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Thursday, March 31, 2005 05:12 am

music notes 3-31-05

Not every band out of Nashville is country, and making the point is Thornton, a two-man group that performs sexually ambiguous rock material that falls somewhere between cabaret and gospel. The group is described as “experimental,” but the music is too melodic and listenable for that misleading term. Micah Walk, a local singer/songwriter with a sweetly deceptive voice, a deftly underplayed guitar, and a bunch of good songs, opens the show at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at 11 West (11 W. Old State Capitol Plaza, 217-527-9911).
So you were wondering: What exactly is a Moonlight Rhythm Ranger? Well, the only way to know for sure is to go see one or several, as the case may be. Your opportunity for listening to and gazing at these rare and talented fellas is Friday night at the Underground City Tavern (700 E. Adams St., 217-789-1530). Opening the show at 10 p.m. as an honorary MMR is local legend and incredible keeper of all songs great and good Antone DeRocchi.
The Scruggs name has been a part of country/roots/bluegrass music every since the great Earl stood the world on its collective ear with his innovative banjo playing as a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. His grandson Chris is now out making music with the same pugnacious attitude and abundant talent that drove the old man. Scruggs has played with Rosie Flores, has been a member of BR549, and is now carving his own niche in the rockabilly/roots-rock world. See him Saturday night at the Underground City Tavern. Opening the show is the dynamic duo of Rodney Patterson and Michael Sullivan, leftover Rhythm Rangers from the night before.
Play it again, Sam. That’s what they’ve been saying for years around here, and that’s what Sam Crain, innovative jazz guitarist, continues to do. A prolific songwriter and CD producer, Crain will release his 12th disc, Bird’s Eye View, this Friday at Robbie’s when the Sam Crain Quartet plays the Uptown Friday Night series from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The recording features the outstanding jazz musicianship of Kevin and Cassie Hart, Perry Rask, Brian Justison, Andy Burtschi, and Darin Holthaus, along with the brilliant songs and playing of the indomitable Crain.
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