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Folk & country

Critic's picks

The Carolina Chocolate Drops bring their old-timey music to the Paradise on Oct. 16. The Carolina Chocolate Drops bring their old-timey music to the Paradise on Oct. 16. (Bruce Deboer (Above); Joshua Black Wilkins)
By James Reed
Globe Staff / September 12, 2010

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THOSE DARLINS Out of Nashville, this vivacious country-rock trio has done its homework, blending the sass of Loretta Lynn with the DIY spirit of ’70s punk and a pinch of ’60s girl groups. Sept. 17, 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $12. T.T. the Bear’s. 617-492-2327, www.ticketweb.com

CHRISTINE LAVIN In support of a new autobiography, “Cold Pizza for Breakfast: A Mem-wah??,’’ this beloved singer-songwriter and funny lady is on the road to celebrate her 25 years of touring and writing some of folk music’s most wry social observations. Sept. 17, 8 p.m. Tickets: $24-$26. The Center for Arts in Natick. 508-647-0097, www.natick arts.org

DAR WILLIAMS Fresh from last month’s concert with a chamber music ensemble, Williams comes back to town in support of a forthcoming album, “Many Great Companions,’’ which re-imagines 12 of her songs with special guests. Sept. 18-19, 5 & 8 p.m. Tickets: $40. Club Passim. 617-492-7679, www.clubpassim.com

RASCAL FLATTS It’s practically a rite of passage, the country-pop superstars closing out the summer with a show at Comcast Center. Kellie Pickler and Chris Young will also be in tow. Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $38.50-$99. Comcast Center. 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com

MIKE & RUTHY They made their name with the Mammals, but now Mike & Ruthy have an infectious new folk-rock album out under their own names. Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $15. Lizard Lounge. 617-547-0759, www.lizardloungeclub.com

THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH The past is the present for Swedish musician Kristian Matsson, a fascinating singer-songwriter who carries a grain of salt in his voice and an intuitive command over his fluid finger-picking style indebted to Chet Atkins and ’60s folkies. Oct. 1, 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$17.50. Somerville Theatre. www.somervilletheatreonline .com

WANDA JACKSON She was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, belated recognition of her pioneering work as an early rocker who was also at home in country and gospel. Produced by Jack White, Jackson’s next album is expected in the fall. Oct. 7, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. Johnny D’s. 617-776-2004, www.johnnyds.com

THE SWEETBACK SISTERS The words “honky-tonk band from Brooklyn’’ aren’t that novel anymore, but this sextet puts a refreshing and off-kilter spin on torch and twang and Western swing. Oct. 8, 8 p.m. Tickets: $14. Club Passim. 617-492-7679, www.clubpassim.com

BOWERBIRDS Formerly a trio, Bowerbirds is now the core duo of Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, who find the sweet spot between dusky Americana and elegant chamber pop. Oct. 15, 10:30 p.m. Tickets: $12. T.T. the Bear’s. 617-492-2327, www.ticketweb.com

THE CHAPIN SISTERS Moving away from the straight-ahead sibling folk of their earlier work, the Chapin Sisters explore a more soulful pop direction of their new EP, “Oh, Hear the Wind Blow.’’ Recent Berklee grad Liz Longley opens. Oct. 15, 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. Cafe 939. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS Since emerging from North Carolina four years ago, this virtuosic trio has garnered loyal fans while educating them on the lost art of African-American string bands. Carolina Chocolate Drops are touring behind this year’s “Genuine Negro Jig.’’ Oct. 16, 9 p.m. Tickets: $20. Paradise Rock Club. 617-876-4275, www.worldmusic.org

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE On “Harlem River Blues,’’ his third album out on Tuesday, the spawn of Steve Earle explores the tension between his country upbringing and his new city life with the quiet grace of the man who inspired his middle name: Townes Van Zandt. Oct. 20, 7 p.m. Tickets: $17. Royale. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

THE RICHARD THOMPSON BAND First with Fairport Convention and his then-wife Linda and later as a solo artist, Thompson has carved out a singular path in the evolution of British folk-rock. His latest release, “Dream Attic,’’ proves his songwriting is still ripped from today’s headlines. Oct. 29, 8 p.m. Tickets: $36.50-$39.50. Berklee Performance Center, 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

DAWES One of Newport Folk Festival’s breakout stars last month, these California folk-rockers with an affinity for Gram Parsons are headed for bigger and better things. They’ll bring fellow Cali folkies Vetiver along for the ride. Nov. 6, 5:30 p.m. Tickets: $15. Royale. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com

JIM KWESKIN & GEOFF MULDAUR Hearing these two perform together is a masterclass in Cambridge’s 1960s folk revival, back when they were part of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. They still dust off the classics while peppering their show with more recent material. Nov. 12, 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley. 877-536-7190, www.bullrunrestaurant.com

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