Vince’s Notes: Exciting local musical projects launch this fall

Ron Holm
Ron Holm

By Vince Chiarelli

Lots of interesting musical projects are taking off this fall. Here is a summary of a few of my favorites. Email for information about these and many other events.


Kryptonite Bar is reintroducing its Sunday blues jam. Last year’s version of the jam earned praise from listeners and players alike, and helped form new friendships and musical collaborations among some of the area’s hottest blues artists. The jam will be the first Sunday of each month at 7 p.m., starting Oct. 5. The Oct. 5 house band will feature great guitar licks by legend “Barstool” Bob Levis and blues prodigy Justin “Boots” Gates. After a set by the house band, musicians can take the stage on a first-come, first-served basis. The duration of performances will depend on the number of participants. Email to sign up to play or sing; “walk-in” performers are welcome, too, but email registrants play first.


My Between Planes friends have launched a new project with Aurora’s young country music phenom Matthew Ed Stillman. It’s called “ORBISON COUNTRY” and features Ron Holm leading a set of Roy Orbison music and Matthew Ed leading a set of country classics by the likes of Merle Haggard and Hank Williams. The Between Planes band backs both singers, and their keyboard stand-out Jannie Nelson joins Matthew Ed for some June Carter-Johnny Cash echoes. The group’s first major ORBISON COUNTRY event will be Nov. 15 in Hinckley, Illinois. They have scheduled a local preview for Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at JustGoods listening room, 201 Seventh St., in Rockford, as part of the MidTown ArtScene celebration.


Katie’s Cup’s Thursday concert series is a big success. Katie’s offers a great environment for live music, and the midweek time allows musicians to perform without conflicting with weekend gigs. Many outstanding evenings have already been held, including a solo classical performance by Pulse 18’s Paul Bronson and a duo performance by Dean Moriarty’s Tim Shaffer and Phil Pilcher. More excellent concerts are scheduled for the remainder of the year. Thursday concerts are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at 502 Seventh St. in Rockford.


Rockford University, my alma mater, is re-introducing the Thursday open mic series. The events are in the Lion’s Den, just east of the Blanche Walker Burpee Center. A sound system is provided; performers need to bring their own instruments. The next open mic is Thursday, Oct. 30. Hats off to local indie music gurus Matt Flamm and Ron Rawhoof for coordinating these events.


The Spring Creek UCC Harvest Bazaar, 4500 Spring Creek Road, is always well attended. This year, the event will include live music for the first time. Some of the area’s favorite musicians are scheduled to perform between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Nov. 8.


As you’ll see when you check out this week’s Rock River Times Vibe section, there is much more exciting music happening in our community. It’s like a Rockford Renaissance.

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

From the Oct. 1-7, 2014, issue

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