What's up with country

The Baltimore String Felons finished a killer album this summer and went on tour with it, only to have their van broken into and all their shit-including a 100 copies of the CD and a banjo-stolen. They're trying to raise some cash, so they can get some new gear and hire a bounty hunter to track down the truly felonious rapscallion who ganked them. If you dig banjos, dig in a little at baltimorestringfelons.chipin.com/we-got-robbed

Another of Baltimore's best folk(ish) bands, the Dead Whale Ramblers, have finished recording their new album and are trying to raise money to master it at indiegogo.com/deadwhaleramblers. Violinist Allison Guitard promises a big evolution from their last excellent effort. Check 'em out.

Dale Watson, the honky-tonk legend from Austin with a Johnny Cash voice and some mean truckin' tunes, will be bringing his pompadour "Down down down down down," as one of his songs puts it, to the Creative Alliance on Sept. 13.

Ronnie Wayne and the Tidewater Band are playing the best country stage in town at Pop's Tavern in Dundalk on Sept. 14 and 15. Holler and swoller!

Savannah Valentino, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice and a nose ring, recently signed with the half-local 31 Tigers label and has secured songwriting legend Eric Taylor to produce the album down in Austin. Taylor used to be married to Nanci Griffith, and that might give you a good sense of how this youngster sounds. She'll be playing on the CityLit Stage at the Baltimore Book Festival on Sept. 28.

On Sept. 29 some of our best folksters-including Caleb Stine, Arty Hill, the Honey Dew Drops, Sam Nitzberg, Matt Douglas, and a whole bunch more-pay tribute to the great Woody Guthrie at the Creative Alliance.

And the first Baltimore Folk Festival is currently in the works for Oct. 26 in Station North. Hang tight for more details.

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