Music » Critics' Picks

Frank Morey

9 p.m. Monday, December 18. Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue).

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When Howlin' Wolf was scaring the white folk at the Newport Jazz Festival, Don Van Vliet was scaring his neighbors with teenage pal Frank Zappa. When Van Vliet began dismembering Wolf's blues as Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits was slinking about LA as a boho jazz-bo, and when Waits was reinventing himself as a post-postmodern Beefheart, Frank Morey was bundled up for kindergarten in Lowell, Massachusetts, just up the interstate from Newport. Morey knows his debts to this shape-shifting matrix; he knows repayment takes reinvention. With an arsenal of cigarettes and harmonicas, an over-amped and overworked acoustic guitar — slid and banged and sometimes affably strummed — and a rhythm section driven by a proletarian parade kick drum and a honking stand-up bass, Morey has found his own way of growling through the archetypal juke-joint howl.

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