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Hickory Ridge Concert Series

1/5/2024, our 3rd season at Ellisville!

Showtime: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $10/Adults | $5/Under 12


Once again, we are starting a new season at the historic Ellisville Opera Hoouse! I have heard so many compliments about the space and how much folks enjoy being there. I want thank Paula Helle, Becky, and all of the folks in HERO that that make this possible and a big thank you to Mike Franke who has been handling our sound!


We will be starting the series back with a January 20th performance featuring our

friends Curtis and Loretta from Minneapolis MN.  I'm lining up a full season of shows,

most, but not all, being on then 3rd Saturday.  See the lineup below and like

Hickory Ridge Concerts on facebook to keep in the loop.


For anyone not familiar with the series, Hickory Ridge concerts presents acoustic music of all styles in a unique, intimate listening room; the historic The Ellisville Opera House. The Ellisville Opera House in an 1891 Opera House right along the Spoon River in rural West Central, IL.  It still retains it's original bent wood chairs, the painted backdrop  and all it's original detailing plus there is in house sound, lights and air conditioning!  Though in keeping with tradition, the Opera House is a second story venue, the elevator is installed and working! 

I'll be varying the third Saturday of the month schedule on occaision this year due to previous conflicts and artist availability but I'll continue to  feature the best in roots, folk and acoustic music of all kinds.


Coffee, drinks, and a variety of desserts are available! Desserts provided by Becky of Lunch Wagon Concessions, all locally made and delicious!  Here is a google Map link for the Ellisville Opera House:  ELLISVILLE MAP   

Thanks to our media partner, WIUM, FM, your source for NPR programming, local news and a variety of music 


This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Two Rivers Arts Council.

2024 Lineup

January 20th, Curtis and Loretta 7:00 PM 

From Minneapolis, MN, Curtis and Loretta present a captivating evening of finely honed vocal harmonies, performed with abundant talent on an wide array of stringed instruments.  From Celtic harp and mandocello, to steel ukulele and kazoo, to mandolin, guitar, and clawhammer banjo, Curtis and Loretta will use seventy-three strings and two voices deliver an enchanting evening of contemporary original songs, traditional Celtic ballads, old-time American songs, and more. 

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February 17th,  Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith is a songwriter and musician equally rooted in his Midwestern home and his Appalachian family heritage with a sonic palette as diverse as his influences. A former minister, Stuart began recording a series of demos in the fall and winter of 2017 following his exit from a decade in ministry. “These were me finding my voice and seeing if I had anything to say. All I knew was I wanted a change, but I didn’t know what it’d look like or if what I had in my head was any good”. 

“Smith is blessed with a soothing voice that burns just right, compelling stringed instrument skills that are in the brilliant range, and thoughtful songs that offer a penetrating resonance into the human condition, all while being artful and accessible.“ -The Illinois Times

March 16th, Nathan Taylor Trio

Back by popular demand, this local guitarist tears it up mixing old blues guitar styles with the horns of Dixieland Jazz.  From classic roots songs and blues from the delta to early New Orleans jazz and Nathan Taylor originals you'll sway to soulful spins on the old styles mixed with new music as they are transported to simpler times past and present. The band features Nathan Taylor on guitars, vocals and harmonica, Tom Stoner on Trumpet, and Larry Harms on Clarinet and Saxophone and was extremely well at their last performance at Hickory Ridge!

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April 20th LIL Rev

Lil Rev’s shows are fast paced and fun, covering a wide range of styles from Stephen Foster songs to Delta Holler Blues to the music of Tin Pan Alley. A seasoned multi-instrumentalist equally adept with a flat-pick guitar, old-time banjo, or blues mandolin, he was Hohner's 1996 National Blues Harmonica Champion and was inducted into The Traditional Old-Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003.  He has been described as “an immensely talented and entertaining performer (whose) concise, eloquent and witty introductions add to the fun! This man knows music, instruments, history, cultures, and most of all, how to engage and captivate an audience.”

May 18th, Chris Walz

Nationally acclaimed bluegrass multi-instrumentalist Chris Walz combines a joy of performing with a reverence for America’s musical story. Chris perfected his Scruggs-style banjo playing and guitar flatpicking at a young age as he diligently studied all his musical heroes from Pete Seeger to Mississippi John Hurt to Woody Guthrie to Dave Van Ronk. Whether it is his lightning speed on the banjo’s fretboard, his hard hitting grooves on the guitar or his tender melodic touch on the mandolin, Chris delivers a fulfilling performance. To top it off, Chris is an extraordinary singer, using his rich voice to buoy up a traditional ballad, a unique original composition, or a rousing ‘tear down the house’ bluegrass medley. His many years touring with bluegrass, Grammy nominated Special Consensus, honed his group and solo prowess. A natural born storyteller, Chris has a masterful presence as he weaves his songs and remembrances, one to the next, into a night of music that is not easily forgotten. 

June 15th  Paul Hayes

Jonas Friddle had a conflict and has had to cancel, but we've got a great replacement!. Blues Master Paul Hayes for a night of classic country and Chicago blues.  for many year's Paul was the back up guitarist with Blues legend Honey Boy Edwards. Honey Boy was with Robert Johnson, the man who reportedly sold his soul to the devil at the fabled cross roads,  the night he was poisoned and died.  Should nbe a great night.

July 20th, NO SHOW  Go see Forgottonia at the Hainline Theater in Macomb

I won't be producing a show at Ellisville on July the 20th.  Instead, I am premiering my own new show, Forgottonia, at the Hainline Theater in Macomb, IL.  Last July I presented the first rough draft of that show at Ellisville.  Here's your chance to see the fully developed and produced show live.

August 17th Jim Kanas

Jim Kanas is a multi-style guitarist from Northern Illinois. As a teenager Jim studied classical music and jazz improvisation and through educational and other venues found himself in the company of many jazz performers and educators including Pat Metheny, George Benson, Gary Burton and Stan Kenton to name a few. Jim has won multiple awards as a jazz guitarist in the Chicago land area while he also pursues his love of playing bluegrass, folk and traditional music. 

September 21st TBA


October 19th Charlie Mosbrook

In the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Charlie uses his music as a vehicle to build a better world  through programs like Music to Life, Stop the Hate, monthly performances in the local spinal cord injury unit, and countless charities and events that advocate for human rights and environmental action. Charlie’s music is both informed and inspired by the amazing individuals who give themselves to these causes.  Charlie believes if you have an honest song, the truth will shine.  His song “Remember Who We Are” won second place in the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. His CD Something to Believe was the featured album on WFMT Chicago’s Midnight Special, and his song “Up Among the Stars” was featured on No Depression.

November 16th, John Stano

Singer/songwriter John Stano’s sound is a distinctive blend of acoustic and slide guitar, stellar rack harmonica, expressive vocals and insightful songwriting developed over many years of performance and study. He sometimes adds a little mandolin, cigar box guitar or banjo to the mix as well. His style can be described as a combination of Folk, Americana and Country Blues. Initially self-taught, John went on to study American fingerstyle guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and harmonica with national blues legend, Jim Liban.

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December 14th TBA
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