Here we are on July Fourth, and as a show of patriotism, a big American beer brand decided to rename its beer America for the summer.
Your assignment: Compare and contrast.
For our part, Beth and I celebrated the holiday by dynamiting ourselves out of our Printers Row cocoon and heading to an old standard, an all-time favorite: Fitzgerald’s. Every Fourth of July, the funky, homey, welcoming unpretentious club in Berwyn (an unpretentious suburb of Chicago) holds a four-day American Music Festival. Musical acts play on multiple stages in tents, in the club, in the Sidebar—it’s like an American music smorgasbord.
We took the Blue line. The club is a short a half-mile walk from the L stop. We got there around 3:00 p.m. We saw several acts and hung out with our friends (and friends of Harper) Chris and Larry, and heard a lot of great music. I peppered the two of them about their upcoming annual hike down and back up the Grand Canyon, for probably the umpteenth time. (They’re a patient lot.) I try to talk myself into it (but always end up thinking better of the idea when I get back to my couch).
The highlight was a band called Alanna Royal. Beth had heard proprietor Bill Fitzgerald talking up this act on the local NPR station earlier this week. When she found out they have a brass section, our Saturday was immediately determined.
They didn’t disappoint. Alanna Quinn-Broadus, the lead singer is, well, a force of nature. A hunka’ burnin’ love and blues and soul. The horns were great, the band was tight, and if you get a chance to see this Nashville group, do it. They get around pretty good.
The music at Fitzgerald’s American Music Festival ranges every year from a bit of traditional jazz to some folk, blues, and soul. You know, the kind of stuff it’s really fun to be proud of America for.
Oh, and the beer was good, but there wasn’t any America, I don’t think.