click to enlarge Ashley Riley plays at 3 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Springfield for WUIS Bedrock 66 Live! during the Bacon Throwdown.
Ashley Riley plays at 3 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Springfield for WUIS Bedrock 66 Live! during the Bacon Throwdown.
Ashley Riley plays at 3 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Springfield for WUIS Bedrock 66 Live! during the Bacon Throwdown.

Is it hot enough for you? If I hear that phrase one more time … Anyway, onward to the music, please.

In the parade of weekend festivals that comes each July in our community, the Downtown Springfield, Inc.-sponsored Bacon Throwdown II is a biggie. What was once the many-flavored Taste of Downtown Springfield and the American Music Show laced with touring Americana bands recently became a bacon-wrapped presentation of local bands with a headliner. Now 2016 continues with the bacon bit and brings back the nationally known, touring acts via the WUIS Bedrock 66 Live! concert series. Prepare yourself to do a little research, either online beforehand or more immediately in person, on bands and artists you’ve likely never seen or heard of until now.

Friday night kicks off at 6 with Western Empire, the latest band offering from Josh Catalano, the prolific Springfield musician and singer-songwriter, then moves on to Motel Mirrors, a somewhat supergroup of Americana mainstays Amy LaVere, John Paul Keith and Will Sexton at 7:30, and closes out at 9:30 with Aaron Lee Tasjan, a singer-songwriter, guitarist and all around producer-musician now living in East Nashville. He’s one of those guys you should research.

Saturday brings us two area acts on their way to fame and fortune with Decatur’s Ashley Riley in support of her latest record Through the Thin at 3 and The Deep Hollow at 4:30, hot off a #3 spot on the Folk DJ charts in April. Tim Shelton, the founding member from famed gospel bluegrass group NewFound Road, plays at 5:45 and has a story to tell. Reed Turchi and The Caterwauls, a blend of Memphis soul and hardcore blues, goes on at 7; Nikki Lane, a big deal in the cool country-pop land and hip video-world of modern Americana music, takes over at 8; and Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires burn down the barn at 9:45. Bar None hosts an after-concert party with Jukebox Casanova on Friday and Reed Turchi and The Caterwauls on Saturday.

Bustin’ Loose plays Mowie’s Cue at 9 p.m. on Saturday when the Harris family continues celebrating 50 years of playing music together as siblings. The group debuted on July 4, 1966, at the DAV on Lake Springfield as the Little Big Shots. Congratulations and many kudos for not only being a family band through thick and thin but for adding so much in individual ways to our music community. Things would not be the same around here without the many contributions from the Harris family of music makers. Thanks, y’all.

On Sunday, Micky Shomidie, president and owner-operator of ESP Entertainment, presents his fourth annual Make-A-Wish Music Fest at Boondocks from 2 to 7 p.m. The music-making part includes yours truly with Theresa O’Hare, Harmony Deep, New City Road and Rock House, along with a Route 66 car cruisers show, antique motorcycles, a live and silent auction, playhouse inflatables and games for kids, plus a bunch more fun and cool stuff. All the credit and all the funds go to the powerful and wonderful program this foundation supports. Many thanks to Micky for taking the time out of his touring schedule to do what he calls “a passion of mine to help children who need help” and to Lynn Rolens, who helps so much behind the scenes to make this all happen. So far, Micky and crew have raised some $25,000 since starting this project. Here’s to all who help make this happen so a child’s wish can come true.

Next week brings us the Downhome Music, Art and Beer Festival. Woo-hoo!

Contact Tom Irwin at

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