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Steph Stewart & the Boyfriends 

When: Sat., Jan. 5, 10 p.m. 2013
Price: Free

Durham singer-songwriter Steph Stewart has often been compared to Tift Merritt and Gillian Welch. Only Welch's most hardscrabble material, though, matches the folk firmament of Stewart. Indeed, her best songs (the sad banjo trot of "Coal" or the longing guitar traipse in "Of the Night") feel like updates to tunes Harry Smith might've collected. Despite the Neko Case nod of her band's name, Stewart seems less interested in smooth country/pop/rock permutations than direct and unflinching tales of reality. —Grayson Currin

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