Remember when popular music had a message? With today's army of vapid pop stars and record company-manufactured boy bands under the guise of "rock bands," it seems as though artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez have become as extinct as the woolly mammoth. Then suddenly, the clouds of mediocrity part and a single ray of light exposes Dakota & The Black River Bandit, a local act comprising a couple o' self-proclaimed political activists who are more concerned with opening minds than making it big in the music industry. As ASU students working toward degrees in journalism and conservation biology, respectively, this young lady and lad craft their folk-country '50s rock 'n' roll tunes to shed light on issues they feel passionately about (and for aural enjoyment, of course). The result of this musical match-made-in-heaven sounds something like Tammy Wynette singing Johnny Cash songs, often including killer harmonica solos and Little Richard-inspired "Whooo!"s. If you need a reminder of why rock 'n' roll ain't noise pollution, check these cats out.
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