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Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 10:01 am

October falls into place

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Thornhill performs for DSI’s First Friday, 5-8pm, at the Old Capitol Plaza.

I find early October wonderful for many reasons, including but not exclusive to the crisp and awakening air, jackets and boots, communicating owls, red sassafras leaves as seen without my glasses on, evening fires worth the warmth, finding and ingesting wild fall mushrooms, friends at folk music conferences, insatiable samplings of Oktoberfest beers and after all that, here comes Halloween. I say bring on October in all its glory and release.

On Friday, downtown breathes again after the cars and vendors and attendees of last weekend’s Route 66 Mother Road Festival move on by holding a couple of worthy and welcome shows. Downtown Springfield, Inc., better known (and easier on the tongue and pen) as DSI, wraps up a neat little warm weather event called First Fridays (unless Frosty First Fridays are in the works) with an appearance by the most excellent singer and songwriter, Tina Thornhill. TT sports her full band composed of electric and acoustic entities, harmony singers and an entire drum kit on the Old Capitol Plaza from 5 to 8 along with libations and other necessary additions organized by DSI to make it a party.

Then Remy’s on Monroe hosts a fundraiser for the Springfield Area Arts Council featuring two sets (8:30 and 10) by Craig Russo’s Latin Jazz Project (he also plays Saturday). Russo leads a terrific combo with absolutely some of the best players around through particularly jazzy numbers while under the undulating influence of Latin beats. The Project’s latest recording, Mambo Influenciado, came out this summer reaching #16 on the U.S. JazzCharts, as this nationally recognized group from Springfield continues to expand horizons with every performance and record.

Come Saturday, our area resident genius in all matters of indie-punk-pop bands, Jason Perry, highly recommends a show at the one-and-only all-ages venue, Black Sheep Café. Perry, currently of the local band the Seething Coast raved in a recent post that the headlining band Blunt Mechanic, “IS Ben Barnett (formerly of indie-rock sensations The Thermals and Kind of Like Spitting).” Pardon my ignorance but I’ve never heard of these bands or Ben, as likely many are unacquainted with my favorites in the “hillbilly” (as another Perry might term it) genre. But if Jason touts the group as worthy of a mention, then so it shall be. He also adds that Blunt Mechanic belongs to the Barsuk Record label, home to one group I do know, Death Cab for Cutie. Barnett, reports Perry, also serves as musical director for Seattle’s School of Rock. Sounds like a bang-up show and includes a couple other groovy groups as well. The concert, in fine all-ages fashion, begins at 7 p.m. with no alcohol allowed, only good music and fun times.

Courtesy of the Sangamon Auditorium, the Illinois Central Blues Club received two tickets to blues legend Buddy Guy (Oct. 10) for use as a fundraising raffle, selling chances at $2 for one, $10 for 6 or $20 for 15. Check the ICBC Web site for details or, better yet, attend Blue Monday in person on Oct. 4 to buy and donate while participating in a CD release party for The Big Jeff Chapman Blues Band from Greenville.

Dan Hubbard, last seen on a SOHO Fest stage, returns to Springfield with a show at Bar None on Friday and a new CD in tow. Hubbard likes the Americana sound and veers to rocking out with high class, good songs and a very fine band.

Next Sunday, Oct. 10, be on the lookout for the 2010 Girl-a-Thon at the Field House%u2008Concert Lounge. Organized and performed by local female musicians and singers, the all-day performance event raises the bar for entertainment and funds for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Now off to blindly stare as the sassafras leaves turn red right before my eyes.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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