Peaches and Bacon perform at Stella Coffee and Tea this Saturday morning.

It's hard to believe – or maybe it isn't – that we are into the first weekend of November 2023. We sneaked through October with some warmer-than-usual weather, allowing for pleasant enough outdoor music activities for longer-than-normal, but the time for cessation of most live music outdoors is here. Nevertheless, our intrepid readers know that doesn't mean any less of a robust music scene. So let's see what we have to offer our eyes and ears, and even our feet with those dancing shoes on, during this week's music muster.

First, let's take a moment to salute our Best of Springfield 2023 winners, especially in the music entertainment category, since it's always hard-fought and quite personal, as mostly we're voting for actual people, not places of business and the like. Is it a popularity contest as some wags like to point out? Why yes, it is to a degree, but the voting also brings attention to the scene as a whole, getting us interested in and talking about our music-makers. Those who were nominated or simply voted for at all levels are as much a part of the process as the top vote-getters and just as vital and important to what goes on in music around here. While that may sound sentimental or idealistic, I believe it to be true. So let us congratulate all of you, who participated in any and every way, for being part of how things happen when a music community coalesces, cares and grows. Hip, hip hooray and off to next year to see what the Best of Springfield for 2024 has to offer us.

Second, let's take another moment, this time to salute the Springfield Area Arts Council and all the good work it does supporting the arts throughout the year. Formed in 1976 and currently ably and honorably led by executive director Sheila Walk (through the end of the year and possibly beyond), the council is responsible for First Night Springfield, Artist on the Plaza, Art After Hours, Friday Night Jazz and Blues, Music at the Market and other events, as well as distributing grants to art organizations and individual artists, plus doing plenty more stuff you and I will never know about. So if you appreciate any or all of what's happening here, come help out this Saturday by attending a trivia night fundraiser (hosted by the one-and-only Troy "The Quizinator" Roark), at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Go to either the SAAC website or the Hoogland's for more information, and we hope to see you there.

After that paragraph, we would be amiss to not report that Friday Night Jazz and Blues (organized and sponsored by the SAAC) at Boone's for November begins with the man, the myth and the mighty fine singer, Johnnie Owens, joined by his friends (and he's got plenty) this Friday evening from 5:30 to 7:30. The weekly event lineup continues on through the month, respectively, with Mr. "N'Treble" (aka Charles Tiner), Illinois College Jazz Ensemble and Professional Development. Please support your local musicians and the SAAC whenever possible.

To finish up, let's go to a couple non-alcoholic drink establishments, just for fun. I spy my friend and top-notch singer, songwriter and musician, Stuart Smith, playing at The Wakery in downtown Springfield on Friday night, then Peaches and Bacon, an old-timey, eloquent duo of fiddle and banjo performing at Stella Coffee and Tea on Saturday morning.

Be sure to check our music listings for all the other events, then see you next week.

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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