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Thursday, December 14

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« Review: Brendan Benson @ Lincoln Hall, 6/28 Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - July 2012 »

Concert Mon Jul 02 2012

Review: Fitzgerald's American Music Festival, 6/29/12

By Davis Inman

Bill Fitzgerald is still reeling from when John Prine sprung a surprise visit to his club last Sunday for the Earl of Old Town tribute show. He pulled out his smartphone to show a picture he took of his wife basking in the great man's glory.

John Prine. The name conjures up images of the best of Chicago's folk music history — the scene Fitzgerald's has helped foster and promote for 32 years. Incidentally, that's the same number of years they've been putting on the annual American Music Festival.

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Fitzgerald's American Music Festival (photos by Davis Inman)

In keeping with the patriotic theme, American flags dotted almost every inch of Fitzgerald's during the pre-Fourth of July celebration. Nearly every hand cradled a red, white, and blue can of High Life beer.

Modeled in part on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Fitzgerald's has long brought Louisiana acts like Marcia Ball to the fest. Caterer Tom Cimm's "cochon de lait" po' boy might even rival the real thing.

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Robbie Fulks (photos by Davis Inman)

On Friday, there was a strong lineup of legacy acts like Texas blues master Dave Alvin and Chicago jack-of-all-trades Robbie Fulks, as well as emerging roots acts like Austin's Sons of Fathers and Chicago's Go Long Mule.

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Sons of Fathers (photos by Davis Inman)

The band Sons of Fathers play a tight brand of heartfelt Southern soul that sometimes veers more towards Memphis than Austin — though they do a mean Texas boogie a la early Guy Clark.

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Go Long Mule (photos by Davis Inman)

Named after an old blues tune, Go Long Mule has been building their reputation as a versatile rock and roll outfit in Chicago. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Ryan Anderson can do deep Nola funky like Dr. John — but it's mostly pure rock and roll rave-ups with a touch of Chicago twang.

"This is an American music festival, so we're gonna play lots of American music," said Anderson before launching into a cover of Gillian Welch's "Annabelle."

By the end of their third set, I was convinced Go Long Mule might be one of the best bands in Chicago.

I was also pretty sure Fitzgerald's hosts one of Chicago's best parties of the year.

Maybe next year John Prine will even show.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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