Irish music and happy birthday blues

click to enlarge Altered Five Blues Band plays the Illinois Central Blues Club birthday party celebration this Saturday at Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road. - PHOTO BY NEU PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo by Neu Photography
Altered Five Blues Band plays the Illinois Central Blues Club birthday party celebration this Saturday at Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road.
Come on in folks, and see what's happening this week. We have a parade and a birthday party, with lots of live music covering Celtic, blues, rock, Latin and other goodies. Shall we?

After our annual St. Patrick's Day parade was postponed over the last two years due to pandemic issues, and again last week when the weather temporarily halted the wearing of the green, we're back on track now. The big shebang happens this Saturday, featuring middle and high school marching bands, floats of many shades of green, politicians of all designs, temporary legal libation locations and lots of fun times for everyone.

The Irish celebration begins Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick's Day proper, when long-time local, Celtic and world music group, Skibbereen, featuring the talents of Hank Helton, Rachel Helton, Colin Helton, Tom Myers and Bill Steele, waltz, rock and jig their way into Boone's from 4 to 7. Later on, The Emerald Underground bring their Celtic-fusion styled tunes to Third Base from 7 to 10:30. In between, the Irish duo of McKinney & Hennessey, (Rick Dunham and I borrowing surnames from our great-grandfathers) will do mostly Clancy Brothers songs with a few standard Irish-American classics at Harvest Market Farmhouse Brews from 6 to 9. We will also be at George Ranks from 2-5 on Saturday afternoon after the parade. And of course, the glorious sounds of the Saint Andrew's Society Central Illinois Pipes & Drums will be ringing all over town this year at various venues (see their website for details) in all kinds of configurations on both Thursday and Saturday. So be sure to keep your eyes and ears wide open for the bagpipes a-calling and the drums a-beating.

Green goings on or not, the music scene continues unabated with a bunch of great music happening here, there and everywhere. Friday is exceptional, starting with the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project at Boone's Friday Night Jazz, presented by our Springfield Area Arts Council, featuring Craig and Jeff Magby on the drums and congas, joined by Matt Hughes (bass), Jonny Beckett (saxophone and flute) and Whitney Ashe (piano) in the group's first public performance in over two years.

Friday rocks on with such area staples as Bustin' Loose and the Harris Family Band at Motorheads, Jeff Young and the Bad Grandpas at Danenbergers, the Collective at the Blue Grouch and X-Krush at the Curve. Drew Cagle and the Reputation kick off their "Bare Bones" tour promoting their October 2021 release of Haunted, with a "stripped down but still loaded" performance at George Ranks.

Saturday night, John Drake, a singer-songwriter, blues guitarist, Americana artist and constant performer, hosts a CD release party at Harvest Market Farmhouse Brews from 6 to 9. Done at FreQuincy Recording in February 2022, Play On features Rob Ross (drums), Mike Viles (congas) and Mark Kowal (harmonica), with John playing and singing everything else on the eight-song CD of his original material. The party continues on Sunday morning when John plays the HM Coffeehouse area at 10. Congrats to you, John.

While we're in the congratulatory mood and mode, let's shout out a happy 36th birthday to the Illinois Central Blues Club as they celebrate with a big party Saturday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road, featuring Ghost Town Blues Band and Altered Five Blues Band. All pertinent info is on the group's website and Facebook page, plus the birthday celebration goes on when the one-and-only Groove Daddies play Monday at the Alamo. Happy birthday to you, ICBC. And many more...

See you next week as we all march on together.

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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