Peoria Public Library - Peoria, Illinois

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107 NE Monroe
Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070


Peoria Public Library 2016 “Music in the McKenzie”

Sundays 2 p.m.- 4 p.m.

At Peoria Public Library North Branch
3001 W Grand Parkway. Peoria, IL 61615

CD sales benefit Friends of Peoria Public Library


January 24 – Flatland Harmony Experiment

Flatland Harmony Experiment is a high octane three piece band that dances with a single large diaphragm microphone to share their music with audiences. The trio trade lead vocal and lead instrumental responsibilities through a diverse original musical playlist. The instrumental mix of banjo, mandolin and upright bass provides opportunities for musical expression and experimentation. Expect to hear music flowing from the founding roots of bluegrass to progressive gypsy and all places between. The concert is free and open to the public. A portion of CD sales will support The Friends of Peoria Public Library.


February 28 – Random Strangers- Peoria Reads Kickoff

 Celebrate Peoria Reads 2016 with some Music in the McKenzie. Copies of the Peoria Reads book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien will be given away and a full events list will be available.  The musical group Random Strangers is Chuck Mahieu and Steve Fairbanks. They sing and play acoustic guitars to perform some of the best rock 'n roll tunes of the Viet Nam War generation. Chuck and Steve have been inspired by the bands and the songs of the British Invasion era, the psychedelic  60s, and the folkie 70s. Their love of this music is reflected in The Random Strangers setlist which includes songs by The Beatles, Neil Young, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Status Quo, The Troggs, Lemon Pipers, Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Lovin' Spoonful and many more! Free and open to the public.


March 13 – Goodnight Gracie

Goodnight Gracie hails from the Peoria area and its members share a broad mix of musical backgrounds, experience and styles that will please the eclectic music lover. The group engages the audience with a combination of indie, alternative rock, pop, blues, jazz and country and their own original songs played in an acoustic fashion. The band consists of Janet Bantz Glavin on lead vocals; Reid Noe on guitar; bass and vocals; Ben Holeton on drums and percussion and Tony Glass on bass, guitar and vocals.  Find out more at

April 24 – The Sweet Potatoes

The Sweet Potatoes come out of Southern California to dish up their own unique blend of country, folk and homespun Americana. Featuring acoustic guitars, ukulele, accordion and harmonica, this trio will bring a smile to your face with their sweet harmonies and finely crafted songwriting. Their music has a back porch charm all it's own. They have two CDs out and do concerts around the country, sometimes with some help from special friends. Find out more at


May 15 – P-Town Bluegrass Allstars

This  collective of musicians from Peoria all come from different musical backgrounds but join forces to play the music of Jerry Garcia's Old and In the Way, the bluegrass supergroup of the 1970s. The group consists of  Dee Mil, Mike Miller and Wes Duffy on Guitar and Vocals and Aaron Miller on Bass and Vocals, Zac Zetterburg on banjo and Collin Krause on fiddle. For more on this group visit:


June 26 – Eric Lambert

 Eric Lambert impresses audiences with his original elixir of feel-good Americana infused with bluegrass, blues, rock, & soul. His authentic sound is an eclectic blend that knows no boundaries. A 2015 Chicago Music Awards winner, Eric is well-regarded for his enthusiasm, visible joy, earthy voice, and precision licks. Renowned as a flatpicking guitarist, Lambert fronted the Henhouse Prowlers band for several years. Currently, Lambert performs solo as well as teamed up with other stellar musicians—he’s a standout crowd-pleaser. Eric is also a sought-after teacher who gives lessons at Down Home Guitars in Frankfort, IL as well as on DVD via


July 24 - Hungrytown

After more than a decade of world-wide touring and three album releases, Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson--otherwise known as the folk duo Hungrytown--have earned a reputation for the quality and authenticity of their songwriting.  Lyricist Rebecca Hall is credited with compositions “that sound as timeless as any traditional songs” while producer/multi-instrumentalist/husband Ken Anderson is lauded for his “remarkable affinity for instrumental embellishment” and for crafting Hungrytown’s “gorgeous vocal harmonies. The couple continue to spend more than half of each year on the road, especially roads in North America, Europe and New Zealand.  Hungrytown's music has received extensive radio airplay worldwide and has appeared on several television shows, including the Independent Film Channel's hit series, Portlandia. See more at:


August 14 – Sally Weisenburg Band

The Sally Weisenburg Band is known more than anything for their blues and R&B interpretations, but they wear a lot of hats and can also play anything from standards and Motown to instrumental surf music. With the recent addition of the steel guitar, they are also very comfortable playing a lot of old country and Texas swing. A portion of CD sales will benefit the Friends of Peoria Public Library.


September 18 – Ben Bedford

Ben Bedford delivers intriguing sketches of America, its individuals, their victories and their struggles. Poignant, but never sentimental, Bedford’s portrait-like songs capture the vitality of his characters and draw the listener deep into the narratives. With three albums to his credit, this Illinois artists songs tackle scenarios including homelessness, the plight of a Confederate soldier’s wife during the American Civil War, the aerial triumphs of Amelia Earhart, the life of Jack London, the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, John the Baptist, the poet Vachel Lindsay and even the 1973 standoff between members of The American Indian Movement and federal agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Often drawing upon history, Bedford’s songs have a strong sense of time and place. The songs are rich in sensory detail which allows the listener to hear, see and feel each narrative.


October 2 – Sarah McQuaid

Sarah McQuaid’s voice has been likened to malt whiskey, melted chocolate and “honey poured into wine” (Minor 7th). A captivating performer, she seduces her audience with cheeky banter and stories from the road, as well as with stunning musicianship; in her hands, the guitar becomes much more than merely an accompanying instrument.  Born in Spain, raised in Chicago and now living in rural England, Sarah refuses to be pigeonholed, segueing easily from one of her emotive originals into a 1930s Cuban jazz number, a 16th century lute piece or an unexpected contemporary cover.
Sarah McQuaid was taught piano and guitar by her folksinging mother, and remembers being inspired by meeting her distant cousin, well-known singer/songwriter/storyteller Gamble Rogers, at her grandmother’s house in Indiana. From the age of twelve she was embarking on tours of the US and Canada with the Chicago Children’s Choir, and at eighteen she went to France for a year to study philosophy at the University of Strasbourg.  Recently dubbed “guitar queen” by one festival organiser, Sarah is also known for her use of the DADGAD tuning. She regularly presents workshops on the DADGAD tuning at festivals, music schools and venues around the globe.


November 13 – Switchback

Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack of the duo Switchback have been playing their brand of eclectic Celtic and Americana music at sold-out concert halls, performing arts centers and festivals around the world for over twenty years.  Switchback concerts feature a mix of Irish music and original songs from their catalog of over 300 tunes which have been described as “breathtaking scenery for your ears.”
Switchback plays an exciting mix of mandolin, guitar, and bass as it tours throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands playing over 200 engagements a year and has had two PBS television specials. Unusual, honest, heartfelt, humorous, personable, talented, spiritual, and spirited – these all describe the band Switchback.


December – Nathan Taylor Band

Nathan Taylor and Friends perform a range of vintage American roots music. Enjoy classic roots songs, blues of the delta, jazz of early New Orleans, and some great originals that fit right in with the old styles. You'll want to dance to the tasty tunes these guys have put together. Their feel-good music will transport you back to simpler time, and it’s a show that you won't want to miss! Featuring Adam Kimbrell on standup bass, Tom Stoner on trumpet, Larry Harms on Clarinet, Jason Brannon on drums, and Nathan Taylor on vocals/guitar/harmonica.


January 29, 2017 - Andy Hatfield