While Chicago might be better known for its blues music rather than banjo pickin’ harmonies, the Bluegrass scene is alive and well thanks to one north suburban Evanston man.
Now in its 12th year, the Bluegrass Legends Concert Series once again returns to Evanston with a full season line up.
The series, founded by Evanston resident Chip Covington, features one show each month from September to May at the American Legion Music Hall, 1030 Central St.
Growing up in Evanston, Covington received his first banjo at just 11-years-old. At that time, in 1968, there wasn’t a big bluegrass scene to be found. It wasn’t until Woodstock in 1969 that Covington was actually exposed to bluegrass.
“Bluegrass is a participatory music… it’s about passing on the skill,” Covington said. “What impressed me about it as a kid growing up… I went out to these big festivals and these people accepted me even though I was a spoiled little rich kid.”
Nearly every show in the concert series has a capacity 150 person crowd with the bulk of attendees coming from the north side and north suburbs, though several make the trek from Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri. Covington has made an effort to get to know all those that venture out for the concert series. Attendees have also gotten to know each other.
“Now everybody knows everybody at shows,” Covington said. “There’s a sense of community there. It’s pretty impressive.”
The small venue lends itself well to encouraging a connection between the performers and the audience, a connection that is a must to make a good show a great show.
Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice will headline the upcoming Sept. 10 show, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Direct from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the men will perform fresh, original and traditional bluegrass music.
Tickets can be reserved online at the series website, chicagobluegrass.com.
The reservation allows concert-goers to pick up their tickets until 7:45 p.m. the night of the show. Tickets must be paid for, in cash, at the door. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children under 12 and seniors 65 and older. For information on future, shows visit the series website.