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Alison Brown -- She's a Harvard educated investment banker turned bluegrass innovator -- how cool is that? Brown is a Grammy-winning banjo player who's moving back toward traditional bluegrass after some eclectic stints on Vanguard Records. She's now the co-founder of the solid indie label Compass Records, and pumping her own agenda on five-string banjo. Her recent repertoire, found on her label, speaks volumes on the burgeoning bluegrass genre with emotive playing and heartfelt delivery. She knows her instrument, and form, inside out. Let's just say she rocks on the banjo. Barnes Recital Hall, Winthrop U (Shukla)

Hardcore Lounge -- Formed by the always eclectic ex-Cyclone Mack duo of Chris Johnson (guitar) and Leon Daniel (bass), along with former It Could Be Nothing drummer Tim Benson and Johnson's brother Wes (vocals), Hardcore Lounge was named when a local club owner described the then-unnamed act's music thusly. Inspiration was theirs, the clouds opened up, and God shined upon them. Gotta love it when a band makes your job easy. With the always entertaining Black Lagoon, one of the best new bands of the year. Double Door Inn (Davis)


Groovelily -- You know, this trio probably sounds darn good in a live setting, but their record, Little Light, just doesn't jump off the canvas like it should. The musicianship is there, and the vocalist is sweetly adequate, but the sum of it all pretty much whispers "Folk-Pop Lite." Valerie Vigoda's electric violin adds a positive dimension, but a more lyrical oomph is needed, as the record seems to fade out over the course. The double bill also features Life in General. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

John Hiatt -- The Tiki Bar Is Open, Hiatt's second release for Vanguard Records and the follow-up to his excellent blues homage Crossing Muddy Waters, is his first album with his backing band the Goners since 1988's hit Slow Turning. Tiki is vintage Hiatt, in that respect: From the story-weaving "My Old Friend" to the barroom boogie of "Everybody Went Low," Hiatt's growl and tasteful strumming are evidenced to fine effect. With Scott Miller, still touring under the auspices of his excellent Thus Always To Tyrants album. Miller's last performance here, supporting Buddy and Julie Miller and Steve Forbert, was acknowledged by many as a show-stealer. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)


Oteil & The Peacemakers -- There's not much more I can say other than Oteil Burbridge is one bad-ass bass player. I will, however, elaborate, and tell you that he's currently best known for his regular gig with the Allman Brothers Band, where his solos take those psychedelic escapades to a whole other level. He was also a founding member of the Aquarium Rescue Unit, and he's recorded with the likes of everybody (Trey Anastasio, Victor Wooten, John Pooper and so on). Burbridge is one of those fellas who'll get on stage and play that funky music forever. Don't miss. Visulite Theatre (Lynn Farris)

Preston Reed -- Reed's a New Age acoustic guitarist who uses classical splashes to create a "folk on speed" sound. He's been on numerous labels with numerous records while keeping the acoustic axe cooking. Reed's command of the instrument is pretty mind-boggling; it's as if the guitar is a third arm. The free wheeling finger picker almost plays the guitar as a percussion instrument at times, while gently fluttering the strings other times. He does it all instrumentally, without vocal interruptions, and the tempo and tone can change with the blink of an eye. The Evening Muse (Shukla)


Chubby Carrier -- Accordionist Carrier is a proponent of hyper and upbeat contemporary zydeco. When toe-tapping Zydeco is played well, no matter how foul a mood you're in, the immediately danceable sound can perk you up. Chubby carries on the long running tradition with plenty of healthy nods to pop hits, so the repetition syndrome is kept at bay. His backup band plays and sways with the accordion master to keep the feeling going all night long. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Larry Keel / Vassar Clements / Tony Rice -- Larry Keel's not Old and In The Way, but look for him to stay out of the way tonight, as bluegrass demigods Tony Rice and Vassar Clements accompany him for a rare show. Clements has fiddled with most everyone over the years, including Jerry Garcia. Rice is a guitar virtuoso of the first rank, and you know someone as ornery as him wouldn't sign on to playing with Keel if he didn't respect the young'un. Keel brings sort of a new school vibe to the music, which should make for an interesting contrast with his old school (hell, one-room schoolhouse) elders. Visulite Theatre (Davis)


Americana Night -- Farewell, old friend. Americana Night as we know it, the regular Tuesday night gig at the Double Door Inn, is coming to an end on this, the fifth anniversary of the event. A lot of old faces will be present, from Lenny Federal to the Rank Outsiders to David Childers to Michael Reno Harrell. The Double Door will continue to book some of these guys, but hardcore fans of the genre may have to look elsewhere for young touring bands with a buzz. Double Door Inn (Davis)


Clem Snide -- Fronted by one Eef Barzelay, Clem Snide created a minor stir with their The Ghost of Fashion album a year or so back. Evidently, it's still creating a buzz, as the band is still touring on the strength of it. Featuring titles like "Joan Jett of Arc," you may get the feeling that Eef and Co. lean in that sort of smarmy Stephen Malkmus direction. Well, not really -- the band's got way too many country leanings, and Malkmus would never pen a song so self-consciously titled as that. What they bring is more of a nice Vic-Chesnutt-with-feedback kind of vibe, similar to someone like the Eels. Maybe they should call themselves the Eefs. Tremont Music Hall (Davis) *

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