Springfield's music scene is as revved up as ever, and there's no end in sight. From classic country to electric holiday rock music, the offerings are always diverse – which is what we've come to expect around here – and this season's lineup does not disappoint.
Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters are kicking off Boondocks' season on Aug. 27 with the sounds of 60s rock. The venue will shift into county on Sept. 16 for a show by Frank Foster, who started his career in 2011 with the release of his first album, and he hasn't looked back since. Hardscrabble group, The Wild Feathers, spent part of last winter hunkered down in a small cabin northwest of Nashville to iron out some new songs they worked on during the pandemic, and they're bringing them to the stage on Sept. 17. Colt Ford, born and raised in Athens, Georgia, and known for fusing country and rap, follows up on Sept. 30. Ward Davis, who released his latest album, Black Cats and Crows, last year, will take the stage on Oct. 1 and Boondocks will keep it country the following week on Oct. 9 with Drake White's performance. The people making things happen at Boondocks are still booking more acts, so be sure to check the website to get the latest.
Kool & the Gang are going to celebrate at the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater on Aug. 27. Local band Deja Voodoo will open for them. Then, Justin Moore will head straight out of the country to the amphitheater on Sept. 3. The following night, the sounds get kicked up a little with the country rock of Kevin Costner & Modern West. On Sept. 6, the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Pops Concert will bring us a little decorum, before Three Dog Night takes us rocking all the way back to the 70s on Sept. 18. Diamond Rio has been playing together since their first Opryland USA show back in 1982, so their sound on Sept. 24 should be well polished. The amphitheater has a lot more music going on through the rest of the season. Be sure to check the website so you do not miss a personal favorite.
The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has been warming up and is set to play an outstanding season-opening performance with award-winning pianist Claire Huangci on Oct. 9. On Nov. 6, the Resounding & Romantic show will feature Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto performed by the sensational pianist Micah McLaurin. The orchestra's ever-popular Holiday Pops in the Heartland will be performed on Dec. 18. You can enjoy all of these shows at the UIS Performing Arts Center, however, you can also catch the Brilliant Brass performance, featuring the works of Gabrieli, Bach, Holst and Lauridsen, at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School on Dec. 3.
The UIS Performing Arts Center has other shows in store, covering a good range of genres. Straight No Chaser is in the middle of its Back in the High Life Tour and will make a stop at the center on Oct. 26. Foreigner will be performing their greatest hits on Nov. 5. Nashville recording artist Josh Turner will give us some country on Nov. 19. The following evening brings more than a slight change of pace with a performance by Styx, a rock band with its roots going all the way back to 1972. The center will lead the audience into the holiday season with the magnificent Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular on Dec. 4. Next up on Dec. 15 is The Prophecy Show – The Music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, an extravagant Christmas musical production. This powerhouse group of classically trained musicians come together to create nothing short of an electrifying evening of holiday rock music. The Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular will round out the season with the smash hit multimedia laser and light show featuring the music of Pink Floyd on Dec. 17.
The pace has been picking up again at the Hoogland Center for the Arts and it has some good things in store for us. Local favorite Dual Piano, with Mark Gifford and Damien Kaplan, will be performing Aug. 27-29. On Sept. 5, singer, songwriter and tribute artist, Ted Vigil will perform his Remembering John Denver show. It should prove to be an excellent performance as Vigil not only sounds like John Denver, he's also Denver's doppelganger. For more than 30 years, Riders in the Sky have been keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the genre, while branding it with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit. You can catch their show on Sept. 23.
What better show to round out this entire music lineup than a James Taylor tribute by Bill Griese, also known as Sweet Baby James, at The Legacy Theatre on Sept. 18. Leave it to The Legacy to give us a show that pairs nicely with a mellow autumn evening.