Howdy folks, and welcome to the New Year. This one is known as 20 and 23 in our Western world, just in case you've lost count. I'm a little bit in shock, even though I'm fully aware that time marches, leaps and crawls all while standing still, to see the numbers just keep moving on. But enough of that willy-nilly, namby-pamby stuff, we've got music to look after, nurture, enjoy, imbibe and check out in the same old way in a brand-new year.
The first gig I see on the books (in our music listings) for 2023 is Brazil Cafe Trio at the Corkscrew from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6. In all fairness to me, I'm writing this a few weeks early because of holiday deadlines, but I can't think of a better first gig. The trio does Brazilian standards, plus pop and light jazz, all performed by the ubiquitous and joyful Jose Gobbo on guitar, along with the neatest rhythm section around, as son Adrian Russo is on bass and dad Craig Russo on drums. People often ask me if it's really great playing music with my sons and I always say without question, of course. I'm sure Craig feels the same, and we all get to enjoy the good music made however and whomever is making it.
For another something different than the usual cover bands, check out award-winning guitarist Adam Maletich at Walnut Street Winery on Saturday night. Adam can tell the story better than I because he was there, but go ask about his fingerpicking style contest (is that the right word?) at a festival in England that he won. Now music isn't about contests, but sometimes it has to be, and our friend from central Illinois won the top prize out of hundreds of contestants. And the best part of the story is, it doesn't matter when you listen to him play, because it's just great and good, wonderful and inspiring to feel the music burst forth from his fingers and guitar. But don't take my word for it, and go listen. You will be amazed and entertained.
Also on Saturday, starting at 3 p.m., our friend and longtime area performer, Rick Dunham, takes the LRS Stage at the Hoogland Center for the Arts for an Elvis Himselvis full band show celebrating Elvis Presley's Jan. 8 birthday. I did the math (well, I looked it up) and the King would be 88 in 2023, or for those of you who believe he's on an island somewhere, he's about to turn 88. I, for one, think if he is alive, he's an Elvis impersonator in Madagascar or Idaho or some such place. But his music always lives on, and Rick has a few new songs never performed by Himselvis, plus a slew of the standards that surely do hold up well, even if Elvis didn't, settled in the setlist for you friends and fans.
Joel Styzens, a Springfield fellow now based in Chicago, is a multi-instrumentalist and more with a new album ready to release named Resonance. The album is loaded with 16 songs considered "uplifting, reflective and inspiring classical-crossover pieces" by the composer and featuring musical offerings enhanced by cellist Sophie Webber, pianist Rob Clearfield and the ATLYS string quartet. Joel launched a Kickstarter project to pre-sell the record to pay for manufacturing and other costs to get the music out there. Please consider checking it out to help out this talented and prolific artist while helping yourself to some fantastic, fascinating and forever music.
Happy New Year, and let's get going.