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An Evening of Soul & Country


Bill Maakestad of Macomb said that while visiting the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, TN, a few years ago, he was struck by the influence country music had on soul singers.

“Guys growing up in the south, the biggest radio station was the one that carried the Grand Ole Opry,” Maakestad said. 

“If you were a musician, you performed some of those songs - sometimes straight, sometimes with your own spin on it. And ever since (that trip) I’ve thought there’s something to be learned about that.”

It inspired him to come up with the idea for a concert called “When Soul Meets Country,” which will be held Friday, April 30, 5:30 p.m., outside The Wine Sellers in downtown Macomb. It will also be livestreamed on the The Wine Sellers Facebook page.

Space for seating is limited so The Wine Sellers is requiring reservations. Masks and social distancing will be required.

There is no admission fee but donations will be accepted. The money collected will go to the Macomb Arts Center, which was supposed to host the event indoors a year ago before the pandemic forced them to postpone it.

Maakestad said music is a way to bring people together.

“Part of the reason for pursuing this is that as a nation and locally we’ve been facing some very difficult issues with regards to race,” he said.

“This is one small way of bringing the community together. It’s kind of like having a meal, breaking bread together. Sharing music is a way of breaking down barriers and having a good time together and maybe start some conversations.

“Let’s get rid of the stereotypes that rap is Black music and country is white music. It’s really not been like that and we need to get rid of those stereotypes.”

The concert will feature local performers:

  • Willie Jones
  • Sondra Moseley 
  • J.Q. Adams
  • Yoseph Henry
  • Ondreya Seahorn
  • Tiana Thakur
  • Chairman Barnett 

Maakestad said musician Markius Anthony, who graduated from Macomb HIgh School and Western Illinois University, helped conduct research for the event.
“The more you read about this, the more you learn about it, it’s fascinating,” Maakestad said.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.