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Fred Eaglesmith 

Friday, January 11, at the Beachland Ballroom.

How unfair is it that Toby Keith is a superstar, while a true guitar-toting talent like singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith remains relatively unknown? At least Keith has good taste: He covered Eaglesmith's "Thinkin' 'Bout You" in his otherwise awful movie Broken Bridges. The upside of Eaglesmith's not being rich and famous is the intimate settings of his live shows, which allow old and new fans alike a chance to focus on this modern-day Woody Guthrie's rich storytelling. The Canadian Eaglesmith is an Americana man, a true-grit guy whose songs about heartbreak can move you to tears without making you feel like a sissy. Unlike so much mainstream country, Eaglesmith's lyrics never go for an easy laugh. Which isn't to say he's all serious. Eaglesmith is more than capable of leading a rowdy, rockin' good time, like when he's singing about a "Big Ass Garage Sale."

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