Music » Critics' Picks

Dave Barnes

9 p.m. Thursday, March 5. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City.

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The Southern California '70s singer-songwriter scene always had quasi-Christian subtexts, even if the pretensions to revealed truth were cut with cocaine and delusions of communal cohabitation. On last year's Me and You and the World, Nashville acoustic-pop evangelist Dave Barnes cut his own born-again homages to Laurel Canyon with easy-going soul and accomplished piano chops. He doesn't have the hooks of James Taylor or the poetry of Jackson Browne, but he knows how to extend a good gospel metaphor and make a faith-based initiative — like feeding 10,000 children — sound like more than just naïve paying-it-forward. His efforts at hopping on the yacht-rock revival are less convincing, though the raspy, crooning romanticism of "Until You" suggests the soft-rock style isn't wholly beyond redemption.

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