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Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004 08:28 pm

now playing 11-4-04

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Jeff and Vida Band

Making plans for a night on the town this weekend?

How about checking out a new hip-hop group "borrowing" music from someone else's record and complaining about paying for artistic property? Then we can sit and wonder if it's the death of the genre. Don't worry, that parasite of pop was never really alive.

No, let's see, I'd rather go see a classic rock band performing its own special version of Sweet Home Alabama just like the original, except for a few minor changes here, there, and everywhere.

Hmmm, how about a nice little group that pre-programs music into the sound system so they can do Top 40 songs just like on the radio?

Well there's always a DJ-turned-singer, using his radio power to secure gigs and increase the size of the audience regardless of the music being made.

Or maybe you'd prefer some generic jazz that sounds like a watered-down drink tastes?

I know, let's go see a tired and tepid singer-songwriter, whining to the world about all his woes.

Or we could go see a group that has been traveling across the U.S. for the past three years, has just returned from a month in Ireland, and is featured on the soundtrack for the film Bell Witch. I know they play that hokey Americana-bluegrass-acoustic music that's been done for 100 years and maybe, in some minds, 100 times better. But you know what? They're out there doing it, day by day, playing music for a living (definitely not a killing). "They" would be Jeff and Vida who play music as though their lives depended on it and judging by the way they live, it does.

Jeff Burke and Vida Wakeman started out in the bars of New Orleans in 1998 and produced their first CD, One Horse Town (Independent /Binky), in 2000. Well-equipped with sweet, sharp harmonies, old-timey songs, acoustic stringed instruments, and the sure-handed Mike Kerwin on standup bass, the Jeff and Vida Band hit the road to expand that ever-so-necessary fan base.

In 2002 they released The Simplest Plans (Binky) and have climbed into the world of festival shows and classy joints. Right in the middle of those adventures they stop by Springfield because it's on the way and they like us.

And we like them, too.

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