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Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009 10:17 am

September selections

Springfield singer-songwriter Rachel Rambach performs Friday at Walnut Street Winery.

Hello friends out there somewhere. Thank you for being a reader and taking the time to digest these few words for whatever purpose you choose. And with that let me also congratulate myself for starting into my ninth year of writing Now Playing columns. You can see how these two things are likely related. Now that we are all properly lauded for work done on both sides of the journalistic fence, let’s proceed to the matter at hand.

Tonight, Thurs., Sept. 17, fear not gentle readers, that sound you hear emanating from the Brewhaus is merely the winsome wailing of our only masked, instrumental, psycho-surf rock band, Go Tsunami. Dare yourself to experience the experience and go forth into the night knowing you go where Go Tsunami goes.

A couple of festivals take place on the fair streets of downtown Springfield over upcoming weekends, as well as a couple more in neighboring cities, making it worth the effort to get off the couch and into the wilds of the world. The Celtic Mist Pub partners with our St. Andrews Society to bring the Inaugural Oyster Festival to Seventh Street between Adams and Washington on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. They’ve got music by Exorna (great live Irish/Celtic trio), food by Robert’s Seafood Outside Tented Kitchen (with oysters, smoked salmon, Irish stew and more), plus libations supplied by the Mist including a Whiskey Garden to bring the unfailing trinity of live music, good food and fine drinks together again.

Please don’t forget, this weekend Brave Combo, the Grammy-award winning polka band from Denton, Texas, performs during the Oktoberfest celebration at Riverfront Park in Peoria. I repeat this from a few weeks ago simply because they are a great, great band everyone should experience.

Next weekend pay attention to the ads and keep both eyes out for the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival. People actually come from all over the world, especially Europe, to attend events related to the legendary highway that passed through Springfield. With a new company managing the street fest this year, things look to be a little different but also much the same with several outdoor band stages plus classic cars galore, food booths and a kid’s area.

Also on the weekend of Sept. 25 and 26 Champaign-Urbana debuts a Folk and Roots Festival on the streets of downtown Urbana. The first-time festival, reported to me by fellow folkie and former Springfieldian Ed Hawkes, sports performances by Robbie Fulks, Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp, Kilborn Alley, and Los T-Birds, among others. Not just a music fest, the event also features storytellers, children’s activities, food vendors, dances, workshops and more.

Now we present live music venue news in the something old, something new department. The Walnut Street Winery in Rochester recently began hosting music acts outside in their lovely and spacious outdoor garden area. This week features local singer-songwriter Rachel Rambach on Friday performing her delightfully perceptive songs with more groups scheduled on weekend evenings throughout the fall. Visit and prepare to be amazed at this stunning new spot.

I’m happy to report the return of Norb Andy’s Tabarin to the local scene. Jeremy Thomas, most recently the longtime manager of Marly’s Pub, announced plans to reopen the historic and popular watering hole by mid-October with a grand opening set for Sat., Oct. 17. Thomas promises daily hours from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. with live jazz and blues in the lower level bar on the weekends, plus various other musical entertainments designed to bring life back into the venerable institution originally established in 1937 by Norbert Anderson.

Thanks again to all with a special nod to those at Illinois Times who make the paper possible and for you out there in readerland taking the time and making the effort to keep print a viable and valuable part of our lives. Here’s to making 10 years.

Contact Tom Irwin at