Music » Critics' Picks

Abigail Washburn

8 p.m. Thursday, April 12. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Boulevard.

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With the passing of Earl Scruggs, attention has turned to the instrument that launched a thousand jokes: the banjo. But in the hands of masters such as Scruggs, Béla Fleck or Ralph Stanley, its sound is no laughing matter. Add to that list Abigail Washburn, wife of and collaborator with Fleck and accomplished frailer in the pre-Scruggs tradition. Washburn's rhythms are unstoppable, but her adventurous singing and arranging distinguishes her work. Last year, with indie rocker Kai Welch and producer Tucker Martine, she released City of Refuge, one of the most exciting fusions of rock and old-time music ever recorded.

Last Time: Washburn opened for the Head and the Heart at the Duck Room in 2011 and won over the festival kids. This time she has a proper headlining gig at an ideal venue.

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