Central Illinois contains a definite rock connection, ranging from early garage band days to producing superstar groups. Nowadays the music world is splintered into many factions but this weekend the rockin' returns full blast with plenty of heavy hitters hitting the scene, just by chance of the calendar.

While we're messing with Springfield rock music history, let's give a shout out to Gary Bloom, currently and forever lead singer of the Groove Daddies. As Gary works through health issues and the GDs are on a bit of a hiatus, we wish him the best for a full recovery. Now would be a good time to Google "Raindear Army" and listen to Gary doing original music in this local group from the mid-to-late 1960s. There's some interesting information out there about the scene back then and other members of the band. Rock on, man.

Friday gives us another bit of a Groove Daddies connection as Jeff Kornfeld, currently and forever the lead guitarist of GDs, mentioned his friend, fellow musician and co-writer Ron DeMichiel – who's originally from this area – being booked at Motorheads this Friday with his band Checker'd Past. Ron began playing music as a young kid in the early 1960s, then proceeded onto a decades-spanning career as a successful performer, keyboardist, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader before returning to central Illinois. Friday he's joined by the other acclaimed members of this Florida-based band, including Ira Stanley (guitar, slide guitar) who's performed with his band Dixie Peach all over the country since the '70s, August Zona (bass) and Dana Clouser (drums). Along with cool, classic songs, expect to hear a good bunch of original music as well.

On Saturday night out at Boondocks, the Springfield rock scene carries on with a dynamite show by FEEL, with special guest the Josie Lowder Band. FEEL features founding members Tyler Armstrong (guitar) and T.J. Steinwart (drums), two area musicians who now live near St. Louis, basing the band from there, along with St. Louis resident Rodger Lenhardt (bass) and the latest member, lead vocalist Garrett Barcus. The quartet recently released a new music video, Find a Love, and are signed to the Alton-based record label Harbor Music.

The intrepid foursome has done a lot in a little time, opening for big-deal rockers such as Cheap Trick, plus John Waite and Artimus Pyle from Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as newer popular groups such as Rival Sons and playing a weekend run in Florida with Blackberry Smoke in November. FEEL harkens back to the classic rock of the '70s while adding in current influences to create a one-of-a-kind sound and show bound for the stars and stratosphere. Add in Josie and her completely killer band and it's a really rockin' time that you should really not miss. Visit the Boondocks website for all the skinny.

For more rockin' from locals coming back around, Joey Tenuto brings his blues rock show to central Illinois this week with gigs at Pop's Place in Decatur on Sunday and The Alamo on Monday, plus a Wednesday visit to Trails End in Curran. Joey plays all the time down in Florida and has several more Midwest stops on his Facebook calendar post. Bring it on, Joey!

To finish out our rock run, how about visiting Weebles on Sunday when Mark Bott hosts his Senior Dogs Rock benefit from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features music by Mandy Rose, Father Hank & the Hammerheads and Brandy Kristin Band. Old dogs rock, too, so come hang for this event and help out the Helping Paw Project in caring for senior canines.

Rock on and on and into next week.

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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