click to enlarge Blues Expressions plays the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival in downtown Springfield on Sat., Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m. - PHOTO BY PERFECT CONCEPT PHOTOGRAPHY
Blues Expressions plays the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival in downtown Springfield on Sat., Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m.
Blues Expressions plays the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival in downtown Springfield on Sat., Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m.

Let’s enjoy our lovely October while we can, shall we?

After last year’s blistering heat fest during the end of August, the Downtown Springfield, Inc. folks decided to bring the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival into cooler days, hence the move to the first weekend of October. All the other stuff stays the same, including mixing lots of incredible blues-based music with double delicious barbecue and all the fixin’s. Music makers include headliners Brandon Santini and His Band (Friday) and Southern Hospitality (Saturday), both butt-kicking, award-winning, top-notch blues bands. Entertainment from our rich local pool includes the Illinois Central Blues Club Challenge at 5 p.m., and those cool blues dudes, The Mojo Cats, at 8:30 on Friday and The PaperRoute featuring Shay on Sax (I added that; the rest of the band is awesome as well) at 5:30, Back Pack Jones, working the blues in Springfield and beyond at 7 and at 8:30 comes Blues Expressions, the revamped Decatur-based group that did so well at the International Blues Challenge in years past. And if you want to surround yourself with blues this week, The Alamo features the fabulous Robert Sampson on Thursday and the world famous Nigel Mack on Monday. That schedule gives you Sunday off unless you have a hankering for some blues ZZ Tripp-style, when the band brings its tribute performance of the little ol’ band from Texas to Trails End Saloon in Curran from 2 to 5.

At the Castle Theater on Saturday night in Bloomington, longtime Springfield favorite singer-songwriter Eva Hunter celebrates her 40th birthday in the musician’s favorite way: by inviting friends and having a gig. This marks her first show in over a year and she’s going all out, playing cuts from her wonderful CDs and debuting new songs while featuring Springfield guitarist Michael Sullivan along with drummer Scott Neuweg and bassist/pianist Marla Plunk from Bloomington as her band with special guests expected. Doors open at 7 with free food and cake, and the music kicks off at 8 for the all-ages show. Happy birthday, Eva! Thanks for all the great music through the years.

For Friday fun, see the popular trio Deep Hollow at Julia’s Kitchen and Lounge, a rare and rewarding Zack Fedor acoustic show at Mowie’s Cue and/or a sweet double bill at Butternut Hut with Murder of Crowes and Randy Charles Band. Saturday brings us Black Magic Johnson at the Trading Post Saloon, Al Kitchen at The Barrel Head, Footprints and Jazz All-Stars at Arlington’s, Big Daddy Jasper at Crows Mill Pub and Elvis all by Himselvis at It’s All About Wine, just to name a few of the many fantabulous live performances in the bars this weekend.

Now for something different and rather exciting; here’s a Springfield musician named Sven Sundberg, the son of Palmyra resident “Dot” Sundberg. Sven, who was born in Queens and just moved back to town from a stint in Seattle, plans to release Intimacy: A Collection, his 11th self-produced CD on Oct. 6 through several online music websites, including Bandcamp and Rhapsody. Sven got his start in music in a peculiar way when, as a child living in Phoenix, his first piano lessons came from John Steinway of Steinway Pianos. He was in his forties when he returned to music and began writings songs from a lifetime of collected ideas and notes. One thing led to another, and now Sven enjoys hits in the Philippines, has songs used on ESPN, in indie-films and television, all while continuing to write and produce material from his bedroom-based studio. Check it out, man.

Have fun in the sun while it lasts.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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