Dates, Times and Locations are subject to change, so we suggest calling before attending an event.
12/11/2017 “Easy” Ed Selinger and Edmopolitans plays Blue Monday at The Alamo @ 8 PM
Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise ‘Jamarama Jam Host’ Ed Selinger plays Drums & Sings with the best of them. “Easy Ed” Selinger has his roots in the Last Chance Blues Band, LowDown Blues Band and Lights Out Blues Band, just to name a few. He’s now with The MojoCats, holding the groove together with that amazing Blues Band from central Illinois. This Blue Monday may revert to the ‘Jams of Yesteryear’ at Bruce’s Tavern as Ed will have notable musicians making up the soon to be famous Edmopolitans. $4 cover charge.
12/18/2017 The Mary Jo Curry Band plays Blue Monday at The Alamo @ 8 PM
Mary Jo’s talent has been recognized by the honor of receiving the Kankakee Area Music Awards, “Best Blues Artist” for 2016. Her CD, “Mary Jo Curry”, was selected to represent the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society in the Blues Foundation’s, Best Self Produced CD competition.
Ms. Curry’s college training was in theater performance and voice. Her professional career started as lead singer in a popular rock cover band. While doing a show with a local theater group, Mary Jo was “discovered” by theater talent scouts who wanted Mary Jo to audition for a role in a major touring troupe; this audition led to a stint as a professional theater performer. Five years ago she fell in love with blues music, and was soon invited to join a Central Illinois blues band. The band quickly realized that Mary Jo was the real deal, and the band restructured itself to feature Mary Jo as the lead vocalist.
Mary Jo is joined onstage by her husband, Michael Rapier, who plays lead guitar, acts as band leader, and shares in the songwriting duties. The last 5 years have been the incubator to allow Mary Jo to shape her sound and her direction as a blues performer, and she is now ready to bring her blues to the world. $4 cover charge.
12/20/2017 Black Magic Johnson at Craft Beer Bar 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
12/26/2017 James Armstrong plays a Special ‘Blue Christmas’ Tuesday at The Alamo @ 8 PM brought to you by St. Nicholas
Born into a musical family in 1957 in Los Angeles, James Armstrong had blues music in his blood from the very start. His Mom was a blues singer, his Dad played jazz guitar. Armstrong formed his first band in the 7th grade, and by age 17 he was touring the country.
James would start making waves on the local California blues circuit by his 20s, becoming the youngest member of Smokey Wilson’s band. In the 1980s, James was a founding member of the band Mama Roo and received his first recording contract for Crescendo Records.
In the early 90s, James got plenty of exposure from his musical influences, including Albert Collins, and Sam Taylor. Shortly after that, he was discovered and signed by HighTone Records owner Bruce Bromberg, who had discovered and signed Robert Cray and Joe Louis Walker.
Armstrong was about to tour with his critically acclaimed first album, ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’, when tragedy struck. The events surrounding a home invasion left Armstrong without the use of his left hand and arm, including permanent nerve damage. This threatened to end his career forever; but thanks to the support of friends, fans and the blues community, Armstrong came back two years later with a second album, ‘Dark Night’.
What Armstrong lost in the tragedy he gained in “a whole new respect for the music itself, the power in slow blues, how the silences between the notes are as important as the notes.” Armstrong also turned his efforts to perfecting his songwriting, vocal and slide guitar skills, all the while developing his gift for turning hardship into song. The results were a third album, ‘Got It Goin’ On’. The CD garnered two Blues Music Award nominations for “best blues guitarist” and for “best song of the year” with “Pennies and Picks.”
James was also noticed by the music industry, having songs in three major motion pictures. “Bank of Love” was used in Hear No Evil, with Martin Sheen and Marlee Matlin. “Two Sides to Every Story” was featured in Speechless with Michael Keaton and Geena Davis, and also in The Florentine with Jeremy Davies and Luke Perry.
Over the years, Armstrong has performed in many countries throughout North America, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and the Middle East. Armstrong has shared the stage with many artists like ‘Keb Mo’, Coco Montoya, Chaka Kahn, Tommy Castro, Shemekia Copeland, Tab Benoit, Charlie Musselwhite, Walter Trout, Doug MacLeod, Roy Brown, Ricky Lee Jones, Jan and Dean, Mitch Mitchell, and many more.
‘Blues Been Good to Me’ is his latest release on CatFood Records (October 20, 2017). Armstrong released two prior CDs with CatFood Records: ‘Blues at The Border’ (2011) and ‘Guitar Angels’ (2014). Both CDs ranked in the top 40 of the year ratings in Living Blues radio charts. $4 cover charge.
1/1/2018 There will be NO Blue Monday at The Alamo on New Years Night
Your generosity and support have been the key ingredients to our success. So this New Year we wish to thank you for all the cooperation and hope to continue our association for a long time to come. The Illinois Central Blues Club wishes all of our members, supporters, corporate sponsors and the entire staff of The Alamo a “Happy New Year!
1/8/2018 Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls play Blue Monday at The Alamo
Raucous, rowdy, gentle, sweet, eccentric, quirky, and outright irreverent are all words that fittingly describe VizzTone Label Group artist Tas Cru’s songs and testify to his reputation as a one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. It’s not for nothing that Cru has received wide praise for his songwriting. As Downbeat magazine notes, “His songs are blues poetry – crafted with rare verbal flair and his ability to cast a memorable hook is magical!” Bruce Iglauer, founder and president of Alligator Records calls Cru “a rare, real writer.” Live, these songs are performed with power and passion as observed by Living Blues magazine, “The vivacity and sheer joy with which Cru plays is intoxicating!” $4 cover charge.
1/10/2018 Black Magic Johnson hosts James Armstrong Presents at The Alamo
Black Magic Johnson views the blues as a natural fact—the raw emotional juice that flows through all American music. Based in Springfield, Illinois, this quartet plays blues that strip away the lines between rhythm & blues, country, rock & roll, gospel, and soul. Black Magic Johnson’s CD, “Call Me” (2012), is a sonic testament to the unbound, life-affirming vigor of the blues. After cutting his teeth with Eddie Snow & the Snowflakes, Oysters Rockefeller, and Tom Irwin, Reggie Britton — singer, songwriter, drummer, and harmonica player — formed Black Magic Johnson as a way to live more, to make himself and others feel better through his “happy songs.”
Since then, Black Magic Johnson has performed alongside Koko Taylor at the 2006 Great Performers of Illinois celebration in Chicago, Lonnie Brooks, Davis Dee, Buddy Guy, Phil Guy and Ronnie Bake Brooks, Willie Nelson & others. BMJ been voted the Best Blues Act in a 2008, 2009, & 2011 Illinois Times readers poll, and been named the Official Blues Band of the Springfield Milers BMW Motorcycle Club.
Music from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. NO cover charge.
1/15/2018 The Groove Daddies play Blue Monday at The Alamo
The Groove Daddies were formed in 1990 by Gary Bloom and Jeff Kornfeld from the ashes of A Flock of Tooters. Way before that, Gary was in the Reindeer Army, Brian Moore was in Cats on Holiday, Jeff was in Big Business, Sean Simpson was in The Reign, Greg Deener was in Time Machine and the Greg Glick Band. In the last 20 years they’ve played all the major fairs and festivals. Generally, all this accounting is only interesting to chroniclers of rock lore, so if you really want to know one of the guys’ history, they’ve asked for you to just come up to him at a show and ask him what he remembers. Gary Bloom (lead vocals), Jeff Kornfeld (vocals, guitar), Brian Moore (vocals, saxophone), Gregg Deener (bass), Steve Emmons (keyboard), Sean Simpson (drums), Jim Crowley (drums) $4 cover charge.
1/24/2018 Dave Lumsden & Friends host James Armstrong Presents at The Alamo
Dave Lumsden & friends, Wayne Carter, Gary Davis and Art Carey, will bring their vast musical expertise to James Armstrong Presents at the Alamo. Dave always surrounds himself with the best musicians in Central Illinois making this a ‘Do Not MISS’ show. Who will show up to compliment Dave? Reggie Britton, Dion Doss, Robert Sampson, Stacy Doty, Steve The Harp? Maybe Mike King, Bill Evans? Possibly Tom Lewis? You better stop in and see. Great music and Fine food equate to an enjoyable evening!
Music from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. The Alamo kitchen will be open! NO cover charge!
3/24/2018 The Corey Dennison Band plays the Illinois Central Blues Club’s 32nd Anniversary Party
Formed in 2013, The Corey Dennison Band has become a favorite attraction at Chicago blues venues, including twice-weekly appearances at Kingston Mines. Led by Corey Dennison’s soulful voice and muscular guitar, the band released its self-titled studio debut for the legendary Delmark Records in 2016 after honing 13 original songs night after night on the bandstand. Corey’s decade-long stint with Carl Weathersby and Gerry Hundt’s tenure with Nick Moss are evident on the disc but blend effortlessly into a dynamic new Chicago sound, anchored by Aaron Whittier and drummer Joel Baer. Critics and radio polls responded favorably as the album garnered glowing reviews and constant worldwide airplay, netting chart positions on the Roots Music and Living Blues Radio Reports. Nominations followed suit, with a nod for Best Emerging Artist from the Blues Music Awards, a pair from Blues Blast Magazine, and Grammy balloting. Late 2017, further momentum accrued with their second Delmark release, “Night After Night”, complete with original material and select covers. The strength of the band’s repertoire is matched only by the charisma of the stage show; it’s not uncommon to see Corey belting out the blues, unamplified, in the heart of the audience while the band steps in time to the groove. It’s not novelty for these musicians and entertainers, however, it’s exactly where they want to be.
Robert Sampson will open the night of celebration. Robert is no stranger to competing in the ICBC Blues Challenge and has yet again won it and will be off to Memphis, TN. January 16 – 20, 2018 for the 34th International Blue Challenge.
Doors of the Knights of Columbus Meadowbrook Big Hall will open at 6:30. Check back for more details.