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Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:01 am

Tasting, tasting 1, 2, 3

Jonathon Edwards
As we move into our second year of mostly local artists as our Taste of Downtown entertainment, look for more jazz, soul, funk, Latin, blues and less Americana roots-styles. In a very nice grouping of area favorites, the Downtown Springfield, Inc. folks are catering the music to fit the food: so eat, listen, dance and drink – local.

Along with the several standard bands that play regularly at our hometown bars and nightclubs, we’ve got a couple of out-of-town entertainment acts. The Giving Tree Band on Friday almost seems like a local band, given their numerous appearances at Donnie’s Homespun. The Brothers Fink (E and Todd) formed the Chicago-based group in 2004 with lifelong friend Norm Norman, committed to “not reinventing, but simply reuniting rock and roll.” What some may believe to be a daunting if not improbable task, The GTB does playing their blend of Americana music influenced by The Band, Grateful Dead, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, New Riders of the Purple Sage and other bands of that ilk.

On Saturday, Jonathon Edwards, the longtime, folk-pop-bluegrass songster, continues spreading his message of living together in peaceful harmony across the world. Best known for “Sunshine (Go Away Today)” and “Shanty” (friends of the late, great, wise and wonderful Raoul will remember his heartfelt rendition of this ode to getting stoned and doing nothing), Edwards also regularly performs “Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy,” “Sometimes,” “One Day Closer” and “Athens County,” popular songs from his 15-album catalog. He’s been a classic for over 40 years.

Fantastically filling in the spots on Friday include a first-time, official collaboration between Frank Parker and Frank Trompeter, two stalwarts of the jazz scene in Springfield. Long known around town as a funny twist of fate in names, Parker actually plays the trumpet, while Trompeter plays the saxes. Ha-ha. The pair are backed by an all-star jazz lineup of Brian Pryor (trumpet and flugelhorn), Tim Niemeyer (guitar), Chris Miller (piano), Rob Killam (acoustic bass) and Mark McKnight (drums). Jonnie Concaroo Band comes up next featuring local players out to have fun, playing songs they most certainly enjoy, from the rockabilly, jazz, blues, folk and rock, canon of American music. Interestingly enough, there’s no Jonnie in the band. The name comes from an African-American folklore phrase that you should research yourself.

Closing out Friday is the latest version of one of Springfield’s most beloved and longest living bands (20 years and counting), The Screamin’ Vatos. Best known for their spectacular and spot-on versions of Santana covers, the War songs are killer too, and the other tunes you’ve heard before, are done just right by the 10-piece rocking band.

Off we go to Saturday, with the indomitable Don Smith and his band kicking out the jams as the first act of the day. Smith, the horn player extraordinaire from Lincoln has done it all and still does it. Kapital Sound comes on with some of the smoothest jazz, funk and soul you’ll hear anywhere you go. If you’d heard Brooke Thomas and the Blue Suns, then you know why they’re playing the Taste. If you haven’t heard them, where in the world have you been? With Edwards up next, The Station comes in to clean house into the end of the night starting at 10 p.m., breaking in some new tunes with the hottest rock lineup in town.

Oh, say, you can see Kari Wattles on Friday and Scott Wattles on Saturday, singing our national anthem to begin the festivities. Don’t forget the food ei ther.

Please support the Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser at Boondocks on Sunday with several bands playing all day for a good cause. Be there because you care.

Well, that’s more than a “Taste,” and right tasty, I’d say.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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