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Thursday, July 8, 2010 01:39 am

More than a Taste


Taproot plays at the Fieldhouse on Sat., July 10.

Add last week’s big Capital City Celebration with music on the street corners and fireworks in the rain to the upcoming Taste of Downtown with music in the streets and food in tents (with no rain please) and we’re getting to be a regular happening place. It’s just all so exciting I can hardly stand it.

I intended to write my column on the Eric Taylor concert scheduled for July 11, but the crusty and cantankerous, yet extremely talented and gifted, singer-songwriter canceled for health reasons. Perhaps all those years of partying with the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith and many more less famous partakers of the sauce, took its toll on our happy hero. No public news has been released, but I talked with people close to him and Eric will soon be back on the road terrifying decent folk everywhere with his ferocious guitar playing and devastatingly honest song lyrics.

Frank Trompeter stays busy playing music through his several incarnations, including a straight ahead jazz band, a mix-up-the-genres jazz group, a lounge singer act, a freejazz combo, plus a blues band now and then, and whatever else the versatile and prolific musician decides to do. Jazz Etc. Happy Hour, his weekly gig at Marly’s on Friday from 6 to 8, continues rolling along as an entertaining and exciting show as Frank mixes it up with different performers about once a month. This Friday it’s “All About the Trumpeter” with local trumpet players Frank Parker, Brian Pryor and A.J. Good joining the saxophonist named Trompeter and the house band of Chris Miller (keyboards), Chris Warren (bass) and Dion Doss (drums) for some hot licks and cool kicks.

Friday after Frank would be a perfect time to check out a new bar in an old place. Scooter’s now inhabits the round building at the corner of Laurel and Sixth best known for housing George Rank’s bar for many years. On Friday the city’s only circular watering hole hosts the All Star Blues Band from 8 to midnight with a menu of fine bar food, pleasant bartenders and plenty of booze to buy, all available for your enjoyment.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Fieldhouse out on the far east end of Sangamon Avenue has been kicking up the live music dust around here recently. Last week renegade country singer Wayne Hancock slipped into town, there’s live music several nights a week in the very large beer garden (Kit Jones fronts his longtime group, the Mudbugs, on Friday at 7 and the Thursday open mic with Sam Draper and Kortney is a happening in itself) and some heavy-duty concerts are scheduled through the summer including Taproot, Grim, Us Against Them, and Red Letter Merchant, this Saturday, July 10 (tickets are $17 at the Rock Shop and the Fieldhouse). It’s not live music, but the Tacky Music Tuesday night sounds like a hoot and a half to me. Head on out and see what happens.

Not to sound too old or like one of those I-remember-back-then guys, but I do feel it necessary to remind all Taste of Downtown goers that not too long ago this big party was a tiny idea started by a few people dedicated to making it happen. And while we pat ourselves on the back for creating a successful event for the last 10 years or so, let’s pause to remember the Decatur Celebration celebrates 25 years in 2010 and Champaign-Urbana just finished the 40th year of its Taste shindig. Not complaining, just stating the facts, ma’am, and hoping as you attend the American Music Stage performances at the Taste of Downtown this Saturday, spend a moment thinking about thanking those who got it started and those who keep it going.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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