Our cup runneth over
Stace England tells Cairos story at UCT on Saturday
August always seems to be one of the busiest times of the year, and this year is no exception; the coming weeks are filled with glorious opportunities to enjoy some fine live music.
On Saturday, Aug. 19, the Underground City Tavern hosts a unique show aimed at the music lover and the history buff in you. In 2005, after five years of research and recording, Stace England created a wonderful CD, Greetings from Cairo, Illinois, telling the history of Cairo from the 1850s to the present. The southern-Illinois native penned a series of genre-crossing songs capturing Cairo’s lively and infamous past, touching on lynch mobs, crooked democracy, Jesse Jackson’s 1968 visit, and a plea to get along. Several guest musicians, including members of the Woodbox Gang and alt-country legend Jason Ringenberg, add spice to an already hot group of musicians. England uses the Cairo project’s band to showcase the tunes live and adds a PowerPoint program to complement the pictorial side of Cairo’s history. I asked to be on the bill, just to make sure I could be there.
On Thursday, Aug. 24, UCT opens the doors for Jon Dee Graham, a terrific singer/songwriter and rocker from Austin, Texas. Back when Graham started in alt-country with the Skunks and the True Believers, the genre didn’t even have a name. Now he’s well respected as a performing songwriter while working with the likes of John Hiatt and Kelly Willis.
On Saturday, Aug. 26, plan for one of Springfield’s best downtown events, the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ music and food festival. The all-day happening that just gets better ever year, both musically and gastronomically.
On Sunday, Aug. 27, switch gears from blue to green as world-class Celtic-rock band Wolfstone drops by the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Formed in the Scotland Highlands around 1991, the dynamic group combines traditional folk instruments with electric rock sounds to create a hybrid the band calls New Highland music and others have termed Scottish folk-rock. Springfield’s Emerald Underground opens the show.
Nick Moss, one of our favorite traveling bluesmen, rolls into the Alamo on Aug. 28 for the Blue Monday jam. Moss keeps on the move, both in his music and in his travels, and it’s a delight trying to keep up with him.
I’m worn out already. Here’s one more tidbit for Sept. 6-9. The inaugural Great Performers of Illinois festival, in Chicago’s Millennium Park, welcomes Springfield’s Randy Erwin and Black Magic Johnson among the 200 performers from across the Land of Lincoln. Yeah!
Contact Tom Irwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.