Frank Fairfield, Andrew Pelletier Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., March 29, 7 p.m. 2013

California singer and multi-instrumentalist Frank Fairfield was born during Reagan’s second term, but he looks like he walked straight out of a Depression-era Farm Security Administration photograph and sounds like someone from Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. In his guitar, banjo, and fiddle playing, he makes no acknowledgment of advances in technique that arose later than World War II, and even the songs he writes himself are steeped in idioms that already sounded old before Americans had TV. But seeing one of Fairfield’s concerts doesn’t feel like indulging in nostalgia—it’s more like stepping into a time warp. He plays warhorses such as “Nine Pound Hammer” and “The Dying Cowboy” as though the events their lyrics relate are breaking news, and when he sings about redemption on “Someday You’ll Be Free,” you half expect him to wring baptismal water out of his clothes onstage. After releasing two records through the Tompkins Square label, he’s finished a third that he’s putting out himself; he might play a few songs from it tonight, and he hopes to have copies for sale. —Bill Meyer Andrew Pelletier opens.

Price: $12

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