Local musicians to perform old-time music at Roc’s

Logan Raschke, Editor-in-Chief

People can gather at Roc’s Blackfront Tavern & Grill Sunday afternoon to listen to old-time tunes from local musicians while giving back to the Charleston community.

Gaye Harrison, organizer for Roc’s Old Time Jam and fiddler for the band Motherlode, said local musicians will play traditional old-time songs on acoustic instruments, such as the guitar, fiddle and banjo, and all tips collected will go to the Charleston Food Pantry.

Harrison said donating the tips musicians earned would be a great way to make a positive impact on an issue the Charleston community suffers from.

“I just figured with the severity of hunger, there are kids that go to bed hungry at night, even at our community,” she said. “So it was just a small thing we could do. We should do more, but we were really happy to do that much because we’ve been collecting for the last year and a half, I think.”

Harrison said she also encourages other musicians who play acoustic instruments to join in and play along.

Musicians can start playing at any time during a song. They can improvise the chords if they want, or they can read from the collection of old-time songs that Harrison will bring with, she said.

The types of songs the group will perform include tunes from “Dear Old Illinois,” the public domain and other pieces passed down through the oral tradition, Harrison said.

The Old Time Jam performances give the community a chance to unwind and appreciate Illinois’ historical music; the live performance is also free, which is pretty uncommon, she said.

“It’s just a great way to sit back and relax and hear some old-time tunes that maybe you don’t get to hear on radio or on TV,” she said. “It’s historical. It gives you the chance to feel and touch our roots—the history of central Illinois.”

The Old Time Jam will take place on a number of additional Sundays, including July 14, Aug. 4, Sept. 22 and Oct. 13. On Aug. 4, Harrison’s birthday, all members of Motherlode will perform.

All of these performances will take place from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., including the upcoming one on Sunday, at the downstairs dining room at Roc’s.

Harrison said the kitchen at Roc’s is closed on Sundays, but visitors are welcome to bring snacks. Roc’s is located at 410 Sixth St.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].