August always (except those last two years...) is beside itself with an abundance of live music-making happening. Between all the events at the Illinois State Fair, plus the normal bookings at regular bars and the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ at the end of the month, it's just nearly unbelievable all the gigs going on. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, and go see what this week has in store.

We've been featuring fests and other shows lately, but it's time to get back to the bars with really good acts playing all over town this weekend. Check out this lineup at the Curve Inn, with The Deep Hollow on Thursday, Groove Daddies on Friday and MaidenUSA (top-rated Iron Maiden tribute) with Chris Sorenson Band on Saturday, plus an open mic with a backline and great house sound (hey, Skip) and your ultra-cool hosts, Sam and Kortney on Sunday evening.

Friday comes a-rocking with bands galore like West End Boogie Project at Northender's VFW, Silver Lake at Locals in Pawnee, Sunshine Daydream at Motorheads, Smooth Groove at Blue Grouch, Off the Wall at Longbridge and Jameson Freeway at KooKoo's. For a less typical approach to your Friday evening, try jazz with the Max Beckman Trio at Boones, acoustic tunes from Tom & Geoff at Brewski's, Harry Lounsberry hosting a Ham 'n' Jam Hammond organ playtime at Whiskey Jacks and hometown hero Colt Ball bringing it to Buzz Bomb.

And for a terrific show that's not in a bar, Peaches and Bacon, playing the best old-time fiddle and banjo music you'll hear anywhere, are the actual Artist(s) on the Plaza this week on the south side of the Old State Capitol lawn from noon to 1 p.m.

We need to hop back to Thursday for a reminder that this week is the final Levitt AMP concert of the season (hope you made it on Wednesday for the rescheduled Davina and the Vagabonds show) and features the Harlem Gospel Travelers. This invigorating trio of singers invokes the great gospel sounds of the 60s and 70s with new depth and breath, plus claim famous fans like Sir Elton John. Their latest album, Look Up!, containing all-original material and a stellar production by acclaimed soul singer-songwriter Eli Paperboy Reed, hits the streets (and internet) on Sept. 16. This will be an awesome show and a wonderful way to close out a superb season of free, live, touring bands with local openers (almost) every Thursday evening in lovely downtown Springfield. Let's do some more of this, please and thank you.

In the crowdfunding corner, Josie Lowder has a Kickstarter project going with plans to record her debut album while working toward creating her own teaching/recording studio. She has until Aug. 20 to reach her goal, so get to it and go to, look up Josie, pick your rewards and support this extremely talented artist and delightful person.

The Illinois Central Blues Club continues hosting blues bands every Monday night at the Alamo, and this week there's a special treat when Gabe Stillman hits around 7. Gabe has garnered accolades from blues pillars such as Anson Funderburgh and Bruce Iglauer for his singing, songwriting, guitar playing and showmanship. And he just kills it.

I'll finish up with news that our Sangamon Songs: A Musical Play returns to the Salem on Seventh Theater on the Petersburg square this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We debuted the show there in August of 2019 and are calling this episode "our first anniversary show, three years later" (thanks, Sally). It's good to be back.

Catch you next week for state fair time.

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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