The coming of a new year brings new shows to area venues and among the most anticipated series of shows by region music lovers are those brought to the college town of Valparaiso each year by regional promoters who are first and foremost music fans.
First up is the Imagine Music Series at the historic Memorial Opera House (104 Indiana Street) which over the last four years has featured such artists as Roger McGuinn, Shawn Mullins, The Smithereens, and Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers..
For their 2013 series -- Rob Harkel and Brad Koeppen – the two music lovers behind Imagine Music kick things off on Jan. 26 with Marcia Ball and what is sure to be a show with plenty of sizzle. Over the course of her three decade career, this five-time Grammy nominated Alligator recording artist has amassed an intensely loyal fan base for her boogie woogie piano style that passionately blends the blues of her native Austin with the swampy sounds of New Orleans. At noon Saturday Marcia Ball guests on “The Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” radio program on Northwest Indiana’s NPR station 89.1 FM The Lakeshore.
The Imagine Music series continues on March 23 with a solo acoustic evening with alt-country singer/songwriter Gary Louris, a founding member of The Jayhawks and more recently a musical collaborator of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in the Golden Smog project. Next up on May 11, Imagine presents roots rockers Chuck Prophet & The Mission Keepers; followed by a Sept. 21 concert by folk-pop singer/songwriter Dar Williams; before wrapping up with a return date (his third) on Nov. 16 by New York rocker Willie Nile with his full band. Ticket costs and show times at: www.mohlive.com or call (219) 548-9137.
The “One Night Jam Series” presented at Valparaiso’s Chicago Street Theatre (154 West Chicago Street) by local promoter/music lover Paul Braun has also announced the first half of its 2013 season of shows.
First up is a return date by singer/songwriter/guitarist Mike Aquino on Jan. 27. Though Aquino is a popular side man and session player for top Chicagoland artists like Dennis DeYoung and Jim Peterik, his solo music is country-pop.
Other “One Night Jam” shows are the Feb. 17 return of Nashville singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters; a March 24 return performance by singer/songwriter Dan Navarro (half of the legendary Lowen & Navarro duo); Russian-born pop singer/pianist Marina V. makes a return to the CST stage by popular demand on April 14; husband and wife Celtic-pop duo Acoustic Eidolon make their debut at CST on May 3; and renown blues guitar scorcher Anthony Gomes will perform a rare acoustic solo concert on June 3 on his first ever visit to Valparaiso. More show information at: www.chicagostreet.org/concerts or call (219) 464-1636.
• Northwest Indiana blues band, Steepwater, perform a free hometown concert at 10 p.m. Saturday at Lucille’s in Griffith before returning to the road for an extended tour that will run from Feb. 1 thru April 15. The Griffith-based quartet – drummer Joe Winters, bassist Tod Bowers, guitarist Eric Saylors and guitarist/vocalist Jeff Massey – had a good year in 2012, according to Winters.
“We signed with the agency Intrepid Artists International out of Charlotte, North Carolina. (We played) 135 shows all across the country, making it our busiest touring year ever,” said Winters. “Two major motion pictures used Steepwater original music. Our song ‘Baby You’re On Your Own’ was featured in ‘The Five Year Engagement’ and our song ‘Collision’ was featured in ‘One For The Money’. As we head into 2013, the band is gearing up for more touring, touring, and touring.” More: www.steepwaterband.com
• Grammy-nominated Chicagoland singer/songwriter Dave Rudolf brings his humor and music to Front Porch Music (505 E. Lincolnway) in Valparaiso for an 8 p.m. all ages show on Saturday. Rudolf is the author of such wry tunes as “The Deer Song,” “The Oprah Song” and “Desperate Taco,” and is a master of parodies who has been featured on the syndicated “Dr. Demento Show.” Rudolf has been a top draw for family audiences for decades and is someone not to miss. Cost: $12. More: www.daverudolf.com or www.frontporchmusic.com