Allen Epley plays Broadgauge in Petersburg this Saturday night.

Git along, little dogies, we are moving into March of 20 & 23 with the wind in our sails and the earth beneath our feet, or say some other mixed-up metaphor for getting along a-OK. Soon enough, the outdoor stages will come alive with the sound of music and all that jazz. For now, we've got plenty to see, hear and do, so let's have a gander at it all.

Looks like March is a good time for original music to rear its lovely head as more than one band playing out live is doing it all for performing self-penned compositions of group collaborations. Astrofix, currently busy in the studio preparing another release of rocking rock songs, gears up for a rare area show, hitting it hard at George Rank's this Friday night.

Also on Friday, Danenbergers hosts two stalwarts of the DIY-music scene when The Station, laying it down as one of the longest-running, all-original bands in town, meets up with Wayward Motel, also a long-running, original-music concept through the works of singer and songwriter Josh Catalano.

You just have to enjoy the fact that we have venues supporting live, local, original music by bands releasing hometown-recorded songs on a regular basis. But I will add, there's always room for more.

Saturday night at Broadgauge in Petersburg, we have not only original music, but visual art as well, when Jeff Curtis Williams of the band NIL8 and the art gallery Dim Art House brings his paintings to display while the music happens. And that music happening happens to be Allen Epley, who was the front man for Kansas City bands Shiner, and more recently, The Life and Times, along with special guest Petersburg native and singer-songwriter Emily How. Allen, a member of the Blue Man Group in Chicago, describes his current band as "wall-of-sound rock fused with moody melodies" and Emily recently landed a slot at the 2023 Summer Camp Music Festival.

There's more original music (plus a couple of cool covers) in Menard County on Saturday night, when the Roastineers get popping at Connor's Corner Pub in Tallula.

Now to get to another (mostly) original music act on our early March list, how about a visit to It's All About Wine on Sunday (3-6 p.m.) to experience the singer-songwriter sounds of Hope MacGregor. Originally from our neck of the woods, Hope has traveled many miles – through several countries, plus eight years in the U.S. Army – since living around here, and produced and released lots of good music to accompany the experiences, including her newest album on track to be delivered to the world later this year.

Congratulations are due to the Illinois Central Blues Club as the local blues organization celebrates year 36 with a show on Saturday night by Tom Holland & The Shuffle Kings plus Mississippi Heat (doing mostly original blues songs) at the Columbian Grand Hall Knights of Columbus 364 on Meadowbrook Road. It's truly extraordinary to keep a group like this together and functioning well for nearly four decades and much must be said of those now running the group and of the many who passed through (and those who've passed on) to keep the blues alive in the Springfield area.

Let's also extend our congratulatory hands to The Stone Giants as they celebrate 25 years of making music together, by what other way than playing a gig, this time at the Blue Grouch on Friday night (7-11 p.m.). Rock on, and on and on, gentlemen.

Be sure to check the listings because there's a whole bunch of other stuff going on.

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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