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Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004 11:14 am

now playing 9-9-04

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Wil Maring and Shady Mix

Sometimes something sounds too good to be true, yet -- miracle of miracles -- it exists. Take, for example, two bluegrass enthusiasts who build a beautiful log-cabin home in the country. They decide to book some traveling musicians and invite friends over to hear the band. After a successful outing, they continue bringing more incredible talent to the area while, incredibly, not losing their money or their minds.

That's the true story of Ann Bova and Joe Bohlen and their successful bid to create a home-entertainment center. Wil Maring and Shady Mix kick off the couple's 2004 fall schedule with an indoor show on Friday night and then a Sunday performance outside in the afternoon. Maring, the singer/songwriter of the group, and her partner, fiddler and mandolinist Mark Stoffel, are busy carving a nice niche in the bluegrass/acoustic scene, with success most recently proved by a trip to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

For the Sunday Cabin Concerts show in rural Pleasant Plains, five-time Illinois state banjo champion Doug Knechtbecomes an honorary Shady Mixer. Knecht has lent his five-string plucking to all of the studio albums recorded by Maring and the band. Visit Bova and Bohlen's Web site, www.thecabinconcerts.com, to make reservations or find out more about the incredible lineup of acoustic musicians on their way to Pleasant Plains this fall.

Anybody out there remember a band called the Urge from St. Louis? The group was quite popular with the pop/dance/rock crowd a few years back. After a run on a major label with some respectable results, the band disbanded. Steve Ewing, the voice and passion of the Urge, is now out on his own, back to Midwest touring in support of his new, independently released CD. Go say hi this Saturday at Viele's Planet. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

Craig Russo, student and performer of all things rhythmic especially as pertaining to Afro/Cuban and Latino styles, has recorded another superb CD of jazz tunes with a Latin feel. Russo's group the Latin Jazz Project expanded to eight players for the recording but deflates to five for the Friday-night party at Jazz Central Station celebrating the release of Soul Eyes.

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