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Ironing Board Sam 

When: Wed., Aug. 28, 7 p.m. 2013
Price: $5
Some bluesmen who have toiled through a hardscrabble life, as has Ironing Board Sam, allow the ache to invade their fiery progressions. The resulting bitterness can be plenty powerful, though it doesn't exactly inspire joy. But the struggles of Sam's life seem to have reinforced the exuberance he strives to communicate. Born in North Carolina, the keyboardist spent nearly six decades moving from town to town, seeking a place for his unique combination of blustery boogie and playful melody. Thanks to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, he seems to have found it here in the Triangle. His croon, wonderfully worn by the years, warbles above his own striding keys. Go ahead: Try not to smile. —Jordan Lawrence

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