click to enlarge Thanks for the music
Gracia Harrison plays the Buckhart Tavern this Wednesday night.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the 2023 Thanksgiving edition of Now Playing. As you give those thanks on Thanksgiving Day proper, don't forget to give a shout out, however humble, to all of the musicians, venues, fans and participants in general that make our music community the vibrant and scintillating scene it is.

As usual, your cherished Illinois Times comes out on Wednesday during Thanksgiving week to give folks a chance to grab the paper (either literally off the stand or figuratively online) before the ensuing holiday and coming weekend. This also allows us to cover Thanksgiving Eve for live music, a day that has truly become the biggest party night of the year over the past few decades. It's easy to understand why the Night Before Thanksgiving, also known as Blackout Wednesday or in a new one for me, Drinksgiving, is such a big party night for those who have nothing to do the next day but eat, nap and watch football on TV. In our capacity as a live music column, we shall diligently report on all of the goings-on, then after a hopefully quiet day of nourishment and resting on the holiday, continue through the weekend with commendable entertainment events.

Now let's take a gander at what's on the menu for this Wednesday night in our celebrated IT music listings. There's a slew of acoustic acts, including Gracia Harrison at the Buckhart Tavern (Buckhart), Devin Williams at the Bird Tavern, Thomas J Beverly at Oogie's & JJ's (near Glenarm), Michael Allen at the Next Stop Saloon (Mount Pulaski), Chicago Farmer with Jon-Mark Robb at Broadgauge (Petersburg, as a ticketed event) and, the already scheduled, but likely in for a surge this night, open mic with Silas and Joel at Boone's. Bands on tap include The Final Foursome Band with Hipbone Sam at the Final Four (Sherman), Brandy Kristin Band at the Funky Monkey (Taylorville), Sushi Roll at The Hangout (Jacksonville), No Backup Plans at Weebles, Branded at Y-Zoe's (Taylorville), UNCHAiNED at Danenberger Family Vineyards (near New Berlin), RockHouse at the Main Gate and Lick Creek at Motorheads. I have no idea why so many of these shows are in the small towns around the city, but as you can see in the undeniable print, they are.

As I mentioned last week, and as an astute reader you probably already knew, there ain't much happening on Thursday night (even though one might think there is opportunity here for a big time somewhere after the meal digests), so let's dig into the weekend that sallies forth after our day of Thanksgiving.

Friday explodes with a ton of cool shows in a very wide assortment of styles including Wayward Motel and They Came in Droves at the Gin Mill, the Spoonbenders at George Rank's, Elvis Himselvis at Harvest Market, Suns of Circumstance at Blue Grouch, Captain Geech at Casey's Pub, Off the Wall at the Curve Inn and Angel Brown at Lime Street.

Saturday has stuff all over including The Rick Mari Band at Mowie's Cue and a couple downtown gigs with Johnnie Owens at Ad Astra and Pickin' Pear at Buzz Bomb.

If you have any steam left by Sunday (which could understandably be more of a DoneDay than a FunDay), enjoy your afternoon with Josie Lowder and Nate Cozadd at Hill Prairie Winery (near Oakford) or Bruce Baise at Lucky's on the Square (Petersburg). Then again, perhaps the Sound Celebration Chorus presenting Thanks for the Holidays, its third annual free Christmas concert, at St. John's Lutheran Church would be in line as a kickoff for the Yuletide season.

Have yourself a joyous Thanksgiving time.

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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