Guitar Festival/Krannert Center/ Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
We all met at my house to go to the airport. On board for
this trip were Laurie, Lisa, Susan, Kevin, and myself. Susan
got us one of those four day tickets for the 'Park-and-Fly'
at LAX. We did not have to bring anything as the promoter
is providing back line for the band. Laurie brought her
pedal board and guitar and I brought my Lakland bass. Kevin
brought a pair of sticks and lots of food I'm sure. Everything
went smooth at the airport with the usual strip search at
the terminal. I'm glad they do this to keep us all safe
even though it is a minor inconvenience. The plane pulled
away from the gate and we were off in good time. We'll have
a connecting flight in Chicago to make it to the University
of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. How about that,
a university so good it gets two city names. Or is the U
of I just fickle and can't make a commitment?
I am very excited about this event. Our time to play is
Saturday evening and many great guitarists and guitar groups
will be performing Thursday, Friday and Saturday. One of
my favorite musicians, Keb Mo, will be playing, as well
as, the always entertaining and eclectic guitarist, Bill
Frisell. The promoters have supplied us tickets for these
events because some artists are paid events. Out in the
lobby is another stage where we will play. The Dobro "god",
Jerry Douglas, will also be playing here. Jerry has played
with many bluegrass groups like Allison Krause and the Union
Gap Band. He also has a solo career. Check out the song
"It's a Beautiful Life" on his 'Slide Rule"
album, a great song which makes me feel good each time I
hear it. Many other fine groups will also be playing on
this stage and I am looking forward to hearing and enjoying
The reception night, Thursday, was fantastic with Chica
Libre, Junior Brown, and the Derek Trucks band performing.
This event was packed, as the entrance fee for the event
was only $5. Imagine that, hearing all these groups for
only $5. Chica Libre is a group from New York that plays
pop music with a bent toward Peruvian influences. They sported
an accordion, guitar, electric upright bass, drums and a
small stringed instrument that looked like a tenor uke but
was called a quarto. The next group to play was Junior Brown
and wow. Junior had a double neck guitar that he designed
himself. One neck was set up to use as a lap slide and the
other neck was set up for standard guitar tuning. He placed
this on a stand rather than hold the contraption with a
strap. Junior has serious chops and he covers sounds ranging
from Tex-Mex to surf rock and he seems to have an unbelievable
amount of melodic ideas as well as good old fashion schtick.
He is very entertaining and funny.
The Derek Trucks band was the final band of the night and
they were awesome. Good old southern rock with a dash of
jazz, r & b, funk, and Latin mixed in. If this wasn't
enough, outside in the amphitheatre the Frank Vignola trio
was performing. This trio was comprised of two guitars and
an upright bass. They were really good. During all of this
great music you could go outside in the amphitheatre area
and purchase food and drinks to keep yourself in good listening
shape. I made sure I was in good shape.
This was just the opening night. It was hard to decide what
to watch so I'd catch a song here and then I'd catch a song
there. What fun to hear such diversity in music while still
keeping the focus on the guitar. At about 12 O'clock we
made it back to the hotel for some good rest in order to
get ready for the busy day ahead.