Smile Politely

The Overture: January 26 – February 1, 2009

Keep reading to find out how you can win a pair of tickets to see Jeff Tweedy this week.

With work, family and personal hygiene, who has the time to find out about the best shows happening in Champaign-Urbana? No need to fear, because the editors here at Smile Politely have taken care of it. Here are the must-see shows of the week:

WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 27

WHAT: Open Mic Night hosted by Mike Ingram

WHERE: Cowboy Monkey, 10 p.m., no cover

Winter has Champaign-Urbana firmly in its icy grip. And with ice and snow covering our roads and minds, certain music doesn’t seem appropriate. It just doesn’t seem right to listen to Salsa or any of the other warm-blooded genres. It feels like this is a week that should be filled with soft and slow acoustic songs. Luckily, there are a lot of great artists showcasing their folk stylings around town. Start your week of live acoustic shows at Cowboy Monkey to see Mike Ingram and other local talents strum some homegrown tunes.

WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 28

WHAT: Joe Pug, Stan McConnell, Carl Hauck, etc.

WHERE: Canopy Club, 8 p.m., $5 before 9 p.m. / $7 after

Chicago’s Joe Pug is a young songwriter whose voice and lyrics make him sound not only years older, but from another era. As Pug jumps from chord to chord on his acoustic guitar, the listener can’t help but think of Bob Dylan. Pug should be seen as more than a Dylan knock off, however. Though his lyrics are quite Dylanesque, Pug’s deep-throated voice aligns him closer to contemporary singers than the upper-register mumblings of the famed songwriter.

This acoustic show will also feature Stan McConnell (from Santa), Carl Hauck, Tracey and Tricia (from Tall Tale) and Jonathon Childers.

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 31

WHAT: Shadowboxer Collective featuring Ryan Groff, Casey Reeves and Clifton Roy

WHERE: Cowboy Monkey, 7 p.m., $5

Hey, are you in the mood for another laid back acoustic show? If you answered yes, then check out the first Shadowboxer Collective show. Check last week’s article on Shadowboxer here. Ryan Groff of Elsinore will be headlining the bill of regional singer-songwriters. Casey Reeves brings his folk rock from Columbia, Mo., and Naperville’s Clifton Roy also performs.

WHEN: Saturday Jan. 31

WHAT: Jeff Tweedy

WHERE: Foellinger Auditorium, 7:30 p.m., Sold Out

If you love watching shaggy-haired Mid-Westerners taking turns sitting on a folding chair and strumming a guitar, then this is your week. If you are one of those unique individuals, hopefully you got your tickets to this Starcourse event in advance, because the show is sold out (but keep reading!). At Tweedy’s solo shows, the guitarist strips down his songs from Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Loose Fur to their bare essentials. The result is fantastic.

Smile Politely is giving away a pair of tickets to see Tweedy this Saturday. To enter to win, simply e-mail contests at smilepolitely dot com, type Jeff Tweedy in the subject line, and include your full name and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail. Then just sit back and wait. Friday night we’ll be e-mailing the winner of the drawing to let them know their good fortune.

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