Friday, August 14, 2009

First Post from the Prairie

Not only is this my first post about live music in Champaign-Urbana, my new home, but I'm writing it on my iPhone, also a first.

I'm sitting in a big grassy area at the UIUC Research Park. The crowd here is substantial, probably upwards of 500 people. It is a free outdoor concert sponsored by the Krannert Center.

Opening act Ryan Groff just finished. The highlight of his set for me was his acoustic guitar cover of The Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight." On that song and others, he made extensive and worthwhile use of a digital voice recorder to add his own backing vocals and harmonies. After he finished that song, he played one about a woman in downtown Champaign who used to pretend that she was homeless, much to the consternation of local business owners.

The intermission music has included some contemporary bluegrass and right now an old-time fiddle tune!

Main act Kathy Mattea should take the stage soon. There has been significant conversation behind me -- sadly to the detriment of me being able to hear Ryan Groff -- about whether she will play country music or Appalachian music. I'll let you know soon...

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