click to enlarge The Steel Woods, along with Brushville, play the Doug Warcup Benefit at Danenberger Family Vineyards this Saturday night.
The Steel Woods, along with Brushville, play the Doug Warcup Benefit at Danenberger Family Vineyards this Saturday night.

Welcome one and all to 2022, a current calculation of time based on our concoction called the Gregorian calendar. Throughout the year, several other New Year's eves and days are acknowledged at various times in other cultures, but here in the good ol' USA and lots of spots around the globe, last weekend was when we celebrated another trip around the sun. I hope you had a fine time doing so, but now that the hoopla is behind us, it's back to business.

We have a few COVID-related cancellations to report, and one of the most important to our community already happened when First Night Springfield postponed for another year. Not only was it a great disappointment to all involved on both sides of the party, but for the Springfield Area Arts Council, First Night is a part of the financial equation that keeps this wonderful and vital organization going. I am sure, in the capable hands of executive director Sheila Walk and the hard-working volunteer board, things will be OK, but here's a wheelbarrow full of good wishes for our SAAC friends in 2022 and a shout out to all the good work done in years past. If there's anything we can do to help, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate.

The International Blues Challenge set to be held in Memphis this January is now pushed off until later in the year, directly affecting local contestants and the fundraisers planned to support them. I am assuming whenever the IBC is rescheduled, things will start all over again on the "Road to Memphis."

Rick Dunham's Tribute to Elvis, booked at the Hoogland for this Saturday (on Jan. 8, the real Mr. Presley's 87th birthday) has been postponed until sometime safer, later this year. Rick, as Elvis Himselvis, has played all over the U.S. during his 35-and-counting years wearing the jumpsuit. This performance, the third and final in a series of ambitious shows chronicling every Top 40 hit by Elvis, covers 1968 to 1981 (he continued to chart even after his untimely death in 1977) and contains many of the King's most famous songs as well as several obscure, little-known numbers that cracked the Top 40 during his heyday.

I will do my best to keep you posted on these events when they're back in action.

In the unpleasant, but important task of announcing benefits for those we've lost, this Saturday (Jan. 8, 7 p.m.) Danenberger's Family Vineyards presents The Steel Woods and Brushville in a ticketed event (there's also a silent auction) in support of the Doug Warcup family. Doug, one of the premier sound engineers in our area and a really good guy, left this world unexpectedly the night after Thanksgiving.

Last Saturday (Jan. 1), the Curve Inn hosted a celebration of life and family benefit for Adrian Muex, a Decatur-based musician, founder of Smooth Times Band and all-around fine fellow who passed away on Dec. 8.

If you would like to help out the families of these two recently departed members of our music community, please contact the venues involved or look up the event's Facebook pages for more information.

With that, I will sign off on the first Now Playing of 2022 with a special thank you to all who read and enjoy my articles. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to write about our music community. And if you have something I could share here, please drop me a line.

Be sure to check our listings for all the great live music happening this week all over town.

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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