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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2003 02:20 pm

Pickin’ and grinnin’ at the fairgrounds

Tony Furtado

Broken Grass and Tony Furtado and the American Gypsies will hoot and holler their way into the Capital City this Saturday, with a "Harvest Hoedown" that promises a roaring night of real music for anyone who loves live picking.

Broken Grass came together in Carbondale, Ill., as a bluegrass band with a heavily subversive musical leaning. Guitarist Adam Kaczmarek and mandolineer Sam Boss, who grew up picking grass together in Crystal Lake, Ill., were later joined by four other band-mates with backgrounds in funk, rock, and jazz (including Springfield native, bassist Devon Kulkarni). It was a mix that guaranteed a fusion of styles and influences, a blending they pull off seamlessly. Soon after forming, the band began to get down to some serious touring, leading it off impressively by landing a week on the road with Leftover Salmon. They recently followed up their self-titled debut with a new CD release, Looking Down.

They will be sharing the stage at the Illinois Theater with Tony Furtado and the American Gypsies, who have begun to gain recognition among today's hallmark artists within the equally rising alt-country anti-genre. Furtado's banjo style has been termed both adventurous and accessible. After being pegged as a banjo prodigy at the age of 11, Furtado soon began to find traditional bluegrass a bit constricting. Since then, his ever-widening musical exploration has taken him toward blues, jazz, roots and Celtic music. A few years back he picked up the slide guitar, and, some say, found his true calling as a musician. Critical acclaim for his latest project, American Gypsy, focused on the sensitivity and insistence of his slide work, as well as his "uniquely lyrical" banjo playing. He has toured with Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, and Galactic, among others.

The Illinois Theater is located in the Illinois Building at the fairgrounds (just look for the giant, ax-wielding Abe Lincoln inside the main gate). An assortment of delicious food and beverages are promised for the all-ages show, so if you want to sip a cold one while you jig the night away, be sure to bring your ID.


Broken Grass and Tony Furtado and the American Gypsies perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Illinois Theater at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Advance tickets (available at Recycled Records, Penny Lane, Head West Sub Shop and Trails End Saloon in Curran) are $8.

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