Music at the Museum is a new monthly concert series I will be producing in conjunction with the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, IL. The series will feature the best in contemporary and traditional folk and acoustic music of all styles.
Concerts are held the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Museum auditorium. Tickets are available at the door and are $10.00 per person, $8.00 for museum members and kids under 12.
May 11, 7:00pm: Chris Vallillo and Burr Oak String Band http://www.chrisvallillo.com
We’ll kick things off with a double billing. Chris Vallillo is Illinois’ pre-eminent prairie-poet singer-songwriter who makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song. A master of bottleneck slide guitar, he weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs and theatrical narratives into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyle of the Midwest. His original work has often been compared to the poetry of Carl Sandburg and, like Sandburg himself, Vallillo has been involved documenting, performing and preserving the music of the rural Midwest. It’s roots based original songs and instrumentals with the rich acoustic textures of bottleneck slide, finger style and flatpicked guitars that echo the influences of Mississippi John Hurt, Ry Cooder, Doc Watson and Guy Clark.
The Burr Oak String Band hails from Springfield and the surrounding area and offers up a crowd-pleasing mix of lively instrumentals and heart-felt harmonies. Masters of a variety of instruments and styles – old-time, raggy blues, bluegrass, folk – they appeal to a range of musical sensibilities and can perform in a variety of settings, including concerts, festivals and dances. In different combinations the members of Burr Oak played together in several old-time or bluegrass bands before we decided to play together in the spring of 2015.
June 8th: The Yellow Bellied Sap Suckers http://www.sapsuckersmusic.com
The Yellow Bellied Sap Suckers perform original songs and tunes inspired by the classic hillbilly, country-duo, and old-time musical traditions–and also mines this same repertoire for forgotten gems that deserve to be heard again. Their 2015 album, “Ocooch Mountain Home,” (their second), has received high praise from the likes of fROOTS, Bluegrass Today, and Country Music People UK.
Based in Soldiers Grove, WI, the Sapsuckers (Nikki Grossman, guitar, fiddle, and vocals; Joe Hart, guitar, mandolin, and vocals) perform frequent concerts, as well as square and contra dances, and they are known for the light touch and sense of humor they bring to their performance.
July 13th: Switchback http://www.waygoodmusic.com
August 10th: Felisko and Noden https://www.rootsduo.com
Felisko and Noden are expert practitioners of harmonica and guitar styles that defined the blues in its earliest days but are now all too rarely heard and are. They are also world class players and showmen. Their jaw-dropping virtuosity enables them to create more layers of sound and feeling than most full bands can summon, and both are high-energy, ultra-rhythmic performers. The collective result— in both their live shows and their recordings— are charged, dramatic performances that are simultaneously powerful and sophisticatedly subtle.
Both of these standout performers also teach and make it a point to share the insights they’ve gained from two lifetimes of deep research into the history of the music. The pair has performed around the world including at Australia’s Playmakers Festival, the Harmonicales Festival in France, and at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.
September 14th: Patchouli http://www.patchouli.net
The acoustic worldbeat duo Patchouli is Wisconsin songwriter Julie Patchouli and guitarist Bruce Heckles. They light up the air with sparkling acoustic sounds and their powerful contagious chemistry. Patchouli’s down-to-earth, hopeful songwriting is “New American Folk” blending elements of folk, pop, flamenco and jazz with world beat rhythms and their sound has been described as “the harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel meet the guitar brilliance of the Gipsy Kings”.
Their soulful fusion of blazing Spanish and world guitar instrumentals, spine tingling vocal harmonies, and epic folk rock anthems are infused with a visible onstage chemistry. An extraordinary bond is immediately apparent as two guitars merge into one acoustic wall of sound and their innovative, percussive flat-picking and hybrid fingerstyle techniques leave even astute listeners wondering where the drummer is.
October 12th: TBA
November 9th: Katie Dahl http://www.katiedahlmusic.com
Wisconsin singer-songwriter Katie Dahl has performed her original songs everywhere from the dusty cliff country of Mali, West Africa, to the winding canals of southern France, to the cedar forests of the American northwoods. The depth and power of Katie’s alto voice, the literate candor of her original songs, and the easy humor of her live performances have earned her numerous songwriting awards, as well as the chance to share stages with such luminaries as Dar Williams, Peter Mulvey, Julie Gold, and Cheryl Wheeler.
December 14th: TBA