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Jonathan Richman 

8 p.m. Sunday, October 26. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

When talking about Jonathan Richman, critics and fans find it nearly impossible to refrain from using the word "childlike." The term is rarely ever meant as an insult: After all, many of the songs from Richman's nearly 40-year career are imbued with a sense of wonderment at life's little joys. But his reliance on whimsy doesn't keep the singer-songwriter from tackling more adult concerns: Much of 1996's Surrender to Jonathan dwelled on his divorce, and many of his fan-favorites show the sharp edge of love's keen blade. At Richman's March Off Broadway show, he played mostly songs from his then-unreleased album, Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild, a record that's often somber and reflective but still packed with a reverent awe for everyday mysteries. Richman's songbook is vast and varied, and his live performances are often boundary-breaking celebrations where the singer, his songs and the crowd merge into one.

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