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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist covers Old Flings, Mount Moriah and William Tyler

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Opening was Nashville's William Tyler, who's a panoramic folk guitar soloist in the noble tradition of Jack Rose. He plays the kind of hypnotic folk music that's an elevated take on American roots, is devoid of clichés and exists instead on a rarefied plane with deeply nourishing musicianship and incredibly sophisticated expression.

North Carolina headliner Mount Moriah drew a crowd that, though disappointingly small, was impressively avid. In fact, this assembly proved one of the more demonstratively appreciative crowds I've seen in too long. Over the course of the show, my initial discouragement over the lack of attendance for such a good band faded. First, it yielded to total personal envelopment by the expressiveness of Jenks Miller's guitars and especially Heather McEntire's stunning vocal conviction. Eventually, it was eclipsed altogether by the sheer engagement of the audience. To hear local musician Stephen Rock belt it out from the floor at the frontwoman's general request for help on a song was something else. These were real fans, they were grateful and, most importantly, they let the band know it. Sometimes, the size of the crowd is secondary to its spirit. And this rapt, in-the-moment audience will claim toldja-so rights when this band finally gets its due.

Heads up, lusty readers, I'll be on column break next week. Be strong.

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