click to enlarge Blacktop South plays Crows Mill Pub this Saturday night.
Blacktop South plays Crows Mill Pub this Saturday night.

What's happening out there, all you crazy kids? Everything at once and nothing at all with a little something left in the middle would be a fine answer to a question of such nature. Let's go see what's going on in the Springfield region of live music-making.

First, a moment of reflection on the life of Mike "Mikey" Austin, who passed away on Oct. 4, a day shy of his 57th birthday, after a tough and prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. When I heard tales of his prankster days growing up in Pawnee, I thought, this guy pretty much stayed on the path of making life a fun adventure, keeping the good times going and savoring the sweet stuff to the fullest. From the crazy days as a regular on Ray Lytle's Morning Disaster radio show to his decades-long work booking music as the guy at Mikey's Entertainment, he was a strong force in keeping our scene ready to "rock and roll all night and party every day" to pull a line from his, without a doubt, all-time favorite music group, Kiss. He booked several artists, plus certain clubs and festivals in the area through his entertainment company and was one of those people that gets things done, and done right, from behind the scenes. For that work he will be missed, as well of course, by family, friends and all his loved ones for who he was and what he did in their lives independent of his music business. RIP Mike "Mikey" Austin and thank you for your lasting and important contribution to our music community.

In live music happenings, it looks like Thursday is the day the blues come around this town with no less than three acts in one night. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum goes big on the blues when Brother John Kattke and Dave Specter, two of Chicago's top-shelf major musicians, play the Union Theater at 7 p.m. (note that the show is free, but reservations are required). I can hardly begin to list the credits of these two bluesmen steeped in the heart of Chicago blues for decades, so if you can, make your way down to the ALPM.

Then over at Buzz Bomb, the Chris Camp John Drake Blues Duo go from 7 to 10 p.m. as these two front guys work out the blues and more as a harmonica/guitar twosome. The blues are always alive and kicking whenever Robert Sampson, "the Lefty Preacher," takes the stage and at the Curve Inn from 6 to 9 p.m. he leads a full band of fellow blues-meisters to further display his understanding of blues and blues-based music.

Here are some live music choices based solely on the fact the acts don't show up like this very often and folks here would likely want to see them. Friday be on the lookout as Positively Fourth Street hosts a Murder of Crowes reunion show at Mowie's Cue, Rusty and Dusty sail through Pier 55, Mudbone & the Ruckus rock on at Danenbergers and Sarah and Schy roll into George Ranks.

On Saturday night, Blacktop South from over west central Illinois way drives into Crows Mill Pub, Sarah Borges and Keith Voegele land at the Backroom Lounge in Riverton, Billy Galt plays the Harvest Market Farmhouse Brews, while Chris Sorenson Project, Polarity and Hessian Lord take on the Main Gate, White Lightnin' hits Salisbury's Coyote Den and the Samba Llamas do up Pease's at BUNN Gourmet.

And, yes, as always, there's lots more where that came from in our music listings.

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  • Tom Irwin

    @ Harvest Market Coffee Bar

    Sun., Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.