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Thankful for vinyl, readers, listeners and live music

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I am taking a pause to say “THANK YOU” on this Thanksgiving Day to all of The Times readers and the many radio listeners across the dial who have allowed me a platform for the last 40-plus years, to write and talk about one of my favorite things in the world — music.

I am also thankful to see vinyl albums flourishing more and more as new generations — Millennials to Gen Z and Gen X — continue in greater numbers to gravitate towards my life-long passion of record collecting.

The resurgence of record buying has been helping to close what we used to call “the generation gap,” as parents, children and grandchildren now go out record shopping side by side, often grabbing copies of the same albums and artists.

Speaking of music, here’s a few things happening this weekend in the Region.

Northwoods Falls celebrates first yearIt has been a full year this weekend since the enormous log cabin sitting empty at 8101 Wicker Ave. in St. John re-opened to once again become a hub for dining, drinking and live music. The venue once known as Northwoods, and now called Northwoods Falls, has been a boon to the local music scene.

Congratulations to current owners Jeff and Dana Conti, on the wonderful job they have done over the last 12 months breathing life back into a venue that had been dormant for nearly a decade. Their expanded and remodeled outside deck features dozens of live concerts during the warm weather months, along with live music featured on their inside stage.

Northwoods Falls celebrates its first year this weekend with a Friday performance by The Visions of Santana and a Saturday performance by The High Street Band. More: or 219-351-5148.


  • Hobart Art Theater (230 main St.) in Hobart features two family-friendly events this holiday weekend. On Friday the theater goes to the dogs — literally — as “Puppy Pals” offers some truly tail-wagging delight starting at 7 p.m. “Puppy Pals” stars talented rescue dogs and was first seen in Season 15 of the NBC-TV hit series, “America’s Got Talent,” where it was a season finalist. Tickets: $20.

On Saturday, NWI’s Mush Music presents a tribute version of one of the most popular holiday season shows of the last few decades. Chicago-based Christmas Wizards will deliver a tribute to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and like the original will feature a state of the art light show, a full cast of talented artists and even a snow machine. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. More:

  • Hobart High School vocal group — WOLFFGANG — has been tapped to open the show on Dec. 3 for The Women of Motown at Hobart Art Theater (230 Main St.). The teenage ladies under the direction of HHS music educator Dean Wolff will perform a mix of holiday songs with assorted pop hits from various decades when they take the stage at 7 p.m. The Women of Motown follow with two hours of R&B classics from the 1960s to present day. More:
  • “Small Business Saturday” will find live Northwest Indiana musicians performing live for shoppers at both locations of The Record Bin. Guitar virtuoso Marco Villarreal performs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; followed by popular teen rocker Geddy Trezak from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Hobart store (218 Main St.). Country-Pop singer/songwriter LeAnn Stutler will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bin store in Michigan City (1601 Franklin St.). More:
  • Avenue 912 (202 W. Ridge Road) in Griffith has the NWI band Smalltown doing Mellencamp favorites at 7 p.m. on Friday. More:
  • There are plenty of blues to go around this weekend at Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana (5400 W. 29th Ave.) in Gary. Friday finds blues man John Primer pushing out true Chicago blues on the Council Oak Bar Stage from 8-11 p.m. Texas blues woman Ally Venable returns by popular demand to the Hard Rock Cafe Stage to offer up scorching treatments of songs from her growing catalog of album releases. Fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan will love the fret-fingering skills of this little lady. On Saturday, the Cafe stage welcomes the country sounds of NWI’s own Nate Venturelli, while the live blues of the Smiley Tillmon Band is heard at the Oak Council Bar Stage. More: 219-228-2383.
  • Leroy’s Hot Stuff (333 W. U.S. 20) in Porter features two local favorites this Thanksgiving weekend as The Phantom Zone takes the stage on Friday, followed Saturday by the sensational R&B/funk group, Together. Music starts both nights at 8 p.m. The weekly Sunday “Blues Jam” (7 to 11 p.m.) is hosted by Corey Dennison. More: or 219-926-6211.
  • Chicagoland songwriter and recording artist Dave Rudolf will guest this coming Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. on 89.1-FM Lakeshore Public Radio’s weekly “Midwest BEAT” radio program. Selections from Rudolf’s two newest albums will be featured and he will perform a song or two live in studio with accompaniment by guitarist John Chorney. Tune in or stream live at:

Opinions are solely those of the writer. Reach him at


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