Every weekend, melody and rhythm and song filter out of live music venues throughout Johnson County.

Bluegrass and country bands jam in the restored historic space of Edinburgh’s Pixy Theatre. Grammy Award-winning jazz musicians create improvised riffs on the saxophone and piano in the loungey Bistro 266.

Musicians re-create the sounds of the ‘80s, modern pop hits and the top R&B during That Place’s rotating slate of party bands.

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From quaint coffee shops to raucous taverns to laid-back wineries, the county is bursting with opportunities for a good concert, if you know where to look. Huddling together with fellow music lovers in packed clubs or grooving is an effective way to beat back the chill of late winter.

“The focus is on local. We just love that we have that ability to feature local artists and highlight them,” said Sarah Shadday, marketing director of Mallow Run Winery. “It’s another way to bring the community together. You have the local wine, the agriculture, and the cherry on top are local musicians.”

For those looking to catch a show in the next few months, the Daily Journal has put together a guide of the best places to find live music in the months leading up to summer concert season. Whether it’s cozy and quiet or loud and rockin’, music lovers have myriad choices to cover any taste or mood.

Bistro 226

Where: 226 S. State Road 135, Bargersville

Information: facebook.com/TheBistro226

What to find here: Jazz

Why check it out? While diners enjoy an upscale twist to Southern cuisine, performers at Bistro 226 put their own spin on the quintessential American form of music. Musicians such as the Sax Guy — Indianapolis saxophone player Mark Armstrong — play classics such as “My Cherie Amour” and “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got.” The eatery has welcomed everyone from noted Indianapolis bluesman Gene Deer to indie Indiana soulsters VON Strantz.

Blind Pig

Where: 147 S. Madison Ave., Greenwood

Information: 882-7892

What to find here: Classic and modern rock

Why check it out? For music lovers who like their guitars loud, their bass slinky and their drums crashing, the Blind Pig puts together a rock-driven lineup every Friday and Saturday night in Old Town Greenwood. The venue focuses on local artists, from the country-rock of New Whiteland’s Bowed Up to the southside’s Joe Clady to modern favorites by Ht3.

Mallow Run Winery

Where: 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville

Information: mallowrun.com

What to find here: A little bit of everything

Why check it out? Mallow Run has built a reputation of bringing the region’s best acts to Johnson County during the summer. But for its Winter Warmer Weekends, the winery has offered a chance to grab a glass of wine, a cup of hearty soup and enjoy hours of live music. A different musical style is featured each week — from zydeco to smooth jazz to Celtic rock.

Pixy Theatre

Where: 111 S. Walnut St., Edinburgh

Information: theedinburghpixy.com

What to find here: Bluegrass, folk and country

Why check it out? The historic Pixy Theatre has been a community draw in downtown Edinburgh for more than 100 years. But only in the past decade, as owners have renovated the old building, has it been reborn as a place where talented musicians from all over the country gather to perform. The Pixy has hosted musicians such as down-home country artist Lloyd Wood, Christian artist Lexi Elisha and twangy bluegrass of Kim Robbins and 40 Years Late.

Red’s Place

Where: 75 N. Baldwin St., Bargersville

Information: 366-6036

What to find here: Country and rock

Why check it out? The people at Red’s Place pride themselves on being an authentic small-town tavern. So every weekend, the bar puts together a lineup of some of the top country acts in Indiana. Patrons boogie on the wooden dance floor while the Eddie Van Zant Band, the MLE Band and Southern Crossfire Band fiddle stomp and shake until midnight.

Benjamin’s Coffeehouse

Where: 49 E. Court St., Franklin

Information: benjaminscoffeehouse.com

What to find here: Acoustic

Why check it out? The tranquil strum of an acoustic guitar The downtown Franklin hotspot stays open late for their Friday Night Java Jams series. Concerts are free and not only provide a soothing way to spend a Friday night but also help area high school students and emerging musicians build a following.

That Place

Where: 8810 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis

Information: thatplacebarandgrill.com

What to find here: Party bands

Why check it out? Throughout central Indiana, the biggest cover bands in the area play a circuit of established bars and clubs. When bands such as Toy Factory, the Big 80s and the Flying Toasters come to the southside, more often than not they’re playing at That Place. Its raised stage, professional lighting and crisp sound make it a natural to host raging shows on the weekends, and Americana rocker Marvin Parish gets the party started early with a standing gig on Thursdays.

McGilvery’s Taphouse

Where: 8249 U.S. 31 South, Indianapolis

Information: facebook.com/mcgilverystaphouse

What to find here: Something a little off-the-wall

Why check it out? For those looking to eschew the typical guitar-bass-drums format of standard rock, McGilvery’s Taphouse tries to add some flair to the local music scene. Bands perform reggae, jazz fusion, blues and trucker folk. And for stars-to-be, an open mic night gives new artists a weekly chance to try out their evolving material.


Where: 8602 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis

Information: indianapolisgak.com

What to find here: Singer-songwriters

Why check it out? At the German-American Klub of Indianapolis’ public restaurant, diners can sample knackwurst, sauerbraten and jaegerschnitzel. But the Edelweiss restaurant also offers a weekly chance for some laid-back tunes by acts such as do-it-all guitarist Scott Strange and contemporary acoustic duo Ken and Debbie Wilson.

Mucky Duck

Where: 4425 Southport Crossings Way, Indianapolis

Information: muckyduckindy.com

What to find here: Music during the work week

Why check it out? With a huge side room just for bands and a flexible schedule, the Mucky Duck provides a fix for people looking to catch a show even if it’s not the weekend. Thursdays are a big night at the bar, with performers such as Blues Mission Band and guitarist Jai Baker performing with no cover charge.

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.