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Hickory Ridge Concerts

The Hickory Ridge Concert Series is a once a month acoustic music concert series that I’ve been producing in one form or another non stop since 1989.  We are currently working in partnership with the Dickson Mounds Museum, a branch of the Illinois State Museum that sits on the bluffs of the Illinois River Valley overlooking the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.   This has been an excellent partnership and we are in the middle of our 24nd year there (and our 27th year in all).  We feature folk, blues, old time, singer-songwriter and even on rare occasions, bluegrass music in the handicapped accessible 150 seat auditorium of the Dickson Mounds Museum.

PERFORMERS:  I usually book solo and duo professional players from the region and only rarely use larger acts or book nationally touring acts.  Performers who are interested in being considered for performance should download the Generic Performer Letter to learn about the gig.  If you are appropriate to the venue and are interested in being considered, please email me (do not call).  As you would expect, I always have three times as many interested performers as I have performance slots so be prepared to wait a while.

AUDIENCE:  Concerts take place every third Saturday of the month all year long in the comfort of the Dickson Mounds Museum auditorium. We feature the best in roots, folk and acoustic music of all kinds. Showtime is 7:00 pm, admission is $8.00 for adults; $5.00 for kids under 12.

August 19th, Blind Hills

Blind Hills is the Chicago acoustic duo of Chuck VanderVennet and Diccon Lee. Chuck is known throughout the area for his deep knowledge of folk music, both traditional and new. He has an uncanny ability to feel what his audience needs. So many of us feel awkward and uncomfortable when asked to participate. When Chuck is entertaining, you will find yourself happily singing along and joining in on the fun, no matter how shy you thought you were! Chuck also is an accomplished writer, with a knack for creating hummable tunes.

Diccon loves to write and perform original music. Though his tunes explore many themes from spiritual to humorous, the beauty and power of nature is often woven into or the central theme in his songs. His work has been used in traveling theatrical productions, regular radio rotation and inspirational spiritual gatherings throughout the world. His song “Folk Festival” is often featured as a key element of Lilli Kuzma’s Folk Festival radio show Tuesday nights on WDCB 90.9 fm.

September 16th, Bob Bovee

Since 1971 Bob has traveled the country taking old time music to audiences of all ages at festivals, fairs, concerts, dances, schools, libraries, music camps, radio and TV programs. This is rural music as played in homes, at dances and for earlier entertainments such as minstrel shows and country radio. Along with a repertoire including dance tunes, ballads, cowboy songs, humorous and sentimental numbers, blues and rags, he spices their shows with stories, history and folklore. Bob sings (yodels, too) and plays guitar, harmonica, banjo and autoharp.

October 21  King Neptune Blues

Piedmont Blues Master King Neptune (Chris Buchanan) will bring classic Piedmont Blues with a twist to our stage.  Guitar and voice, playing the music from the golden age of acoustic blues, Blind Blake, Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith and early Jazz. You’ll understand why his playing has been described as soulful, groovy and happy when you come and see him.





November 18th, The Lords of Liechtenstein

“They are like the Everly Brothers with attitude!”

The Lords of Liechtenstein is a quirky folk music duo composed of two brothers. Based in New York City, Noah (ukulele/guitar/vocals) and Dan (guitar/banjo/mandola/vocals) have brought their unique blend of folk music to clubs and coffeehouses all over the East Coast of the United States. The Lords have performed on NPR’s acclaimed Mountain Stage radio show, were awarded honorable mention in the 2014 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase, and have opened for musical stalwarts like Brett Dennen, Buckwheat Zydeco, Elephant Revival, and Aztec Two-Step. Their newest album, Oh, Hello Sweetie Pie is as diverse as it is long, its fifteen songs exploring topics ranging from wrongful incarceration to the unfair persecution of movie monsters.


December 16th  John Stano   https://youtu.be/G3c8rIn_Ua0

John Stano’s sound is a distinctive blend of acoustic and slide guitar, harmonica and expressive vocals can be described as a combination of folk, blues and Americana. Initially self-taught, John went on to study American fingerstyle guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and harmonica with national blues legend, Jim Liban. ‘Sing Out’ compared John’s music to early Bob Dylan while ‘Dirty Linen’ was reminded of Country Joe McDonald.  A skillful use of language adds an original spark to his lyrics. John also performs his own arrangements of folk and country blues classics by artists such as Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt and Bukka White.   John was nominated for a 2016 WAMI Folk Artist award and the 2015 WAMI Singer Songwriter of the Year award and has won the Wisconsin Singer Songwriters Series Songwriter of the Year award.

January Last Acre   https://youtu.be/KlnbX2S9Jg8

Last Acre is Mark and Molly Mathewson, an Illinois-based father/daughter Americana duo whose sound is rooted in original songs and blood-kin harmonies. Mark is a winner of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. His songs have been recorded by a number of bluegrass artists, including Grammy nominee Blue Highway. Molly is an actor and songwriter.  Tom Irwin (Illinois Times) had this to say: “the daughter/father duo of Molly and Mark Mathewson play off ‘blood’ harmonies, instrumental interplays (acoustic guitar and standup bass) and way-good original songs with some covers of integrity.