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in going country 

By now, Uncle Tupelo, S.C.O.T.S. and The White Stripes don't shock. In 2005, the world is much more comfortable with the idea that punk rock and country-western music are, at the very least, uncle and nephew. But 20 years ago, Exene Cervenka, John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake of Los Angeles' wild punk gift, X, tried their hand at country, recruiting upright bassman Jonny Ray Bartel and The Blasters' Dave Alvin to tackle backwoods takes on X songs, as well as their favorite hillbilly standards. The Knitters--which began humbly as a one-off guise for benefit shows--wove what before had only seemed like separate musical continents together with the groundbreaking Poor Little Critter on the Road. After a brief reunion behind a Bloodshot tribute album in 1999, they're back with a new album, complete with gospel tunes, a satisfying "In This House That I Call Home" retooling, and that same ol', never-say-die Exene/Doe vocal tug-of-war. They'll be at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro with Phranc on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $14-16.

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