click to enlarge April music flourishes
UNCHAiNED with This Homemade Conspiracy play Weebles beer garden area this Saturday night.

This has been an incredible month of live music as the outdoor venues heat up with all kinds of activities. Next comes May and on into summertime, where we behold the onslaught of fairs, festivals, homecomings, burgoos, gatherings, celebrations, jamborees and other variously titled events featuring music-makers of all kinds. But first let's see what the final days of April offer.

Thursdays add another weekly event with the opening of Boone's mighty fine beer garden stage area and Me, Myself & Schy (Jeff Berendt and Schy Willmore if you were wondering or if you weren't) taking the inaugural show. The Get Down gets down (I'm sorry I just have to say that every time) at the Curve Inn, while two recurring gigs, Solista Mariachi Gabriel at El Arriero and Manny Lee at Casa Real, happen in the Mexican restaurant world.

Fridays continue as a mainstay of live music with bands inhabiting local libation stations in broods (yes, that's a cicada reference) such as the early starts of Samba Llamas at Pease's at BUNN Gourmet, Victoria Capo Trio at Boone's and those Pepper Sprouts at HyVee-Wahlburgers.

Then let the 6 p.m. shows begin with area blues-meisters Mary Jo Curry Band doing Long Bridge Gold Course, award-winning singer-songwriter Micah Walk running into Harvest Market and nationally touring country artist Chuck Briseno landing at The Stadium Bar and Grill. For solo acoustic acts, check out the delightful Riley Bourne at Slauterhouse in Auburn, Keith Dunlap riding the range of songs at the Town Hall in Loami, Rod Grant singing up a storm at Mowie's Cue and Andy Fielitz bringing it on at the Crowbar in Decatur.

Around 8 p.m. we have a slew of bands hitting plenty of performance areas in a bunch of bars including Bustin' Loose, the musically-made Harris family, at Motorheads, The Stone Giants rocking large at The Blue Grouch, Off the Wall bouncing into Goodfellas, Tom Irwin & those Raouligans with Amy Battles (that's us) strolling into George Rank's and HeartByrne with Birds of a Feather at Danenberger Family Vineyards doing Talking Heads and Phish respectively. Yes, there's more, but we also have two more days to cover.

Here I'd like to mention a fairly new venue hosting music on Friday and Saturdays (6-9 p.m.) and Sundays (1-4 p.m.), which would be The Railyard cafe on South Sixth Street near the new railroad overpass by where Gallagher's and JW's used to be. The music is outdoors with a nice stage and, yes, it's thrice every weekend into October with mostly solo/duo acoustic acts, which is quite righteous in my book. Plus, it has three restaurants in shipping containers to choose food from and drinks available of the alcoholic persuasion. I'm in. This weekend it's After School Special on Friday, Tom & Geoff on Saturday and Colt Ball on Sunday. Saturday kicks in with a couple of early shows including John Drake at Twisted Fork (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), Prairie State of Mind at Brookhills Golf Club (2-5 p.m.) and The Explorers (3-6 p.m.) at 1st & 3rd Boutique and Wine Bar in Petersburg. Later in the evening, Weebles kicks off its expanded beer garden space with UNCHAiNED cutting loose with special guests from Indiana, This Homemade Conspiracy, while Cherry & Jerry make wonderful noise at Buzz Bomb and The Lovelorn with Emily How sweeten up the upstairs at Broadgauge in Petersburg.

And come Sunday, there's The Deep Hollow at Danenberger's, Antone DeRocchi at Lucky's on the Square in Petersburg, Ole Stogie at Hill Prairie Winery near Oakford, Curt Smith at Vixen Hill Winery by Palmyra and The Tangents at The Range Bourbon & Brew in Chatham, plus a ton of others.

We will see you come May, maybe.

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin, a sixth-generation Sangamon County resident, has played his songs and music for nearly 40 years in the central Illinois area with occasional forays across the country. He's contributed to Illinois Times since 2000 by writing Now Playing, a weekly music column, as well as features stories and other articles...

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  • Mandy Rose

    @ Pease's at BUNN Gourmet

    Sun., July 14, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.