Can a columnist get a new picture already?

One of the most well-respected names among country musicians will make a tour stop in Tolono this Friday. That’s right, Tolono got this show ahead of CU, which was apparently asleep at the wheel. Luckily for you (not just country fans but guitarists and just music enthusiasts in general), Tolono is a quick 10 minutes south on Route 45 (Neil St.). That’s where you’ll find Radmaker’s, a live music club that you might not have heard of but that is hosting Redd Volkaert. Redd is famous amongst the country elite, having worked with a wide array of artists such as Merle Haggard, Neko Case, Patsy Montana, Hank III, Dolly Parton and CU native Alison Krauss. His recent work with Brad Paisley earned him a Grammy nomination. Volkaert is an imposing figure that makes his Fender Telecaster look like a child’s replica when strapped on him. His hands seem too big to ably work the fretboard, and yet his fingers move gracefully and at blistering speed. A quick search on YouTube will yield several videos to acclimate you to his style and just what you’ll be in for when Redd plays at Radmaker’s Friday evening. The 8 p.m. show is only $5 at the door, a ridiculously cheap price that also gets you an opening set from the immensely popular Feudin’ Hillbillies. Don’t think that this is a show that only country fans will enjoy. On top of his fantastic playing, Volkaert is also an amiable entertainer in both lyrics and onstage banter.
Fans of Mhondoro who were saddened to hear of the band’s demise following the departure of singer Tony Perman to Maine will be happy to know that the band has semi-reformed and will begin performing again starting this Saturday. The band was rekindled by the arrival of Bolokada Conde (to teach at the UIUC Center for World Music) from the Republic of Guinea (Africa). The man and his drum will be the new focus in Mhondoro Meets Bolokada, a band that will split its time between the usual Zimbabwean pop that Mhondoro fans would dance relentlessly to and new sounds (equally danceable) from modern Guinea. The band will open the show Saturday at Cowboy Monkey (10 p.m.) ahead of Beat Kitchen, a band that also has some surprises up its sleeve. The usual funk/R&B/rock sound of BK will be augmented by a full horn section for even more awesomeness. The show will cost you $5.
The Embassy Tavern in downtown Urbana is still trying its best to offer frequent live music, but it actually needs some of you guys to attend so musicians aren’t going home in tears. You know how those musicians can be — they’re all softies. Tuesday, Oct. 14, the Surreal Deal will once again cram into the corner to offer up its own brand of classic Americana (songs from bands such as the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and more). With players like Jeff Kerr, Jesse Brown, Billy Galt and Josh Quirk — all road-hardened veterans — at work, you can be sure that the songs will take on interesting new shapes. This show is free (but donations are accepted — hell, encouraged) and will begin at 8 p.m.
Something to keep your eye on for next Thursday is the opener for the Man Man show at the Canopy Club. If you haven’t yet heard of Tim Fite, look him up online.
In what I believe will be the final Record Store Roundup, I’ll be taking a bit of space here to talk about Any Frequency in Monticello. Like Backbeats in Rantoul, this is a shop in a town where you generally wouldn’t expect to find a good record store. But also like Backbeats, Any Frequency is full of surprises. Owned and operated by Tim Williams (long known in the area for being a fantastic DJ), the store sits at the corner of Washington and Market (220 W. Washington), just off of the Monticello town square. The place is still a bit of an upstart, accumulating more used (CDs and LPs) stock when possible. There is plenty to peruse already, though, along with the new vinyl and CDs. Williams is also the kind of guy who will track down something that you’re looking for if he can. He keeps a stock any local stuff that he can get his hands on and even has a little section for apparel such as Headlights and Elsinore T-shirts. Those with cat allergies, beware — another store cat lurks here. I’ll once again mention, too, that the store is located in close proximity to the Brown Bag, which is a delightful eatery that I visited again last Friday and once again came away from happy (hand-dipped ice cream for $1.25?!?!). This place has amazing sandwiches and homemade desserts and is a part of downtown Monticello that is very much a place you should visit if you’re looking to get out of Champaign for an evening. Great eateries (Montgomery’s on the Square for fine dining; Oinkers, a new BBQ place; the Brown Bag and Main Street Bar, with great burgers and bar food), a record store and — like any good town square should have — the county Democrat and Republican offices diagonally across the square from each other. Seriously, check out Monticello.

Leave a Reply