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Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers

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ARTHUR DODGE & THE HORSEFEATHERS

I first heard Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers only a few weeks ago, but I've heard everything they do many times before: in their rugged, countrified rock sound are traces of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, the Faces, Gram Parsons, the Rolling Stones, Wilco, and the Bottle Rockets. Of course these days the used-CD bins are chockablock with groups that sound like this, but Dodge is a better-than-average songwriter and he's blessed with a distinctive, raggedly soulful voice. On the group's second album, Cadillacs, Ponytails & Dirty Dreams... (Barber's Itch), his vocals are better than they were on 1997's Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers, though he still gets lost during the gentler moments. Apart from the occasional sharp line--"Curiosity didn't kill the cat / It was a dog"--most of his lyrics are the usual plaints about looking for love in all the wrong places. But between his working-class charisma and his band's hardscrabble exuberance--fans of the scene in Lawrence, Kansas, may recognize Guy Stevens and Brock Ginther as the rhythm section of the Homestead Grays and Tenderloin--there's still plenty to chew on in Dodge's music. Josh Rouse opens; on his recent debut album Dressed Up Like Nebraska (Slow River/Rykodisc) he comes at strummy folk rock as a sensitive Britpop fan. There are moments of simple beauty, but too often he comes off like a wimpy mope. The Vulgar Boatmen headline. Friday, 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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