now playing 4-14-05
Those of you gazing and gawking this Saturday at the downtown Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum festivities will sooner or later need nourishment and refurbishment, both mental and physical.
If sooner is better — say, 12:30-2 p.m. — drop by the Trout Lily Café, just two blocks south of the Lincoln Presidential Palace on Sixth Street. As you sample the many fine culinary wonders and award-winning coffee, relax to the old-timey music of Banjulele. Locals may recognize musicians from the Allen Street String Band, a popular dance and folk group that once played frequently in Mr. Lincoln’s hometown. You will discover that the band is actually playing songs that were popular during the Railsplitter’s day. The Threshers, featuring some of the finest acoustic players in the central part of the Land of Lincoln, start the TLC second show around 7 p.m.
Now ease yourself away from those comfortable surroundings, cut through the alley north of the TLC, and head east. You’ll soon see a tall building that looks as if it got lost on a Sunday drive from Chicago to St. Louis and decided to just stay put. Contained in this circular architectural behemoth, the Hilton Springfield, is the Underground City Tavern. Within the UCT this Saturday evening you’ll find an art display featuring works of local artists. A Springfield songwriter showcase, featuring John Brillhart, Ben Bedford, Josh Reilly, and others, heads up a 7-9 p.m. early show dedicated to the spirit of the Great Emancipator (but without covering any songs popular during his era).
Around 10 p.m., Last Train Home, an excellent alt-country band originally from Washington, D.C. (voted the 2003 Artist of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association, and now based in Nashville, Tenn., takes the stage. The group is in town supporting a new CD, Bound Away, which happens to list a public-domain song called “Rye Whiskey” that was around during days of Honest Abe. (There’s always a connection, if you only look hard enough.)
After you’re done with all that, at 2-something in the morning, I think you’d better go home and go to bed. It takes a lot of strength to look for Lincoln in all the wrong places.