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Hickory Ridge Concert Series

1/29/23  Season #2!

Back at the Historic Ellisville Opera House
Showtime: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $10/Adults | $5/Under 12


Our first season presenting concerts at the Ellisville Opera House proved to be a great success.  I have heard so many compliments about the space and how much folks enjoy being there. I want thank Paula Helle 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!

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We will be starting the series back with a February 11th show (2nd Saturday!) featuring the Madison Wisconsin Americana/Swing duo Gaines and Wagoner. I'm lining up a full season of shows, most, but not all, being on then 3rd Saturday. I haven't seen things since November, but I understand preliminary work has been done for the elevator. I will definitely be keeping you up to date on that.


If you are new to our series, our shows take place in a little known gem on the Spoon River, in rural Western Illinois, The Ellisville Opera House. The Ellisville Opera House in an 1881 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!  On the downside, the Opera House is a second story venue, as was the tradition, and they do not yet have an elevator installed (it's in the planning) so the stair may be a challenge for our older audience members.

I'll be varying the third Saturday of the month schedule this year due to previous conflicts and artist availabilty 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


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.

2023 Lineup

February 11th, Gaines and Wagoner 7:00 PM 

Based in Madison, WI, the award-winning husband and wife duo of Mary Gaines (cello, guitar, bass, vocals) and Chris Wagoner (violin, mandolins, lapsteel, ukulele, guitar, accordion, vocals) play an eclectic mix of Americana—original and classic tunes ranging from folk to jazz, bluegrass to blues, honky-tonk and a little singer-songwriter on the side. A live show involving Gaines and Wagoner is a high-wire act of improv chemistry that you’ll only find with people who have been playing (and living) together for decades!

March 18th,  Deidre McCalla 

A dreadlocked singer-songwriter-guitarist for close to five decades, Deidre McCalla has touched audiences from Maui to Maine, church basements and college coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall.  Deidre McCalla came of age in the fiery blaze of NYC's folk heyday - a time when Greenwich Village clubs were filled with the likes of Dylan, Baez, and Ochs; a time when Motown ruled the top of the charts and the streets of America screamed with anger and civil unrest.  Her music taps a variety of musical styles with Deidre’s vocal the connecting thread drawing the listener in with rich warmth and a feather-light depth. Her powerful songwriting exhibits an unyieldingly honest perspective grounded in her life and expressed with a lyric touch that is simple and direct and fearlessly celebrates the power and diversity of the human spirit.

April 15th, Edward David Anderson

Edward David Anderson is an American songwriter and veteran of the road who spent his formative years known for infectious melodies and memorable messages. He defines his sound as Black Dirt Music. "Songs about people and places, about life and love and loss. It's roots music, cultivated in the fertile soil of the Midwest."

May 20th, Ruth and Max Bloomquist

Ruth and Max celebrate 45 years of performing their style of Acoustic Americana, with roots in Folk, Bluegrass, and traditional Country music. Ruth is well known for her songwriting as well as her striking alto voice. She was a winner of Merlefest’s Chris Austin Song Writing competition in 2003 and the pair's release, Turn Back a Page reached No. 5 on the Folk DJ Airplay Chart with 4 songs in the top 100 for that year.

June 17th Catch the Twain, Featuring Warren Brown and Mark Dvorak. 

Warren Brown has long been one of the countries most respected Mark Twain impersonators and he brings Twain to life in his show Catch the Twain enhanced by music from longtime friend of the series, Mark Dvorak.

July 15th,  Chris Vallillo

The series host, Chris Vallillo will take the stage with material from his new CD Forgottonia and a few selected original songs.  Forgottonia features 17 songs and five instrumentals, all of which speak about the rural Midwest.  This will be the first "road test" of the material for the Forgottonia show he is currently developing for theatrical production.

August 19th, Andy Cohen and special guest TBA

Andy Cohen is a blues musician who resides in Memphis Tennessee. He literally learned at the feet of the Masters pPlaying mostly Southeastern music including blues, gospel, country dance music, fiddle tunes, monologues, ballads, classic rags, ditties, country songs and boogies. This is still in the works, but will also showcasing a new artist he is producing on his blues label.  Could be something special...

September 16th, Dave Rudolph

Dave Rudolf is a long time performer and a multi award winning singer/songwriter who is releasing his 42nd Album …He's a Gold Record, Grammy nominated artist, 15 time nominee for Entertainer of the Year awards from  NACA (The National Association for Campus Activities), has 42 albums many of which have won various awards. He is an award winning childrens' author, wrote for Disney, did a TV pilot for the All New Captain Kangaroo several years back, written for Second City,

October 14th, Donna Herula Trio

Award winning slide guitarist Donna Herula is making quite a name herself as the new breakout woman of Chicago Blues!  You may remember her from a live stream Hickory Ridge concert in June of 2021.  She plays great traditional Blues as well as her own original material and will be bringing her trio.

November 18th, Dennis Warner

 Dennis Warner has established a well-deserved reputation for captivating audiences with his smooth vocals, distinguished songs, enthusiastic personality and stellar playing on both six and twelve string guitars. 


Besides being a gifted musician, Dennis Warner is also an outstanding entertainer, cleverly blending ballads, up-tempo songs, audience participation and humor into a memorable event. He is noted for his warm stage presence and ability to connect with his audience. 

December 9th, Tent, Dennis Stroughmatt Trio

Fingers and bow flying, Dennis Stroughmatt takes listeners on a musical odyssey not so different from his own musical journeys into Upper Louisiana Creole Culture. Taught to play fiddle by local Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers, Dennis gradually became an adopted son of the French Midwest Creoles living along the Mississippi River near St Louis. A vibrant blend of Celtic, Canadian and Old Time sounds, this music bridges the gap between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles. Preserved by families in the Ozark foothills, the music remains largely intact and true to the traditions that have been passed down for over three centuries.  

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