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Thursday, July 5, 2012 07:59 pm

Hot happenings


Amy LaVere comes up from Memphis, Tenn., to play the American Music Show at Taste of Springfield on Fri, July 6, 7:30pm.

As the undeniable Don Van Vliet performing as Captain Beefheart once said in his song Ice Cream for Crow, “It’s so hot it looks like you got three beaks crow,” and these days I think I know what the inscrutable Captain meant. But despite the nearly unbearable heat, time continues and things go on, including music happenings in Springfield.

There are lots of good shows at the bars early Friday with Brian Pryor at Robbie’s, Frank Trompeter at Marly’s, Pork Pie and the North End All Stars at Walnut Street Winery, Dave Littrell at Andiamo! and the Screamin’ Vatos at Curve Inn. Later in the evening catch Becca Young and the Jazz Sound at Norb Andy’s, Murder of Crowes at Butternut Hut, and the Stone and Biscuit Band at Guitars and Cadillac, and this is just on Friday. The action continues on Saturday starting at 6 outside with Backliners featuring Stacey Hollerauer at Boone’s Saloon, Imagine That at Curve Inn, Leaving Ashland at Blue Grouch, then later on inside with Black Cadillac at Marly’s, Angel Brown at Lime Street Café and Harmony Deep at Trading Post. And to top it off, on Sunday afternoon Pete Sander does Brookhills, Debbie Ross plays the Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford and the New Goat Ensemble get together one more time at Bahan’s in Jacksonville.

Now that would be surely enough to sate the appetite of any and all music lovers, but friends, there’s more. This weekend hosts the grandest of all our downtown music festivals as the American Music Show pairs with the Taste of Downtown to provide an eventful event of enormous proportions. This makes year number 12 for the Taste (I remember the first ones, thank you Recycled Records) and every year the happening grows. Last year it expanded into two days with a Friday night addition to the Saturday show. That means more music and more food and more people who come to town and stay the weekend.

And no one deserves more credit for bringing the diverse, yet always Americana, roots-based music to the occasion than Sean Burns. Without his dedication and perseverance, commitment and belief, this event would not be what it is. Sean is a good friend and I know how hard he works to balance the well-known bands with off-the-radar groups to make a focused and interesting lineup of truly respected artists in the music world. Sometimes for those who aren’t as in touch with the vibrant roots music scene beyond Springfield or have yet to listen to music other than what they grew up with, it may seem strange to have all these “bands no one has ever heard of,” as one wag warbled once.

But believe me, lots of folks have heard of these bands and outside of our fair city, headliner Chuck Prophet is a respected and sought-after performer, as well as the many other worthy entertainers on the bill. With the addition of the second night of music, Sean had more space to fill and added a couple of local original acts to begin the show each day, sharing the stage with deserving hometowners who sometimes can make contacts with the traveling bands, helping get our guys to another level of the business.

So, along with the tasty food and fine music, it’s always good to remember all the work that goes on behind the scenes by those like Victoria and Ann (and the others at DSI), Sean and Jamie Burns, plus the generous sponsors that allow this to happen for a $2 cover. So go have fun and enjoy all Springfield has to offer – besides that blasted 100-degree heat.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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