click to enlarge The Maze plays all-original songs Saturday, Mar. 10, starting at 8pm at the Blue Grouch. Good Times & Company closes out the night.
The Maze plays all-original songs Saturday, Mar. 10, starting at 8pm at the Blue Grouch. Good Times & Company closes out the night.

With a hip-hop to the hippity-hop, we march on through the not-so-merry month of March with more music than a month might muster, if a month could muster music.

For Thursday excitement, Joshua Allen, a singing, songwriting, guitar player from Rolla, Missouri, rolls into the Trailblazer Lounge on Dirksen Parkway for a night of original Red Dirt-styled songs. As far as I can tell, Joshua is a newcomer to town, and it’s always nice to have some fresh tunes from a working songwriter wafting through the local air. He has a recording called Rough, Rugged and Raw available for download on CD Baby and Bandcamp, and after Thursday he heads back to Missouri for upcoming shows in Mexico, Joplin and Rolla. Over at 411 Bar & Grill, Frank Parker leads his monthly Jambalaya Jam for the best in jazz, blues and cool music in an interactive environment of musicians sharing the stage for the pleasure of the audience. The Black Sheep Cafe plays host to Monterrey doing “post-whatever” from northwest Indiana; Master Bastard from the sometimes-Pleasant Plains, releasing a demo recording called Mouthbreather; Famous Losers making a triumphant return from Jacksonville; and Mike Butler, who is a solo show all by himself.

On Friday experience the Jeff Austin Band with The Sweet Lillies, presented by Head West Productions at The Legacy Theatre, for some high-level, bluegrass-styled, jam-band music by the renowned mandolinist and his top-notch group. Jeff, an Illinois native from Arlington Heights and Elk Grove, came to national prominence as a member of the Colorado-based Yonder Mountain String Band. Since going out on his own in 2014, the accomplished musician has continued to create fantastic music at an incredible level. He last visited Springfield a couple of years ago with a show at Donnie’s Homespun that had the place spinning with delight, and you better believe the Legacy show will be a barn burner as well. I hope they have some tickets left for you.

St. Patrick’s Day, which officially falls on Mar. 17, lands on a Saturday this year, making our downtown parade and the day-of celebration happen on the same date. Because of that, we won’t have the usual double trouble of the Saturday parade festivities followed by the true celebration on Mar. 17. Therefore, in order to get in all the Celtic you can, head to Robbie’s this Friday evening as Skibbereen kicks off the season with a St. Pat’s preview party.   

On Saturday Blue Grouch bucks the trend of covering cover bands with two groups doing all-original music. The Maze, featuring Shane Bumgarner, Kylan Davis, Tim Lacy, Steve Clark and Ed Fliege, names familiar to those familiar with the Springfield scene, call themselves a “prog-pop” band using four-part harmonies and classic rock instrumentation to present the compositions of longtime friends Lacy and Bumgarner. A recording is in the final stages of production with a release date upcoming in the next few months. Closing the show is Good Times and Company, led by singer-songwriter and force of nature Clint Kesinger along with bandmates Shad Baldes, Kyle Wells and Keagan Cross, taking us into a wonderful world of quirky pop laced with a coolness of character, all based on good songs and a lively live show. Take a moment to go online and take a listen to the songs of GT&C and you’ll understand why they are making a Midwest mark now, with a future takeover of the world coming soon to a universe near you.

There’s plenty more where that came from, so be sure to check our Pub Crawl for more music.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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