mission. Featuring a seasoned group of area musicians including Buddy Rogers (saxophone), Chris Miller (keyboards), Rich Olson (drums), Mike Lang (bass) and Manley Mallard (guitar), playing jazz standards on the music side, the mission part involves hosting a platform for local high school jazz students to perform with and learn from these longtime players. Expect other local jazzers, along with various high school cool cats, to join in the merry music-making supporting the future of jazz. Be sure to keep on the lookout for more Blue Note Booster interactive shows.

On Friday, Anchors Away, a restaurant located in the former Norb Andy’s space, continues the long tradition of hosting live music down the stairs, with a performance by bassist extraordinaire, Kevin Ellis, and his group, Groove Orbit, with a “special guest.” Upstairs at Buzz Bomb on Saturday night, get set for the Urban Pioneers, a Texas-based, “Hillbilly Swing” trio of fiddle, bass and banjo/guitar doing the real stuff, real good. We’re happy to report they play hot dang music, because they’re also booked in frozen Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio before hightailing it back to Fort Worth in a few weeks. 

Supporters and DJs at WQNA radio report some awful news out at what is the closest thing we have to community radio around here. A virus invaded, and wiped out, the radio station’s main computer network, plus ice and snow damaged the antenna as well. At this point no one is sure of the final outcome, but the “little station that could” has survived troubles before. The word is, all involved are doing all they can to get “88.3 on your FM dial” back on the air.

Until next week, keep warm and be cool, as best you can.


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Wednesday June 26th