The Ditty Bops

One-ring circus

Imagine it's 1925 and you and your special lady or mister have decided to spend Friday night at the club. Onstage is a new female duet with a forward-thinking way of melding jazz, swing, tightly woven harmonies, and vaudeville-era musical theatre. There's a tall drink o' water on the mandolin and dulcimer -- that's Amanda Barrett (daughter of a professional clown and pagan Celtic musician) -- and the petite, tomboyish one madly picking at her guitar is Abby DeWald (she didn't know who Joni Mitchell was until she met Barrett). These Ditty Bops might seem ahead of their time or, if you're firmly ensconced in "today," lost in the past, but everything the L.A.-based gals do feels innovative. As wonderful as their neo-nostalgic music is, though, it's nothing compared to their stage shows that often include fiery red mohawks, sequined minidresses, and costume themes like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Gods and Goddesses."

 
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