It's been more than a quarter-century since Marshall Crenshaw's stellar, eponymous debut hit the streets and was propelled up the charts by the infectious "Someday, Someway." Well into the new millennium, Crenshaw is still the pure pop master of song craft, issuing taut, melodic nuggets as exhilarating as a stiff breeze off the lake, reasonably reflective when required, but shot full of brisk immediacy, smacking of optimism. Jaggedland (429), released this summer, is one of his strongest collections to date, full of cunningly irresistible hooks (especially "Live and Learn" and "Stormy River"), adept turns of phrase, and sharp bits of pop philosophizing that still ring true ("Eventually"), along with Crenshaw's trademark arch vocals and smart, snaggy guitar work. Crenshaw once played John Lennon in a traveling version of Beatlemania and portrayed Buddy Holly in the film La Bamba. Both are reflected in music that still celebrates those giddy times, cleverly concocted by an eccentric professor of pop conceits. Dan Israel opens. (photo by Todd Chalfant)
Tue., Sept. 22, 7 p.m., 2009
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