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Finest Worksong

Jon Hardy and the Public finds beauty in love's vagaries.

In a sense, Working in Love can be thought of first and foremost as a soul record, the kind that goes above the markings of the genre. While certain genre signifiers are present (particularly the crack horn section that appears on many of the tracks), it's Hardy's willingness to lay his devotions and doubts on the line that offers a purer example of soul, rather than a by-the-numbers facsimile.

"I tend to think that I'm not really a musician," Hardy demurs. "When I was writing a lot of the songs, I was spending time in Memphis and Detroit, just hearing a lot of those old soul records, and they always seemed to be pretty straightforward to me." The influence seeped in and took root in these songs: a Wurlitzer electric piano guides a plaintive "I Work for Everyone," and raw, six-string energy collides with saxophones and trumpets in the foot-stomping, hand-clapping "Love Don't Work Like That."

Now that the songs are recorded and released, do they still retain their personal attachments? "That's another one of those questions that I don't know the answers to yet," Hardy says. "When we're playing them, it's hard to know exactly what's going on in your head and your heart. So afterwards you try to think of that — what do these songs mean to me right now, and what do these songs mean to Suzanne right now? That one hasn't been figured out yet."

9 p.m. Saturday, January 19. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. 314-773-3363.Jon Hardy and the Public: Working in Love, live.

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