- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2002

The Toronto-based Cash Brothers' debut album "How Was Tomorrow?" is filled with rugged, melancholy songs that seem so rooted in the American experience, you want to check their papers. Who would expect Canadians to so perfectly capture the layers of dead-end irony of working in a 7-Eleven ("Night Shift Guru") or to put a Bruce Springsteen CD on "repeat" and drive the night away after losing a love ("Nebraska").
"We listen to the same stuff everyone listens to, give or take," says singer-guitarist Andrew Cash, by way of explanation. "There's always been a real kind of focus on songwriters in Canada, Toronto especially. When I go to Nashville, the local music scene, not the Opry stuff, is very similar to Toronto."
Though they're brothers, Peter, 38, and Andrew Cash, 40 (no relation to the Man in Black), spent most of their lives following separate musical paths. After years of running the Canadian roads to moderate success, in 2000 Peter and Andrew finally stopped long enough to see the obvious.
"We weren't sure it was going to work at first," Andrew says. "But once we got into it, we knew we really had something worthwhile." They took things slowly, each writing and demoing dozens of songs in hopes of blending their musical styles enough that they would end up with a final product that "sounded like one record, not two," Andrew says.
They succeeded. "How Was Tomorrow" is virtually seamless, musically, lyrically, and most especially harmonically. "Something about the way we sing together feels really great, even when we're singing out of tune together," Andrew says.
Onstage, Andrew suggests it's easier to distinguish them: "I like to talk a lot. Peter doesn't really say much, except when he's tried to count in the song four times and I'm still talking. I try to give the audience a sense of who we are as people, especially since a lot of people don't know who we are. Yet."
The Cash Brothers open for the Jayhawks, another alt-indie fave they've earned comparisons to, tonight at the Birchmere.


Local favorites (and frequent Wammie nominee) Cravin' Dogs take a break from recording their seventh full-length album to perform tomorrow night at the Barns of Wolf Trap. The Dogs have gone through many incarnations since their beginnings as a "gonzo-folk" trio playing cover tunes during weekly gigs at the Grog and Tankard. These days the band is thriving as a sextet, led by alpha dog Caldwell Gray (guitar, keys and vocals) with John Penovich (lead guitar and vocals), Barry Warsaw (bass), Todd Baker (electric violin and vocals) and new pups Aura Kanegis (vocals) and Sven Bridstrup (drums).
The Dogs' most recent album, "Roots Rock Paper Scissors" (2000), wins the contest hands down for solid musicianship and well-crafted songs. Standouts include the melodic "Blue" and "Fall Over into Love." Opening for the band is The Emptys, a quintet of roots-pop rockers with strong local ties, whose newest album, "The Emptys," is scheduled for release March 15.

Ike Turner, who turned 70 last November, got in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 for his musical achievements, particularly the seminal 1951 song "Rocket 88." However, after a tell-all book and movie by his ex-wife and protege, Tina Turner, he's mostly known as "the man who beat up Tina." Miss Turner's depiction of her former husband and musical partner as a physically violent, drug-abusing tyrant still haunts Mr. Turner. In 1998, he published his autobiography, "Taking Back My Name" denying Miss Turner's version of events, to considerably less attention.
Finally, he's letting his music do all the talking. Last spring, Mr. Turner released "Here and Now," whose 11 tracks of grinding blues mark his first complete album in over 20 years. Mr. Turner is clearly on a mission whether of redemption, reclamation or both. You can make an informed conclusion when Mr. Turner and his Kings of Rhythm band rock and roll the Birchmere Sunday and Monday nights.

Manager Jeff Robinson told Rolling Stone he knew he had a star in the making the first time he saw Alicia Keys sing at an informal performance in Harlem. It was Miss Keys and her piano that first won over record executives and ultimately seduced more than 4 million people to buy her debut album "Songs in A Minor." Find out why the 20-year-old singer-songwriter snagged six Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist, when she bares her soul at Constitution Hall Wednesday night.

Check out more local music at the Washington Area Music Association Awards (Wammies), which celebrate local musical acts, Sunday night at the State theater. For ticket information and nominees, visit www.wamadc.com.



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