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Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006 02:32 pm

This, that, and some other things

Several music acts featured at annual Mother Road festival

Sam Crain must be the most prolific recording artist in central Illinois. The talented guitarist just released Solo Jazz Guitar, which counts as CD No. 17 in his catalog. (Find out more at www.samcrain.com). As the title indicates, this is Crain alone, presenting 14 cuts ranging from jazz standards to distinct originals, all stamped with Crain’s challenging guitar work. Say howdy and congratulations (and pick up your copy of Solo Jazz Guitar) on Thursday, Sept. 21, when he performs as the Artist on the Plaza at noon on the south side of the Old State Capitol.

Former Springfieldian and constant musician Joe Cooke plays 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at the Forty-Niner Bye-Bye (518 Bruns Lane, 217-787-4937) for a certain someone’s retirement party. Cooke and his band also perform Sept. 29 at the Murphysboro Festival, in southern Illinois.

The Route 66 Mother Road festival returns for its annual downtown appearance this weekend. Be on the lookout for folks from all over the world who travel to Springfield just to be a part of this grand celebration. Many music acts are scheduled, but make sure to see Suzy and the Smokers, booked for a 1-4 p.m. performance on Saturday on the sidewalk in front of Recycled Records (625 E. Adams, 217-522-5122).

From 7-10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, friends and family of the late and, yes, great Dr. Catherine Speedie gather at Floyd’s Thirst Parlor (212 S. Fifth St., 217-522-2020) for a benefit honoring her life and celebrating the time she shared with all. The popular St. Louis blues group Uncle Albert performs at this open-to-the-public event. A $10 donation to the Catherine Speedie Memorial Fund is requested at the door, with the proceeds going to the Southern Illinois University Foundation and the Simmons Cooper Cancer Institute.

A final note: Black Magic Johnson wasn’t the only Springfield act at the recent Great Performers of Illinois festival in Millennium Park in Chicago. Cowboy yodeler Randy Erwin plied his trade on Saturday, Sept. 9, and his promotional pictures were prominently featured in the festival fliers. I don’t know whether he threatened any blues legends during his show, but I’m sure he wowed the audience with his unsurpassed talent and represented the capital city both honorably and admirably. Hats off to both Erwin and BMJ for being honored as Springfield’s representatives at the inaugural festival.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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