Bourbonnais resident Tim Boshaw has been around music his entire life.
The self-made musician grew up in Hermitage, Tenn., just a few miles east of Nashville, the epicenter of the country music world.
“I’d ride my bicycle every day 8 to 10 miles to Nashville,” Boshaw said. “We’d pitch our cassette demos of our own songs.”
Through sheer perseverance, Boshaw has enjoyed some success with his music, and his band Clinton River has produced three albums. He’s also co-wrote and produced songs for local country band Triple Ot Buck’s “Raised in a Barn” album.
Since Boshaw has a studio in his home in the Virginia Grove neighborhood, it didn’t take people on his street very long to find out he was a musician. Back in March a neighbor across the street asked him to play for family members who had gathered for the death of a loved one but couldn’t attend the memorial service because of the pandemic.
Boshaw obliged, put out small amp in his garage and played a few songs for the grieving family on a cold Sunday afternoon.
“That day other neighbors heard me and asked if I would play for all of them, but on a Saturday night when more people were available,” he said.
The rest is history, and Boshaw has played 16 concerts for the neighborhood.
“I really didn’t know any of my neighbors before I started playing,” he said. “... Growing up in Tennessee, it was customary to have what we call front-porch picking. You and your friends would gather on the front porch and play. I thought I’d teach my Illinois family about front-porch picking.”
At first the impromptu gatherings were called The Quarantine Concert.
“But nobody liked being reminded we were under quarantine, so the name was changed to The 3 Beer Concert,” Boshaw said. “When a lady asked me how long the show lasted, I replied, ‘It lasts three beers.’”
The 3 Beer Concert was held every weekend from the end of March until July 4. They took a couple weeks off due to the heat of July, but have been going every other weekend since.
The concerts are free, and Boshaw only asked that everyone practice social distancing and suggests wearing a mask.
“It’s 100% no charge and no donations,” he said. “We don’t want to get into accounting of anything. It’s just for the neighborhood.”
The show is also streamed online on Facebook by his friend Tim Butterfield for fans of Clinton River and for friends and family of the neighborhood.
“We have some pretty good turnouts,” Boshaw said. “... I can’t believe how well received it’s been — the pure joy of it.”
Boshaw, 59, keeps a day job as a project manager for Alexander Equipment in Bourbonnais. That’s how he relocated from the Nashville area to Illinois.
“I came here for a six-month project for Alexander 18 years ago,” he chuckled.
Boshaw is only planning one maybe two more concerts and then call it a season.
“This concert series is not about me,” he said. “It is about the community, neighbors and local businesses that are all trying to cope with this pandemic. Hopefully, it is helping folks feel halfway normal through these months of the most challenging period in most of our lives. The community response to this concert has been amazing.”