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Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 12:03 am

Songs for the heart

The Illinois Central Blues Club hosts Emily Burgess & the Emburys at the Alamo, Feb. 18, for Blue Monday.


We open up this week on St. Valentine’s Day and you can cross your heart that live music will be a good part of many plans for a happy sweetheart’s day.

I know I said live music will play a role in some valentine’s dream dates, but I think karaoke could work for you happy couples as well. I see it being a fun activity to lighten up, and maybe even brighten up, a night out on the town. You could double up on duets or pick “your” song to sing or do a tune your sweetie might never imagine, in a lifetime of love, coming out of your mouth. Sometimes the great fun in going to karaoke night is not participating, but enjoying the antics of others as they attempt the “singing with the machine” way of life. And if you do, you will discover the very connected and respected world of karaoke that lives in the bars and clubs of our fair city. Check the live music listings in IT each week for a karaoke night near you and pay attention to the hosts, since they greatly influence how the night goes.

For live music on Valentine’s Day evening proper, look for a real couple of musicians, as Jess and Brandon play old-school Looming as a duo at Buzz Bomb for a fun night they’re calling XOXO’s & Ex’s: A Looming Valentine. Chris Camp and his merry band of Blues Ambassadors slide into Anchors Away for some valentine blues and I will be solo-serenading the folks in Pawnee at 1854 Wine Pub with all the love songs I can muster. In Pease’s at Bunn Gourmet you may purchase something sweet for your sweetheart while listening to some sweet, mostly original, tunes by Buckhart Road (Marty Morris and Tom Beverly), just as the latest open mic to hit town rules the roost at Crows Mill Pub.

The music just keeps coming on Friday and Saturday, then swells with flourish on Sunday afternoon/evening, before continuing into the weekdays with more and more music. For something other than our quite exceptional local acts playing all over the place there are a few out of town groups heading into the capital city this weekend. Whitey Morgan, playing his brand of modern outlaw country with an updated classic country twist rolls into Boondocks on Saturday night. Whitey, a road dog who has been to Springfield several times over the years, has a singing-songwriter fellow named Alex Williams presently out on tour with him.

Alex grew up near Indianapolis, tried Nashville, then ended up in Texas before catching the ears of Big Machine Label Group’s top guy. He’s now out playing his stuff with good label support and a dang cool record to promote with a bright future in the music-making business ahead. On Sunday evening, an acclaimed Nashville-based songwriter by the name of Josh Morningstar drops into the Backroom Lounge in Riverton to lay some songs on you.

Jumping to Monday night (it’s a leap over all the good music going on), the Illinois Central Blues Club hosts Emily Burgess & the Emburys at the Alamo’s Blue Monday show. Emily might be known to some in town from her days in the 24th Street Wailers, a JUNO- nominated Canadian blues group. She’s now been on her own for several years working as The Emburys with brothers Rico and Marcus Browne on bass and drum, respectively. She’s really a breath of fresh air in the blues world with her snappy songwriting, blistering guitar solos and overall sense of musicality.

Won’t you be mine?


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Sunday Aug. 18th