Now that the 2022 Illinois State Fair is in the rearview mirror, we can turn our attention back to the local scene without interruption from the large, but fairly pleasant, north-end ruckus. I spy the most consistently popular downtown festival, plenty of offshoots from the fest and an assortment of music-making goodies going on around the area. Let's dig in.
Without a doubt the big news, big-time, big event this weekend is the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ held in lovely downtown Springfield in the majestic presence of the Old State Capitol. From humble beginnings as a cook-off and blues fest, the OCB&BBQ is now noted as the most all-around popular festival of the year in Springfield. Who would disagree that blues and barbecue make fine traveling companions, plus we all know those two items already have a place in the hearts, minds and digestive systems of many Springfieldians.
The shindig kicks off this Friday evening at 5 with our very own, award-winning, radio-charting, always captivating Mary Jo Curry Band, rolls into a rockin' blues-rock group called Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch based out of Dallas (check out an encore show Sunday night at the Koo-Koo2), then slides into a spectacular spot with the amazing sounds of the Nick Moss Band with Brother John Kattke & Andrew Duncanson, featuring the legendary Anson Funderburgh.
Saturday wastes no time in knocking out the blues in all its glory and varied forms with former "The Voice" contestant Josh Hoyer (2017, Blake Shelton's team), backed by his phenomenal group, Soul Colossal, featuring a blasting horn section. That's followed by one of the most popular and respected bands in central Illinois, Kapital Sound, and then, Curtis Salgado brings it all home on the back of his incredible career. Salgado hails from Eugene, Oregon, and came up in Robert Cray's original band. He became close enough friends with John Belushi to be the inspiration for the Blues Brothers act, worked with Steve Miller and Santana, fronted the Roomful of Blues group, survived liver cancer and is now out kicking it better than ever as he approaches some 40 years of making music happen. Oh, and while you're feasting on this incredible lineup of world-class musicians, you can fill up on barbecue and libations as well.
In other happenings going on downtown while the festival rolls on, check out a rocking lineup at the Gin Mill on Friday featuring Me & those Raouligans, Astrofix and Fireside Relics, or wander over to Whiskey Jacks on Saturday for an exceptional experience with Wowie Zowie.
At The Bird on Saturday, fly by for The Down Homies, featuring Kevin Smith, Steve Correll and Geoff Ryan doing the songs of John Brillhart, along with other popular artists. Out at Knob Hill Landscaping, it's time for another outdoor music party on Saturday when Houston's famed Folk Family Revival drops in with Texas songwriters Austin Gilliam and Hunter McKithan song swapping to start the night.
If you're looking for something different, how about a trip to Petersburg on Saturday night for an art/music concert with Callum Grant (a Scottish multi-instrumentalist in the Blue Man Group) joined by Alex Sokol (musician and visual artist from Glencoe, Illinois) with Emily Hough (indie singer-songwriter from Petersburg) opening the show.
You could top off your blues weekend with a visit to the Alamo on Monday night when Michael Charles, called "Australia's answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn," takes over the room, then call it complete.
Per usual, there's a bajillion other cool things happening and they're all (almost) right there in our music listings. Until we meet again...