Tim Crosby has spent the past three years playing anytime and anywhere, averaging about 100 shows the past two years alone. Playing solo, with his trio or with his full band, the Lightning Strikes, Crosby can always be found performing his all-original Americana/country rock music somewhere in Southern Illinois, central Illinois, Kentucky or Missouri.
But it’s shows like the one at The Varsity Center this month that mean the most to the Southern Illinois-based songwriter and performer.
“The Varsity is a real gem, a true listening environment, which is something songwriters are dying to do,” Crosby said, referring to the Carbondale theater and art center. “I play a lot of shows, but at wineries and bars, people aren’t necessarily paying attention to you. Having the opportunity for my songs to be actually heard is a really exciting thing for me.”
Crosby will play the balcony stage at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13. His friend Doug “Ol’ Moose” Anderson, a Carbondale mainstay and songwriter who will be visiting the area from his more recent home in Texas, will open the show. Doors open with full bar available at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door.
Joining Crosby on stage throughout the night will be a few friends and collaborators who regularly make the rounds with him. They include James B. Ricks III on bass and vocals; Daniel Tejada on guitar; Tobias Merriman on fiddle and possibly Anderson doing some picking on lead guitar.
Crosby’s songs explore the trials and triumphs of everyday people. Not to be accused of being too serious, he also dabbles in the irreverent. His song “Tattoo,” for example, tells the story of someone making the mistake of having their lover’s name permanently inscribed on their posterior.
Having played covers for years, Crosby made the decision in 2014 to go all original. He is one of only a handful of artists in the area doing so.
“In writing songs, I feel like I’m carrying on a tradition here,” he said. “I have stories I want to tell and things I want to say.”
Crosby’s set list will include songs from “Resurrection Mule Farm,” the album recorded with the Lightning Strikes and release in April, as well as others from his catalog. Some numbers will see him performing solo, while others will feature various combinations of musicians.