Music » Critics' Picks

Dave Alvin

9 p.m. Thursday, July 7. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

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The more rock & rollers take themselves seriously, the more their music becomes a joke. Dave Alvin is the exception that proves the rule. The distinguished guitarist and songwriter for the Blasters and X has aged with grit and grace, and by the lights of his latest Yep Roc release, Eleven Eleven, his lifelong study of blues, rockabilly and country has only made him wiser and wilder. Songs like "Johnny Ace Is Dead," a true-crime tale of rock & roll Russian roulette and "Run Conejo Run," a Los Lobos-esque barnburner, prove you don't have to be a punk to rip it up and start again. Alvin has often said he plays two kinds of folk music, quiet and loud. He left out "true" and "totally original."

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