Jukebox Heroes

Prog-rock vets still cash in on radio fame more than 30 years after their heyday.

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As they plug in tonight for a concert in Kent, The Strawbs bemoan audiences in their native England. More than 40 years after their debut in London's folk circles, the quintet now is considered too old for British musical tastes. "Over there, age matters. You're written off as dinosaurs," says Dave Cousins, the band's 62-year-old singer. "But here, people realize that bands have a history."The group's folk and bluegrass roots date to the mid-'60s, well before it made the switch to electric prog-rock a decade later. Tonight, the bandmates relive their success, which peaked with their 1974 album, Hero and Heroine — a record that spent 17 weeks on the Billboard charts. "We certainly don't keep doing this for the money," says Cousins. "We do it for love."Between renditions of tunes from nearly 40 total LPs, CDs, and DVDs, the band will also launch into tracks from their next disc, The Broken-Hearted Bride, which they'll drop in September. For Cousins, the album brings the Strawbs into the 21st century without compromising the band's identity. "There's still that political feel that people expect," says Cousins. "We still talk politics, because we haven't settled into old age and become carpet-sniffers sitting in front of the fire, smoking pipes." The Strawbs take the mic at 8 tonight at the Kent Stage, 175 East Main Street in Kent. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door. Call 330-677-5500 or visit www.kentstage.org.
Fri., June 13, 8 p.m., 2008
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