Tom Irwin and sons perform Sangamon Songs: A Musical Play this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Salem on Seventh Theater in Petersburg.

There's something special about live, local music in August. Maybe it's the end-of-summer feeling creeping in or the upcoming excitement of the State Fair extravaganza. Then again, maybe it's just my imagination, but this month has always been the busiest for me as a working musician and for many others as well. Let's take a gander at what's there.

Tonight, for you intrepid IT readers who pick us up on Thursday, is the last Levitt AMP concert of the 2023 summer series. Let's all be thankful for what we had and plan on next year being another winner. Also, I'm sure folks are looking beyond the time when this wonderful organization no longer supports these shows and we find a way to continue the tradition on our own as a community. Our friends in nearby Jacksonville, who had the Levitt AMP help before we did, now do a weekly, downtown summer concert series through local contributions without the aid of the national group, and I sure hope that happens here.

In the meantime, get yourself out this evening to see LoneHollow, a Nashville-based duo consisting of Rylie Bourne (she's from here originally) and Damon Atkins with opening act Marques Morel (he's also featured at Friday's Artist on the Plaza, noon to 1 p.m. on the south side of the Old State Capitol Plaza). Here's to a great season of live music and to many more.

On Saturday, here's a cool thing happening as we mention Jacksonville once again, this time for PizzaStock, an all-day event outside Pizza Records in the Gillham House just west of the town square. The live music starts at 10 a.m. with Jeff Newman and ends with Not Petty at 6 p.m., as California Jeff, Judy McNutt, Emily Perkins and Saving Leviathan play in between. There will also be vendors including Tied Times, Logan's Homegrown Cigar Box Guitars, Colony 3 Studio, The Burnt Woodshack and more. The entertainment is free as well as the fun, so make an effort to help out these bustling small businesses and have a good time listening to live tunes. Check out the PizzaStock Facebook event page for more information.

This weekend (Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 3) we present Sangamon Songs: A Musical Play at the Salem on Seventh theater on the west side of the square in Petersburg (tickets at the Crazy Daisy store or online at TicketLeap). The show debuted there in 2019 and since then we've done performances at the Skokie Theater, UIS Performing Arts Center, Hoogland Center for the Arts, Carbondale's Varsity Center and the Gaslight Theater in St. Louis.

Folks have asked what it is, so here goes my short description: Based on a teenage boy's 1893 diary left in our family farmhouse, the Americana-folk songs I wrote are all from passages in the diary and follow the life of young Harry Glen Ludlam from Aug. 8, 1893, when he purchased the blank notebook at Frank Simmons Art Room (located where Cold Stone Creamery is today) to Feb. 4, 1894, when he took off with his family for the state of Washington. I narrate the show and sing the songs along with able aid from sons John Gifford Irwin, who portrays Harry, and Owen Thomas Irwin, who fills in on acoustic guitar. The script was adapted to the stage by John W. Arden and we added a slideshow to compliment the diary entries. Please join us if you can.

Now take a look at our listings for all the other live music going on in town.

About The Author

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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