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Friday, November 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 21.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily

TOUR STOP

Carolina Chocolate Drops give vintage string-band music a very bright future

Old-time music, from banjo-driven bluegrass to square-dance fiddling, is experiencing a renaissance in Madison and beyond. Ask listeners about its origins and they'll likely point to the Appalachian Mountains, or perhaps the Irish countryside, where several elements of bluegrass were born. >More
 The Head and the Heart deal with matters of life and death at Live on King Street

The thrust of Let's Be Still, the most recent album by the Head and the Heart, can be summed up in lyrics from the title track. >More
 Country duo the Secret Sisters attract pop and rock fans with Put Your Needle Down

Though the Secret Sisters have landed songs on country radio since 2010, they've flown under the radar for most of their lives. But now they're flirting with a more mainstream route to fame. The sibling duo's sophomore album, Put Your Needle Down, topped the Billboard Heatseekers chart earlier this year, and they'll headline a show at the Majestic Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 3. >More
 Deer Tick find beauty in messes and missteps

Deer Tick make messes like it's nobody's business. Browse a recent set list and you'll find autobiographical songs with titles like "Trash" and "The Dream's in the Ditch." Peruse photos of the crowd and you'll find lots of sweat. >More
 Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen top themselves with adventurous new record Cold Spell

"T'ain't no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones." So say the lyrics of a song by Tom Waits and William Burroughs. The opening licks of several bluegrass tunes by Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen bring these words to life. Solivan's honey-sweet tenor, Chris Luquette's guitar and Danny Booth's bass offer a soundtrack to the devil's summertime skinny-dipping adventures. >More
 Caroline Smith grows into a bold and joyful singing style

Caroline Smith laughs when she recalls the music-listening phases she went through as a teen. One of those phases involved the indie folk the Minneapolis-based singer performed early in her career. >More
 The Emperors of Wyoming play live after an unconventional recording process

A band's homecoming is often a special occasion to celebrate the city where everything started. For the Emperors of Wyoming -- which features Madison natives Phil Davis, Pete and Frank Anderson, and Butch Vig -- their homecoming at the High Noon Saloon next Wednesday has extra significance: It'll be their first live performance in the same room. >More
 Dave and Phil Alvin stop fighting to make a record of Big Bill Broonzy covers

Thirty-five years have passed since the Blasters debuted their blend of blues, rockabilly and roots rock in a small city near Disneyland. Though they're brothers, founders Dave and Phil Alvin didn't record together for decades, probably because they fought constantly. Then came Common Ground, an album of Big Bill Broonzy covers released this year. It's the focus of the siblings' July 25 concert at the High Noon Saloon. >More
 As tUne-yArDs, Merrill Garbus whisks listeners to a weird, whimsical world of morals and magic

With live performances that feature drum loops, field recordings, ukulele riffs and pom-poms, it's not hard to envision Merrill Garbus as a babysitter. That's how she got her start, and watching her perform as tUne-yArDs, you get the sense that she'd be great at it in a Mary-Poppins-on-an-acid-trip way. >More
 Sharon Van Etten's Are We There is a violent, brilliant masterpiece

Sharon Van Etten understands ultraviolence. Lana Del Rey has cultivated an ill-gotten notoriety with her album and song of the same name. But while Del Rey earns groans by shoehorning in an obvious Crystals reference, Van Etten causes deep pain by breathing smoke into troubling imagery with her mournful voice. >More
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