Follow by Email

Google+ Badge

Google+ Followers

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A great time at the best ever Shindig At The Shanty!

By Ted Slowik

Tim Placher is a great musician and friend. We've performed together several times at the 30 Buck in Joliet. He teaches music to middle schoolers in Plainfield, but when I met him many years ago he was an attorney for the City of Joliet.

Tim has remained close with the friends he grew up with. A few years ago he organized and presented a reunion performance of classmates from the Cathedral of St. Raymond School who were in musicals like "Oliver" together. Many members of the 1975 class of St. Ray's turned out last Saturday for a great day of music, food and company in an idyllic setting.

Some years ago Tim and friends Scott Kinsella and Dan Wilson acquired a small "vacation" property overlooking the Kankakee River in Wilmington. The house isn't much but the setting on a bluff offers a beautiful vista. It's a great scene for a party, and for nine years Tim has staged a festival he calls the Shindig At The Shanty. There's a great deal of work involved with an event like this, and Dan and Scott and others do a tremendous job with food, drinks, preparations and cleanup.

The last couple Shindigs have been stormy, and the day of this year's fest started with heavy rain. The Taste of Chicago had to be canceled that day. But by the afternoon Wilmington was sunny and for the most part dry, though a bit on the humid side. Storms didn't return until after 10 p.m.

Tim first invited me to play the Shindig in 2012. I've come to know many of his friends, and they're great people! Very fun, welcoming and appreciative. In 2012 Tim introduced me to Cristina Seaborn, a professional violinist from Minnesota he'd met at a concert in Iowa honoring the 50th anniversary of "The Day the Music Died." She's fantastic, and the three of us performed together and separately that day.

Last year Cristina couldn't make it but Tim upped the stakes by booking The Michael Heaton Band. Michael's a very gifted songwriter, a wonderful performer and a real joy to hear. After my first Shindig I could tell I'd have to up my game too, so last year good friend Rich Westrick joined in on keyboards. Rich was unavailable this year, but drummer Ron Kostka was and played brilliantly.

Since Shanty co-owner Scott and I are neighbors, we see each other quite a bit. One day he expressed interest in playing guitar together sometime, so I took him up on that and invited him to perform a couple songs together at this year's Shindig. We rehearsed a couple times and he ended up setting aside the guitar and singing an old standard covered by Lyle Lovett called "Long Tall Texan" and a fun Toby Keith number called "The Taliban Song." Some of Scott's family were there and really enjoyed his performance! He's gifted with a sweet voice.

Opening the music at this year's Shindig was a great band from the area called Safe Haven. Tim had heard them at Chicago Street Pub and fortunately they were able to come down and play a while. Guitarist Patrick Lyons and drummer Tony Tabor are both great musicians and really nice guys, and they make excellent original music together and with various other musician friends. On Saturday they were joined by bassist extraordinaire Tom Maslowski!

It was a great time spent with well over 100 great people--the biggest turnout yet for a Shindig! It's fun to think about how next year's 10th annual could possibly be better!