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Gig full of goodness

An ex-busker Appalachian string band and a folk duo with Rolling Stones connections lead this week's roots round-up.

An ex-busker Appalachian string band and a folk duo with Rolling Stones connections lead this week's roots round-up.

Both acts have demonstrated that class is permanent while fashion is temporary.

Nashville's Old Crow Medicine Show and the Devon duo Show Of Hands are prime examples of this rule and show up at a couple of popular local venues this weekend.

There is also a tribute to one of the greatest icons in post-War jazz soon after.

Old Crow Medicine Show are a Nashville-based quintet with an interesting history.

The members, originally from four different states, met in New York and decamped to North Carolina.

They spent the next year or so absorbing old-time fiddle tunes and bluegrass material to add to their jug band stuff and pre-Second World War blues, hollers and hokum.

During this period the five young men - Willie Watson, Ketch Secor, Critter Fuqua, Kevin Hayes and Morgan Jahnig - were playing in front of a chemist's shop when a woman stopped to listen and asked for some details of the band.

That lady turned out to be the daughter of the great North Carolina guitar picker Arthel "Doc" Watson.

The band were immediately asked to perform at country music's Merlefest and soon went on to appear at Nashville's hallowed Grand Ole Opry, where they received a standing ovation on their debut.

The banjo/fiddle/ guitar/bass and vocal formula won them even more friends. They toured nationwide with Merle Haggard and Marty Stuart and followed that with tours alongside Dolly Parton, the Del McCoury Band and then Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

The chemistry between the latter two and the OCMS was obviously heaven-made because Rawlings produced the eponymous debut CD for the Network America label.

Old mountain tunes appear with a bluegrass rendition of Bob Dylan's Wagon Wheel and the traditional Gospel Plow which, incidentally, Dylan used on his debut recording some 42 years ago.

They are likely to have a similar impact to that of the Hot Club of Cowtown with their high energy recipe of traditional and original songs.

The band appear on Later with Jools Holland tonight, but you can see them in the flesh at Byker's Cluny on Sunday. Call (0191) 232 1232 for ticket information.

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Los Angeles-based Americana/roots-rockers Stewboss are at the Buddle on Wednesday.

The trio have a standard bass/drums/guitar line-up but singer Gregg Sarfaty, originally from New Jersey, is undoubtedly the band's inspiration.

He writes the songs and plays guitars/dulcimer/ dobro/mandolin and harmonica.

The rhythm section comprises Jano Janosik on drums and Luke Storey on bass and the band's sound has been compared to that of Counting Crows, Steve Earle and Uncle Tupelo.

After high praise for their first two albums, the band are promoting a new release, The Places We Meet. Ticket information from the Buddle box office on (0191) 200 7132.

That same night at the Corner House in Heaton, the New York guitarist Doug Raney - son of the famed Jimmy Raney presents a tribute to jazz legend trumpeter/

Singer Chet Baker.

Baker, the epitome of cool-jazz, still gets headlines now, some 16 years after his mysterious death below a second floor window in Amsterdam.

Doug Raney was initially influenced by rock players like Beck, Hendrix and Clapton before he began listening to jazz. He has recorded with numerous jazz luminaries, including Dexter Gordon and Louis Stewart and he will have trumpeter Damon Brown and a bass player with him this time.

Tickets are available from J.G.Windows in Newcastle or direct from the venue, on (0191) 265 9602.

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