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Music at the Museum

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.

I am happy to announce our new sponsor, Carpenter St. Hotel in Springfield.  We greatly appreciate their support and hope you will support them in return.  I’ve personally stayed there many times and always found the facility to be excellent and reasonable priced.  Take a moment to check them out on the link to the right.

Join our email list by clicking here.


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.

Though Katie currently makes her home in rural Door County, Wisconsin, she travels extensively, playing intimate house concerts as well as established venues like Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. Richly steeped in the folk songwriter tradition, Katie navigates the muddy waters between the personal and the public with the skill of a writer twice her age. She is equally comfortable writing about the intricacies of a complicated relationship (without being indulgent or myopic) and taking on the threat of chain restaurants to her own small community (without being polarizing or didactic). The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says that Katie combines “old-fashioned populism, an abiding love of the land and wickedly smart love songs, all delivered in a rich and expressive alto.”

December 14th,  Eric Lambert w/Josh Mcpartland  

Eric Lambert performs his original elixir of feel-good Americana infused with bluegrass, blues, rock, and dosed with soul. 

From the Chicago area, Eric is an international-touring artist with a career spanning over 40 years. Lambert’s authentic, heartfelt style and sound is an upbeat and eclectic blend of music that knows no boundaries. His creative output reflects the diversity of his influences, namely: Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Clarence White, Bill Monroe, Norman Blake, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, The Allman Brothers, and Robert Johnson.  He will be joined by mandolinist Josh Mcpartland.


2018 Season 

January 11th,  Chris Vallillo and Rocky Maffit 

The Civil Rights Movement has been described as one of the greatest singing movements that this country has experienced.  From “We Shall Overcome” to “This Little Light of Mine”, music played an vital role in that historic struggle both as an inspirational rallying point and as a way to spread the message of equality and justice.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day (1/15/18) series host Chris Vallillo will take the stage and perform his show, Oh Freedom!  along with master percussionist Rocky Maffit.  The show features 11 pivotal songs of the Civil Rights Movement along with first person accounts of how the music was used in this epic struggle for American Freedom.  This show is scheduled to be produced in a full theatrical version at Western Illinois University this coming April.  http://www.wiu.edu/cofac/bca/shows.php


February 8th,  Michael Jonathan

“Michael Johnathon is a folksinger, songwriter, concert performer, author who created and hosts the worldwide broadcast of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour with a radio audience with over a million listeners each week on 500 public radio stations, PBS-TV coast-to-coast plus American Forces Radio Network in 173 nations. He is also a consummate performer of traditional, contemporary and original folk songs.

His latest CD release is the live album “Looking Glass” and he recently published his third book, “WoodSongs III – A Folksinger’s Social Commentary and Front Porch Manual”.



March 8th , The Matchsellers

The Matchsellers are Warsaw, Indiana native Andrew Morris and Julie Bates of Kansas City, Missouri. Their exciting, gritty, and often hilarious stage show has been developed over four years of relentless touring across the US and Europe. Though deeply rooted in bluegrass and old time tradition, the pair’s respective backgrounds in electric blues guitar and classical violin– as well as a penchant for the absurd– offer a refreshing point of view. They have been featured on various NPR and international radio stations as well as blogs including The Bluegrass Situation, Dying For Bad Music and more.

Bates and Morris met in 2012 while teaching abroad in Leipzig, Germany. Their second full-length album, Songs We Made Up,  features the duo’s excellent musicianship, tight vocal harmonies, and wacky world view, ranging from beautiful waltzes to stolen crackers.




April 12th,  Escaping Pavement     

There is so much life and vitality in the Americana-folk journeys of Escaping Pavement, sprung entirely from an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and two voices. Fiery passion, wistful reflection, awestruck adventurousness, and heartstring-plucking poignancy, the duo discovers, through song, the range of human emotion and celebrates the purities of what we’ve left behind for the artifices of tech trends, drug stores and cacophonous city centers.

Started in 2012, Escaping Pavement released their debut, Uprooted in the summer of 2013, with the stomp of drums and the growl of the guitars giving it more of a blues-rock feel. However, soon after,  Burns and Markovitz felt their inspirations being drawn toward the sounds of folk, country, bluegrass and Americana, and so Escaping Pavement became a duo, with unplugged string instruments, and centered on the surest magic of their musical collaboration, their voices in melodic unison.

The Detroit Music Award winning album, The Night Owl was released in summer of 2016, and songs like “Fuel The Fire,” “Derailed,” and “Mary” crackle and shine with the synchronicity they’ve built up over a dozen years together.



May 10th, Greg Pasenko and Diane Deline 

Diane Delin is a violinist, composer, recording artist and educator.  A former resident of Springfield, IL, her jazz work has earned her the Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll “Rising Star” category four times.  The Chicago Tribune remarked, “Evocative performance… the way Delin and these musicians merge jazz rhythm with quasi classical instrumentation could lure both audiences.”

Diane will be joined by Chicago-based Blujazz recording artist Greg Pasenko.  Pasenko is a dynamic jazz singer, guitarist, and composer who was featured at a performance for President Clinton.  Together, this husband and wife team is both moving and intimate covering vocal jazz standards including tunes from “The American Songbook” like George Gershwin and Cole Porter as well as original pieces.




June 14th  Pushing Chain   

Pushing Chain is Boyd Blomberg on guitar and vocals and Adam Moe on fiddle and vocals. They have been playing together since 1997, and recorded their first album in 1998. They have been told many times that they are exponentially stronger musically together than they are apart, and after about 17 years of playing together, they are starting to believe it.

Pushing Chain believes in strong harmonies, kazoos, and sad songs. We believe in performing songs we’ve never played together, and jamming with people we’ve just met. That a guitarist and a fiddler can cover Hendrix if they want to. That music can cause tears and laughter, sometimes in the course of one song, and that there are still important songs to be written.


July 12th   Ordinary Elephant     

Ordinary Elephant captivates listeners with their well-honed combination of insightful writing, effortless harmonies and intertwined clawhammer banjo and guitar. Husband and wife duo Crystal and Pete Damore have been performing together since 2011, but their 2017 sophomore release ‘Before I Go’ established them nationally and internationally. Quickly receiving the support of the folk community, the album reached No. 2 on the Folk DJ Chart for January of this year with their opening track ‘Best of You,’ not only setting the tone of the record, but capturing the No. 3 song of the Month slot.

‘Before I Go’ is also exciting European ears. Upon his review of the album, Dani Heyvaert of Rootstime.be said “I remember when Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were here for the first time…I suspect that this couple is going to play in the same league in the foreseeable future.”



August 9th, Julie Christensen

Julie Christensen, born and raised in Iowa, left school to tour with her first band, which played country rock, landing for a time in Austin, Texas before heading to LA in the early 80s for the pioneering punk-roots rock band Divine Horsemen. She shared concert bills and close friendships with some of the greats who still populate Americana/Roots Rock today.

From there, the versatile singer-songwriter took yet another musical turn – this time into a musical partnership with Leonard Cohen. Julie sang with Cohen from 1988-1993, traveling around the globe, including The Vienna Opera House, stadiums in Madrid and Athens, major rock festivals, and a three-night stand at The Royal Albert Hall.

She is currently touring with two outstanding musicians,  Sergio Webb and Chris Tench. Check them out below:



September 13th  The OK Factor   

Olivia Diercks and Karla Colahan, cellist and violinist of The OK Factor, have one word to describe their musical connection: lucky. The ease with which they write and perform their original music is organic, and their new-classical crossover style has caught the attention of the Minnesota music community in which they live and work. It continues to bring them success on stages such as The Dakota Jazz Club, The Cedar Cultural Center, The Aster Cafe, The Stone Arch Bridge Festival and more.

Olivia and Karla are passionate about educational outreach and community engagement. They conduct workshops for string students of all ages, using their instruments as vehicles for creative and innovative musical thinking. Olivia and Karla also provide programming to reach community members where they’re at, creating an experience that inspires and encourages communities to explore music, and cultivate a curiosity about its role in their lives.

Following four years of writing, performing, and regional touring, The OK Factor is excited to share their fourth studio album, “That’s Enough of That”, released in August of 2016.




October 11th, (tent) Mari Black

Multistyle violinist and champion fiddler MARI BLACK is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing, engaging stage presence, and commitment to bringing people together through music have made her a favorite with audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, Mari is the 2015/2013 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, 2014 Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion, 2014/2012 Canadian Maritime Fiddle Champion, 2011 Canadian Novelty Fiddle Champion and 1st Prize Winner at the 2010 American Protégé International String Competition. On stage, she creates shows that draw on elements from many different styles including jazz, tango, folk, Western classical, as well as Celtic, American, and Canadian fiddling. Her performances take listeners on a musical journey exploring the diversity and celebrating commonalities in the dance-driven folk musics of the world.


November 8th, OPEN   Tentative:  Tim Grimm

Tim Grimm is a bit of a Rennaisance man in the performing arts world. He has for the past 15 years, blended his love for songwriting, travel, and the storytelling of acting (theatre, film and television). His most recent recording- A STRANGER IN THIS TIME (2017), is a collaboration with his wife, Jan,and sons Connor and Jackson– the “Family Band”. In the Fall of 2016 this same group recorded the single- WOODY’S LANDLORD– which was the #1 song on Folk Radio for the year. Tim’s previous recording, THE TURNING POINT, produced the #1 song on Folk radio in 2014– KING OF THE FOLKSINGERS. It was a particularly gratifying honor, given the song is a tribute to Tim’s friend and musical icon, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Tim’s history with Ramblin’ Jack goes back 30 years– beginning with a bicycle ride that led to The Newport Folk Festival.



December 13th, Curtis and Loretta

We’ll end the year with a specialHoliday concert from our good friends Curtis and Loretta.

Curtis & Loretta’s music comes straight from the heart.   The husband and wife duo’s extraordinary harmonies and proficiency on a parade of stringed instruments create an alluring frame for their poignant original songs, and traditional pieces from America and the British Isles.  The current menagerie includes mandocello, folk harp, guitars, clawhammer banjo, ukulele, and mandolin, plus a bit of kazoo, harmonica, and shakers. Curtis’ down-home sense of humor and Loretta’s theater background engage the audience in an experience that runs the gamut of rolling with laughter to holding back tears, with plenty of side-trips in between.  They rack up countless miles each year, crisscrossing the country to deliver their own unique brand of folk singer/songwriter music.