It's a fact: Old punks don't die, they just turn country. And for that, we have Dave Alvin to thank partially, at least. Alvin and his brother Phil were catalysts in the great country-punk wave of the 80s, which was led by their blues-rock band The Blasters, as well as their Slash Records labelmates X and the Gun Club (both of whom Alvin played guitar for briefly). Alvin left the Blasters in 1986 and has released top-notch Americana records ever since, including 2000s Grammy-winning collection of American folk songs, Public Domain. Like his California brethren Dwight Yoakum and Merle Haggard, Alvin has a dry, arid voice and a sun-baked guitar style. His songs are often steeped in his knowledge of American music, but resist all notions of bookishness. Currently, he's touring in support of Best of the Hightone Years, which collects 18 tracks (chosen by Alvin himself) from his years with Bruce Bromberg's Americana label. A blend of folk, blues, classic country, R&B, and rockabilly, Hightone Years serves as a fine introductory lesson not just to Alvin himself, but to American roots music as a whole.
Thu., Feb. 12, 8 p.m., 2009