New releases and familiar returns

click to enlarge New releases and familiar returns
Kelsey Hickman released “Novocaine,” her latest single, on March 10.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, or at least we sure hope it doesn't any time soon. We've got new music from area folks that's bouncing all around the world, plus here come some of the regulars that we once knew quite well. If that all sounds mysterious and vague, let's see if we can clarify the information disseminated.

In the new music category, join Randy Erwin on Saturday at Stella Coffee & Tea as he hosts a soundtrack release party from 6 to 9 p.m. Randy, who performs as a yodeler, multi-instrumentalist and does vaudeville-style songs (hits from the 1820s to 1920s, is how he sometimes humorously explains it) composed 17 instrumental string variations to the soundtrack for the exhibit "Here I Have Lived: Home in Illinois" that just opened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Named from a line in Lincoln's farewell address to Springfield, the exhibit, designed to represent "diverse experiences across the prairie state," features artifacts, photographs and other items that help tell the stories of famous and not-so-well-known inhabitants of Illinois and their home state accomplishments. Please come say "hi" and congratulations as Randy celebrates this wonderful achievement.

Do you remember an area band from the early 2000s called Still Kick'n that featured a terrific teenage lead singer named Kelsey Hickman? They were everywhere and opened up for several big names in country music until disbanding in 2013. Over the last several years, Kelsey has been busy in a little ol' town called Nashville, Tennessee, working on her music career by teaming up with top-notch producers, signing on with a publicity firm and steadily playing live with her band around Music City, USA. On March 10 she released "Novocaine," her latest single, this one produced by Don Miggs, and soon to be available everywhere, including on the radio. It will be followed with a music video released Friday, March 24. Congrats, Kelsey. Keep on keepin' on.

It's been a bit since we've heard from our friends at Boondocks, and now the award-winning venue is on a roll. This Saturday it hosts Larry Fleet, touted as the "future of traditional country music" with Big Loud Records labelmate Ben Burgess opening the concert. As the popular place gets going again, I see shows on the books by Casey Donahew (April 12), Gary Levox (April 28) and Lanco (May 12), plus much more to come. These tours by big-time guys take longer to coordinate and facilitate, but we are seeing the buses rolling again. Turn the page, as here we go taking care of business on the road again.

Get ready for the return of one of our most popular local performers (he won several times in our Illinois Times Best of Springfield in various band categories) as Mr. "Let me hear you say, yeah!," himself, the one-and-only Hipbone Sam, hits the stage with his band, The Joints, on Saturday at Coz's Pizza (7-9 p.m.). Hipbone (aka Kevin Hawkins) has been laying a little low these last couple years and is now playing steady again.

I just saw another name in the listings that's not been there in a while, as Yoshi graces the performance area at Walnut Street Winery in Rochester on Saturday (4-7 p.m.). Welcome back, my friend.

And in our final "good to see you again" mention, Bluesmattic are back and playing The Alamo on Monday for the long-running Illinois Central Blues Club weekly series. Good stuff right there as these guys lay it down like nobody's business.

Well, I guess that's it for me. Please check the listings for much more March music.

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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