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John Hammond 

When: Sun., April 24, 8 & 10 p.m. 2011
Price: $24
While it's easy to write John Hammond off as some white guy who's been dusting off relics from a seemingly antiquated genre of music ever since his 1962 debut, Hammond has done a nice job of staying relevant. Despite almost exclusively spending his career covering other people's songs, the 60-something icon has been putting pen to paper in the past decade, and even taken some interesting creative detours. As if 2001's Wicked Grin, an album of all-Tom Waits songs produced by Waits himself, didn't get blues purists peeved enough, Hammond tapped folk-rapper G. Love (aka Garrett Dutton) to produce 2007's Push Comes to Shove. And while originals and songs by Waits, Junior Wells and Dion made for an eclectic enough mix, the greatest blues subversion came via a radically reworked version of Sonny Thompson's "Tore Down," which featured Hammond's distinctive growl and bleating harp, alongside the slightest hip-hop beat and rapping by Dutton. The return-to-form 2009 follow-up, Rough & Tough, featured the itinerant bluesman playing a solo set rounded out by covers of Muddy Waters and Little Walter. Expect Hammond to serve up more of the same while donning the mantle of coffee-house troubadour on Sunday, April 24 at Biscuits and Blues (401 Mason St., San Francisco) 8 & 10 p.m. $24.
— Dave Gil de Rubio


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