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Old 97’s and Heartless Bastards perform at One Eyed Jacks 

A countrified lineup on May 4

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"I'm not crazy about songs that get self-referential / Most of this stuff should be kept confidential," Rhett Miller meta-confesses at the beginning of Most Messed Up (ATO), Old 97's' tell-all of an 11th LP. The song is "Longer Than You've Been Alive" — how long they've been doing this (natch), and also the first signpost of the sneaky snark attack to come, one Miller both sets up and walks into. "Give It Time" is the 97's' best country punker in ages, but it's not the healing salve its title promises; Miller seals the couplet by barking, gloriously, in your face, "It will break you!" His "Let's Get Drunk & Get It On" volunteers a third leg in the "Why Don't We Do It In the Road?"/"Why Don't We Get Drunk" between-three-sheets relay. And while the token ballad is called "This Is the Ballad," it's an off-road, pub-drawling affair loaded with wry/rye personal audits ("My reservations are all I have left"). This gig kicks off a monthlong dance card with she-wolf Erika Wennerstrom and her Heartless Bastards, whose fifth outing Restless Ones (Partisan) somehow found another substratum of deep-seated emotional turmoil to till up and toil in. BJ Barham of American Aquarium opens. Tickets $25.


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