Hello there, my fellow frigid friends. As we find ourselves in a thaw after the recent cold snap, I see plenty of good music in the forecast. With somewhat warmer weather ahead, but still plenty of cold out there, please check with venues or look for social media posts on the status of a music performance. With that in mind, let's take a winter walk through the listings.

We can start things off with good news from Springfield native and current Chicago resident, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Joel Styzens. Joel's music release from last year, Resonance, was picked as a Top 10 Best Contemporary Album of 2023 by reviewers at The Guardian, an internationally renowned, independent news source. That's a big deal and we're here to congratulate Mr. Styzens on a worthy accomplishment. Look it up online to read the review describing the album as "lush, comforting music that yearns and soothes." While you're at it, go buy and listen to the interesting and provocative music on the digital platform of your choice.

Boondocks is turning up the heat and adding some usual suspects to their calendar as Chris Knight, a Nashville-based, Kentucky-raised singer-songwriter, takes the big stage this Friday with special guest Cody Lee Moomey, an up-and-coming, country-flavored singer-songwriter from these parts. Knight, a hard-nosed, truth-telling Americana artist of some 25 years, is no stranger to Springfield and pulls in folks whenever he's around.

For those of you making plans this Friday to see Alex Williams and Joe Stamm at the Backroom Lounge in Riverton, be aware the show is sold out. It appears that Alex and Joe are also at Twisted Tree Music Hall (the former Water's Edge Winery space) in Jacksonville on Sunday if you'd like to see them again or didn't get your tickets in time.

There are several more country-styled music shows going on this weekend so get out your 10-gallon hats and pointy-toed cowboy boots and prepare to go honky-tonkin' 'round this town. Let's start on Friday as the Wolf Crick Boys make rockin' outlaw original music at George Rank's, while Bustin' Loose gives the Harris Family salute to all kinds of music, but particularly popular country tunes, at The Curve Inn. 

Saturday night awards us Red Ribbon Revue, an Americana/alt-country duo of Schy Willmore and Jonathan Field at Harvest Market, as White Lightnin' delivers cool classic country tunes at The Curve Inn and The Longmeyer Band plays "premier country'' very well out at Danenberger Family Vineyards.

For more standard country tunes from an all-star area band, head to Decatur to catch the Elderly Brothers at the Crowbar, also on Saturday evening. You can finish off this country collection at Trails End in Curran on Sunday afternoon with the venerable Al Kitchen. And while you're out there, ask Al all about his time spent in Nashville with some famous folks and his recording experiences, too. He's been there and back.

For something different, check out bilingual music journalist Catalina Maria Johnson presenting her "Music as a Cultural History" program on Latino music in Illinois this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. through the Illinois State Museum. This is online only, so go to the ISM website and sign up for the Zoom experience. And while we're on the Latin subject, Socavon, a new bar and music venue a few doors down from the popular restaurant, Roots Latin Grill, features an encore performance of The Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project this Saturday night.

Well, that does it for this week. Check out our listings for more good music and stay warm while being cool.

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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