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Elana James: Elana James

A mix of old-world folk, high-stepping Irish jigs and deep country-and-western blues that’s served as populist gospel for everyone from Hank Williams to Bob Dylan to Lucinda Williams is apt to offer some panacea for the soul, if not genuine art. But this is damn fine fun all the same.

Handling both violin and vocal duties, Elana James sounds at times so feral and emboldened on her debut that you can drift into all sorts of daydreams of Bob Wills not being able to make a Playboys date and sending his female understudy in his stead, his presence barely missed at all. And when the band lets rip, lending less emphasis to dust-bowl ballads and more to kicking off dust and having a high time, this tight little ensemble could well be the greatest fiddle band Dodge never had.

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