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Strum und Twang

What’s up with country

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Winter is the time for wood-sheddin’ in the country and folk world. Seems like everybody SUT talks to is holin’ up to write and record. Our “Best Country” artist Arty Hill is recording two records this winter: The first, he says, is a bluegrass affair with Baker Award-winning Smooth Kentucky; the second is a honky-tonk record with the Long Gone Daddys and his Texas band, the Pearl Dusters. And just in case you want to spend these cold months writin’ some songs of your own, Arty will be holdin’ a series of songwriting workshops at the Creative Alliance Nov. 7, 14, and 28. See creativealliance.org for more info.

Speaking of Bests, our “Best Folk” band Bobby E. Lee and the Sympathizers is also recording this winter, and like Arty, they say they’re gonna do acoustic and electric numbers on this, their second record.

The Country Devils are way past that point: These scene vets (featuring Michael Beresh, who just performed his great Letters to Baltimore from the War) are recording their fifth record this winter.

The Happy Hours, a husband-and-wife duo featuring bass-maestro Jake Leckie, are heading up to a barn in Lititz, Pa., to record an album on analog tape. But damnit, we can’t all stay in all winter; wood-shedding needs barnstorming to balance it out. The Happy Hours oblige as they open fora the decidedly non-country Ben Frock’s Love Unit on Nov. 10 at the Windup Space.

A couple days before that, you can catch the great Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Weinberg Center in Frederick on Nov. 8. This African-American string trio learned the real roots from great black fiddler Joe Thompson before he died and have been pushing the tradition of the African-American string band in all the best directions since then.

And on Nov. 17, the Roots Cafe (featuring CP contributor Geoffrey Himes) will host the second annual Streets of Baltimore concert at the Creative Alliance.

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