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Ralph Carney and Friends 

Friday, July 12, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Ralph Carney is the spiritual heir of Raymond Scott, Miles Davis, and Alfred Jarry. A do-it-yourself Dadaist, the Akronite has worked with everybody from Tom Waits to the B-52's to Marc Ribot to Grant Lee Buffalo, and he seems able to play anything that's set before him. Search out his wacky albums, Ralph Sounds and I Like You (A Lot). Then go to his website, www.akroncracker.com, and slide into a delicious cartoon, suggesting that Carney visualizes every instrument he plays as an extension of himself. Scour his bio and you'll find a dad who worked in polyester research, a mom who smoked Carltons, and Carney himself: a sideburned, goggle-eyed eccentric who loves jazz. Carney made his initial mark in Tin Huey, a surreal jazz-rock group that released albums in 1979 and 1999. It surfaced at the same time as the Numbers Band and Human Switchboard, other bizarro groups from just south of Cleveland. What vocals and instruments Carney will bring to his show seems a crapshoot; the only definite is imagination.

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