Black Prairie, Shelley Short, Darren Hanlon | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Black Prairie, Shelley Short, Darren Hanlon Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Oct. 19, 10 p.m. 2012
Price: $12
On its second album, A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart (Sugar Hill), this genre-jumping Portland string band sometimes collides its varied interests within a single song. "For the Love of John Hartford," a perky instrumental named after one of America's greatest champions of old-time music, blitzes through bluegrass and Irish and Eastern European folk in less than three minutes. Black Prairie, whose five members include three Decemberists, played mostly instrumentals on their debut, but here they let fiddler Annalisa Tornfelt use her gorgeous voice more often. Luckily they don't also dispense with the dense ornamentation of their songs on the assumption that people will only be listening to her—their pretty folk-rock is gilded with swelling accordions, spiky dulcimer lines, and Dobro that splits the difference between the Mississippi and the Ganges. The album is a bit overstuffed at 69 minutes, but the band's ardor for traditional music generally compensates for the absence of self-editing. —Peter Margasak Shelley Short and Darren Hanlon open.

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