click to enlarge December music and more
Phat Kitti from Peoria lands at Weebles this Saturday night.
As Meredith Wilson (of The Music Man composer fame) wrote in one of my favorite holiday songs, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go," and it most certainly is doing just that. Along with the dandy decorations and ubiquitous canned music, there are plenty of special parties, plus regular gigs, all filled with extra music and whatever that "cheer" stuff normally associated with the season to be jolly is, to make all our days merry and bright. With that entrance, let's wade into the Yuletide waters and see what's a-going on.

Thursday evening gets an extra Christmas bump as Jack White drops into It's All About Wine to play holiday music starting at 6 p.m. Your friendly wine store has Elvis Himselvis there on Dec. 15 and Jack is back on Dec. 22 to fulfill your caroling and more needs. Jose Gobbo and his curated Thursday The Art of Jazz show at The Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space hosts Will and Marion Mallard from 7 to 9 for a $5 donation at the door.

We usually stay away from mentioning karaoke here, not because of disdain for the fine art of karaoke-ing, but because of generally sticking to the rule of supporting only live performances of music by musicians. But during Christmas time on Thursdays, folks may want to hit Jackpot Karaoke with Debbie Cakes at the Curve Inn and/or J.C.B. Entertainment Karaoke at La Fiesta in Chatham to get your ya-ya's out on certain seasonal songs. I only bring this up because some of the arrangements and chord progressions in these once-a-year songs are tricky and particular to the song itself and not easily duplicated by your average musician with a keyboard or guitar, so using the backing tracks can make perfect, logical sense. And does anyone really know the third verse to "Jingle Bells" (it's important to the storyline) or the exact order of the eight reindeer names at the beginning of Rudolph's song or what happens after the chestnuts get roasted on an open fire? For these important reasons and more, karaoke at Christmas can be a valuable and vital tool in making the holiday complete and fulfilling.

Friday night brings us the return of Chris Camp & His Blues Ambassadors to Lime Street Cafe (on Saturday, too), Soul Field cultivating the Friday Night Jazz series at Boones, Groove Daddies back at home on the Curve Inn stage, Wolf Crick Boys rocking in the round at George Ranks and Deja Voodoo making magic at Motorheads, plus a couple more karaoke opportunities with hosts Jamie Lynn at the Main Gate and J.C.B. back at Bald Buddha Brewing in Southern View.

Saturday night ups the ante and delivers more rocking sounds with Phat Kitti catting around Weebles, Grounded grinding out the hits at Third Base, Roxschool giving lessons at Blue Grouch and Chicago Blues Hall of Fame artist Michael Charles and His Band getting down at Kuhl Tyme Korner in Jacksonville.

For a special mention, our friend and yours, Michael "Supe" Granda of Ozark Mountain Daredevils fame and beyond will be at Abe's Old Hat on Wednesday evening, Dec. 14 for a meet and greet, book signing (and selling) of his latest literary endeavor, Fat and Funny: (So You Want to Be Santa Claus), while "myselvis" and Elvis Himselvis entertain with holiday hoopla happenings. While you're downtown for this Wednesday's holiday walk, be sure to visit Recycled Records to listen to Randy Erwin singing and playing for your listening pleasure.

Until next week, have a heaping helping of some happy holiday times.

About The Author

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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