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Strum Und Twang

What’s up with folk and country

Photo: John Collier, License: N/A

John Collier

2013 was hell for country fans. George Jones, Ray Price, and Cowboy Jack Clement all sang their final songs last year. To make things worse, S&T was trying to start drinking less for 2014, which means we can’t listen to their records either. The best country music makes you want to get drunk immediately, especially Conway Twitty’s Play Guitar Play. His version of Danny O’Keefe’s “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” is bad fucking news. But the best version of that bad news in town can be heard at a Caleb Stine show, and that is happening Thursday night, Jan. 30, at 1919, the last show of the Brakemen’s January residency. They are followed by the like-minded D.T. Huber every Thursday in February.

The 75-year-old folk-guitar legend Peter Walker (pictured) is making a very rare appearance at the Windup Space on Feb. 8, courtesy of Creative Differences. Walker released two influential LPs on Vanguard in 1966 and 1968, disappearing for 40 years afterward. A student of Ravi Shankar, he also served as music director for psychedelic evangelist Timothy Leary’s LSD research at the Millbrook estate. It’s an early show (6 p.m.), leaving plenty of time to mill around Station North later.

Robbie Fulks’ wonderful Gone Away Backward showed up on several 2013 top ten lists (including ours). Fulks is a natural, his playfulness matched with musical finesse brings to mind John Hartford. He will be at Gypsy Sally’s in D.C. on Feb. 11, well worth the schlep down 295.

Arty Hill (full disclosure: S&T and Hill have collaborated on video projects in the past) is hunkered down in Highlandtown with Dave Nachodsky at tube-amp fortress Invisible Sound Studios mixing two albums’ worth of songs (one country, one bluegrass), which he will release this spring as a double album. Seven of the tracks on the bluegrass side feature 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Mike Munford. The country side includes “Drunk Down by First Baptist,” a song about another legend, Randy Travis, a man with unconventional taste in drinking spots. Hill and the aforementioned Stine will both be at Atomic Books on Feb. 13, sharing recent songs and stories about their respective artistic influences for a special songwriters’ edition of the poetry series Writers Under the Influence.

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