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Joe McMurrian, Blind Bartimaeus 

When: Fri., Jan. 27, 9:30 p.m. 2012
Sometimes artists give you a bit of a break from having to decode the zeros and ones of their works. With a name like Blind Bartimaeus—in homage both to the sight-cured roadside beggar from the Gospel of Mark, as well as to sight-hampered blues musicians of the pre-war South—you'd reasonably expect gospel-tinged songs of love and faith. Well, close. Gospel Songs of God & Death, released in December, travels road-tested gospel-folk, with only acoustic guitar and violin to guide it through its dark expanses. Vocalist/guitarist Santi Elijah Holley's whiskey-whispered singing, and ghostly harmonies from Liz Chibucos prove a potent one-two, especially in more upbeat tunes (in tempo, mind you; certainly not lyrically) like "As Cold and Lonesome As the Moon," in which Holley describes a woman with a "Xanax grin and nicotine teeth" over jaunty finger-picked blues. It's a lesson in contrasts, and an easygoing one to boot. RYAN J. PRADO

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