Happy Birthday Irish & Blues Music | Music Features


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Photo by Neu Photography

Altered Five Blues Band plays the Illinois Central Blues Club Birthday Party this Saturday at Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road.

Come on guys and see what’s going on this week. We have a parade and birthday party, with lots of live music covering Celtic, Blues, Rock, Latin and other goodies. Let’s go?

After our annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade was postponed for the past two years due to pandemic concerns, and again last week when weather temporarily halted the wearing of green, we are now back on the right way. The big shebang takes place this Saturday, with middle and high school marching bands, floats in multiple shades of green, politicians of all stripes, temporary legal libation spots, and plenty of fun times for everyone.

The Irish celebration begins on Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day proper, when longtime local, Celtic and global music band Skibbereen, featuring the talents of Hank Helton, Rachel Helton, Colin Helton, Tom Myers and Bill Steele, waltz, rock and jig their way into Boone’s from 4 to 7. Later, The Emerald Underground will bring their Celtic fusion style tunes to Third Base from 7 to 10:30. In between, Irish duo McKinney & Hennessey (Rick Dunham and I borrowing our great-grandfathers’ names) will do mostly Clancy Brothers songs with some standard Irish-American classics at Harvest Market Farmhouse Brews from 6-9 We will also be at George Ranks from 2-5pm on Saturday afternoon after the parade. And of course, the glorious sounds of Saint Andrew’s Society Central Illinois Pipes & Drums will reverberate throughout the city this year at various venues (see their website for details) in all manner of configurations on Thursday and Saturday. So be sure to keep your eyes and ears open to hear the bagpipes and drums beating.

Green or not, the music scene continues unabated with loads of great music happening here, there and everywhere. Friday is exceptional, starting with the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project at Boone’s Friday Night Jazz, presented by our Springfield Area Arts Council, featuring Craig and Jeff Magby on drums and congas, joined by Matt Hughes (bass), Jonny Beckett (saxophone and flute) and Whitney Ashe (piano) at the band’s first public performance in over two years.

Friday continues with local favorites like Bustin’ Loose and the Harris Family Band at Motorheads, Jeff Young and the Bad Grandpas at Danenbergers, the Collective at Blue Grouch and X-Krush at Curve. Drew Cagle and the Reputation are kicking off their “Bare Bones” tour to promote their October 2021 release of Hauntedwith a “stripped down but still loaded” performance at George Ranks.

John Drake, American singer-songwriter, blues guitarist, entertainer and consistent performer, is hosting a CD release party at Harvest Market Farmhouse Brews from 6 to 9 Saturday night. Done at FreQuincy Recording in February 2022, Play on features Rob Ross (drums), Mike Viles (congas) and Mark Kowal (harmonica), with John playing and singing everything else on the eight-song CD of his original material. The party continues on Sunday morning when John plays in the HM Coffeehouse area at 10am. Congratulations to you, John.

While we’re in the mood and congratulations mode, let’s shout out Happy 36th Birthday to the Illinois Central Blues Club as they celebrate with a big party Saturday night at Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road featuring Ghost Town Blues Band and Altered Five blues bands. All relevant information can be found on the band’s website and Facebook page, and the anniversary celebration continues when the one and only Groove Daddies perform at the Alamo on Monday. Happy birthday to you, ICBC. And much more…

See you next week as we all walk together.


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