David Baerwald and Abra Moore

Thursday, June 20; Blueberry Hill's Duck Room

It's been almost a decade since we've had a new album from David Baerwald, late of the duo David + David (whose 1986 album, Boomtown, is a cynical classic) and auteur of solo albums Bedtime Stories (1990) and Triage (1993), which added slightly unhealthy doses of paranoia and outrage to the mix. Baerwald's adventures since then found him as one of the primary contributors to Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club (the experience left him pissed-off and bitter, natch) and as the creator of the Golden Globe-nominated love song "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge! "I was strictly a gun for hire," Baerwald told Billboard magazine a few months back.

So who says you have to be happy to create worthwhile art? Not Baerwald, certainly, whose forthcoming Here Comes the New Folk Underground is actually rather upbeat, despite songs chronicling such things as the deaths of several loved ones and the crash of Baerwald's single-engine airplane (he was unharmed). Given that, when you hear him sing a song like the sunny "Nothing's Gonna Bring Me Down," you've gotta believe that Baerwald had a serious attitude adjustment somewhere along the line. Of course the album also has a song titled "If (A Boy Whore in a Man's Jail)," so the jury may still be out on this guy.