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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 04:01 am

Paint the town green

Guess who’ll be busy this St. Patty’s Day?

Untitled Document The Emerald Underground, Springfield’s only Celtic-fusion group (the band combines rock elements with traditional Irish tunes and instruments), is — no blarney here — the hardest-working band in town this weekend. Catch them at Robbie’s (4 Old State Capitol Plaza, 217-528-1901) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, then later that night at the Lime Street Café (951 S. Durkin Dr., 217-793-1905). At 3 p.m. Saturday the Emerald Underground performs at Marly’s Pub (9 W. Old State Capitol Plaza, 217-522-2280) (the Bogside Zukes play directly after the parade, at noon), then returns for an encore performance at Lime Street starting around 8:45 p.m. If you pull your mug out of that Black & Tan for an Irish minute and push yourself away from the corned beef and potatoes, you might notice a new face in the Emerald Underground lineup. Original flute & whistle player Laura Conant, who moved to Omaha, Neb., has been replaced by Theresa O’Hare after a local search and audition. It’s O’Hare’s first Celtic band, but she’s a well-trained musician and esteemed music educator — and with that surname she should fit in just fine. Exorna, Springfield’s traditional Celtic/Irish group, entertains before the parade with an acoustic set at the Trout Lily Café (218 S. Sixth St., 217-391-0101), 11 a.m.-noon on Saturday morning. This trio, a lively band in the pub tradition, really lay out the old-time sounds and sneaks in some surprising reworks of contemporary numbers as well. As might be expected, this band, too, has a hectic weekend schedule, traveling to Danville after Springfield and finishing in Champaign on Saturday night. Last but by no means least on the Springfield Celtic radar are the members of the St. Andrew’s Society of Central Illinois — those people wearing kilts, playing drums and bagpipes, acting like this is a Scottish holiday instead of Irish. Ah, bless their hearts, there’s room for all and what would St. Patrick’s Day be without a stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace,” a song with lyrics written by an English slave trader to a melody traced to Celtic origins? Beyond the shadow of the shamrock lies another world as musicians, fans, and friends come together to honor George “Fast Eddy” Eden, on the occasion of his 50th birthday, at Spillway Lanes (1025 Outer Park Dr., 217-546-5221), 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. Eden, a lifelong musician, has played in several local bands, including The Next and the Last Chance Blues Band; he now performs with the Low Down Blues Band. The event features special appearances by Bill Evans, Kevin Hawkins, and other musicians who’ve shared the stage with Eden during his long and distinguished career.

Contact Tom Irwin at
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