click to enlarge Novembering music
Avery Kern plays at Locals in Pawnee this Friday night.

Ooh-la-la and howdee-hey, let's wind our way into November. The Halloween-ers are behind us, so it's now time to gaze forward into the distance with fall flings and Thanksgiving ahead, the holiday season to come, and do I dare say, there's a little 2023 peeking around the corner, ready to say hello. But first let's see what's in store for our first weekend of the 11th month, in the year of 20 & 22.

We've been promoting Thursdays lately, so here's one as an interesting, entertaining and exciting night of music, when the Land of Lincoln Chorus and the Sound Celebration Chorus welcome local high school choruses, along with guest quartets, to create what's known as the Greater Springfield Youth in Harmony Festival. The show runs from 6:30 until 8 in the evening at the Hoogland Center for the Arts and yes, that's a heap o' choruses right there in one place at one time celebrating the power and beauty of human voices in harmony.

In another Thursday happening, one of Springfield's best male singers (not to slight Best of Springfield 2022 male vocalist winner Jason McKenzie in the least, because he's awesome and got the most votes by far) hits at Whiskey Jack's, when my man Johnnie Owens walks to the microphone at 7 p.m. JO's history of singing takes him from time spent with the world-famous Platters all the way to singing jazz standards and blues so well his voice is described as sounding "as smooth as butter" and his 2013 CD release is simply titled Butter! (which you should own and listen to all time).

To complete our Thursday romp, some blues-rock guy named Joe Bonamassa plays out at the UIS Performing Arts Center, and Pretend Friend, a hybrid, bluegrass-shaped quartet from Wichita, Kansas, lands at Buzz Bomb for a rockin' spell.

Quickly sliding into Friday, the Curve Inn has a special night planned by Good News Entertainment called Best Kept Secret Live Show, featuring several area musicians and entertainers who you've likely seen in other bands, but not quite like this. Look it up online to find the performers (it's not that secret!) and be there on time when it all starts at 6 p.m.

If we keep hanging onto Friday, this week's Boone's Friday Night Jazz event (sponsored by the Springfield Area Arts Council) gives us the Denise La Grassa Band, then out at Harvest Market Farmhouse Brews, here comes blues and Americana by John Drake, while Angel Brown's Smooth 'n' Blue Band pulls into the Lime Street Cafe.

If we skip days (and nights) of the week and go to venues, how about a visit to the winner of our Best of Springfield Live Venue (Small) category with a drive down to Pawnee this weekend? Friday gets you Avery Kern, one of the best songwriters and singers around (she's been spending a good deal of time in Nashville lately), then Saturday night brings the 70s Acoustic Show hosted and presented by our very own Rickey Meredith. Sunday Funday comes crashing with a new band called Stormfront, featuring some familiar musicians including Rick Hardin, Tim Sutton, Dave Coonrod, Jeff Loftus and Kevin Roberts, plus special guest Randy Goin, all going from 1 to 5 in the afternoon.

You can also ride the Stormfront out at the Motordome as they play the upcoming Tuesday Night Live event held every second Tuesday of the month promoting local bands and area talent.

Well, that's not all folks, as our calendar is bursting with a fine array of live music-listening opportunities not mentioned here, which I highly recommend you peruse and use.

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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