Vince’s Notes: Rockford blossoming with fresh music

By Vince Chiarelli

After a long, hard winter, Rockford is blossoming with fresh musical events, artists and venues. I’ll be commenting on some of my favorites in the upcoming weeks. These include the following:

• A new Tuesday beer garden series;

• A local jazz all-star group in a special concert setting;

• A combination patio concert and video recording series;

• A new concert series that features an unusual variety of musical styles;

• A new First Friday all-originals concept; and

• A special appearance by an iconic artist who is part of one of Nashville’s “royal families.”

Let’s start down the list. Mulligan’s on North Main is hosting upbeat summer music in their beer garden from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesdays. The May 27 group was Madison’s No Name String Band. These folks are a hoot. They call their music “new time” to describe the contemporary energy they bring to traditional instruments and vocal interpretations. They’re scheduled for several other Rockford-area gigs, including a major concert; be sure to see them. June 3, North Country Blonde, another young band with timeworn musical roots, plays the beer garden. I think it’s great when younger artists breathe new life into musical forms, and I am glad that Mulligan’s is supporting this creative style of music.

In The Groove Hotel band, some of the region’s most celebrated players perform an original mix of upbeat funk, Latin and swing-style jazz to produce contagious, distinctive, memorable music. Most of our readers will recognize these names: Phil Pilcher — tenor sax, soprano sax and flute; Bob Rub — piano; Dave Timmcke — bass; Jeff Layng — trumpet; and Dan Kasten — drums. The group has played a variety of clubs and outdoor venues. At 7 p.m., this Friday, May 30, they can be heard in an intimate concert setting at JustGoods Listening Room, 201 Seventh St.

The “Songs from Screw City” recording series “Hits the Streets” for an 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. run every Friday all summer, at Kryptonite Bar’s Main Street patio. Performances are professionally recorded to produce a video library of music from local and regional singers, songwriters and musicians at The series starts this Friday, May 30, with a “Vincent Records Showcase” that will feature original songs by my own Vince Chiarelli Band and by the Between Planes band. I plan to record a live version of my recent song, “Angelina,” and Ron Holm will be sure to record “Rollin’ Home To Rockford,” an original song that Between Planes is often asked to perform. We’ll have lots more originals, too, and after the recording is finished, both bands plan to jam 2for a while. Lots of wonderful artists are lined up for this summer, including blues by Dan Phelps, pop rock by TRaSh 80’s, and power-folk by Dirt Simple, to name just a few. Special beer brats and lunchtime beverages will be available to complement the great music.

More next week about exciting events, artists and venues.

Please contact Vince Chiarelli if you have any original Rockford music or radio suggestions. He can be reached at

From the May 28-June 3, 2014, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!