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Thursday, July 24, 2003 02:20 pm

Now Playing

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Hark, is that the sound of the evening's wind blowing across the prairie, or perhaps it's the cacophony of a summer pond? Nay, my friend, it is but the music of the capital city pouring forth in all its beauty and resonance. In other words, here's what's going on this week with all the stars in the bars:

Well, it's not a bar, but the Trout Lily Cafe is the only place in town with live entertainment five days a week. The little cafe that could, just north of Maldaner's on South Sixth, highlights some of the finest acoustic players in town every weekday from noon to 1 p.m. The aptly titled "Acoustic Lunch," features John McDermott on Thursday, strumming his six-string and singing self-penned compositions of love, home, dogs, and other heartfelt subjects. On Friday Dennis Darling entertains with plaintive folk tunes of the original and cover variety. On Mondays and Wednesdays Bill Furry finger picks classical pieces and old-time folk songs on his nylon-stringed guitar; he tosses in a few numbers on mandolin to keep us all amazed at his talent and dexterity. Rounding out the week on Tuesdays--and alternating Thursdays with John McDermott-- Andy Spiro picks licks like a backwoods genius; he can belt out a raucous version of "Deep River Blues" that would make old Doc Watson proud. All this is done without the use of electricity. That works for me.

It's Saturday night, and you've been hanging out all day at the Taste of Downtown Springfield, eating culinary delights and listening to the dizzying array of local talent displayed upon the stage.

Don't stop now: The night is still young and there's plenty of partying to do. Head for Jazz Central Station and the elevator shoe CD release party for On the Roof. The disk was recorded live at JamFest on May 31 by Ric Major, on the upper patio at the Nelson Center in Lincoln Park. It includes two new original songs, plus bonus tracks from the 2002 Decatur Celebration and First Night Springfield. During the elevator "Big" shoe set that featured several guest musicians up "on the roof," local itinerant artist Mike Mayosky painted the portrait used for the CD's cover.

Way out west on Bruns Lane, the Forty-Niner Bye-Bye holds an "Under the Stars" concert with Mugshot outside from 8 to 11; then the show continues inside until 3 a.m. with the big bottom of Lo Phat. On the south side of town, the Curve Inn throws its "Summer Bash" with the Screaming Vatos from 9 to 1.

Here's a something familiar and something new for you fans of early shows. The Dan Rivero Trio with Wayne and Frank starts at 8 p.m. for the next few Tuesdays at Max's California Bar and Grill, across Dirksen from Red Lobster. And Andiamo¡ on Sixth Street welcomes the rockin' blues of the Sofa Kings from 5:30 to 7:30 downstairs in Charley's Club.

What's that I hear? The sound of satisfied citizens enjoying the diversity of Springfield music? Why, ain't that something.

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