Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter
There are a lot of ex-smokers in the world, judging by the testimonials on Amazon.com regarding Jesse Sykes' husky voice (e.g., "makes me want to take up smoking again," or how about "I found myself reaching for Dunhills that weren't there"). It's a wonder the surgeon general didn't write the liner notes for Oh, My Girl, the brilliant after-hours album she released this year with The Sweet Hereafter, the band she formed with ex-Whiskeytown guitarist Phil Wandscher. It also features the haunting violin work of Anne Marie Ruljancich, who has sawed away behind The Walkabouts, Black Cat Orchestra, and The Shins. If you're jonesing for evocative, mood-sustaining acoustic music along the lines of Cowboy Junkies -- and hoping for some secondhand nicotine besides -- this show is booked in Phoenix, where such concerns aren't prohibitive.
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