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Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 07:49 am

A November for live music lovers


Texas natives Thrift Store Cowboys perform at Bar None Saturday night.

Now with Halloween and October safely behind us, we look forward to the upcoming holiday season with all the entertainment entities ahead. It’s never too early to brush up on your bridge lyrics for “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or to practice those tricky little rumpa-pum-pums in “Little Drummer Boy.” I know, I know, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the season to be jolly will be heard and gone before you can shake your mistletoe or whistle through the second verse in “Silent Night,” but until then how about some upcoming events in the very near future?

Bar None, located on the corner of Fifth and Monroe, just might have walked away with Best Live Music Venue in our recent Best of Springfield contest if there had been such a category. At least they get my imaginary vote, but Marly’s would definitely be in the running too. These two Fifth Street Strip bars (that didn’t come out quite right, but you know what I mean) are responsible for most of our original acts coming through town these days. This weekend Bar None has a songwriter night on Friday at 7 p.m. with host Pete Sander, Micah Walk, Carissa Moore and yours truly. Pete put together a fun show set up like a Nashville-style guitar pull, where songwriters sit on stools on stage sharing stories and songs with a listening audience. All rock-n-rolling aside, it’s my personal favorite way of playing so I must push it to you faithful readers.

On Saturday Bar None brings the Lubbock, Texas-based Thrift Store Cowboys to the corner stage. The cool country sextet features pedal steel and fiddle along with the standard rock band instruments and comes off as a cross between indie-rock and country with a spacey feel and a strong lyrical vision. They just released a recording a few weeks ago called Light Fighter produced by Craig Schumacher who is also responsible for great records from Iron and Wine, Calexico and Neko Case.

 In order to put it all in perspective and show the choices available to live music lovers you must know that Marly’s hosts the Frank Trompeter Quartet from 6 to 8 on Friday with the Brat Pack doing the 80s thing into the late night. Then on Saturday some Chicagoland band called FnR that claims to “give you everything you want but nothing you’d expect” rocks the house with “all of the multi-platinum rock-n-roll hits.” Now there is some diversity for you and only a block or so apart between the two bars.

Around the corner near Third and Monroe, Remy’s has booked a month’s worth of class acts starting with acclaimed jazz guitarist Shawn Purcell this weekend. Purcell’s bio reads like a dream life of great gigs from being in an Air Force jazz-pop band (who knew) through years playing in Nashville to teaching at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Stay tuned to Remy’s the rest of the month and rest assured whenever you walk into this place quality jazz music is on the stage.

The next weekend (Nov. 12 and 13) we have two events bouncing off each other from the far ends of Dirksen Parkway. On the south side at the Crowne Plaza here cometh the 24th Annual Greater Downstate Indoor Bluegrass Festival featuring two-time Grammy Award winner Rhonda Vincent. Other acts include Nothin’ Fancy, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Darren Beachley & Legends of the Potomac, Donna Ulisse & Poor Mt. Boys, The Link Family and the Bankesters. And, as always, folks come not only to hear music, but also to play it as well in late night jams throughout the hotel all weekend. On the north side at the Fieldhouse on Sangamon, check out the Hip Rock Muzik Fest on Nov. 12 featuring Twista with special guests Violent Ascension, Red Eyed Salamander, Terminal Romance, Cross Tape, Disorder 33 and Foramen Ovalls.

That should be an interesting set of shows dontcha think?

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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