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Salt of the Earth 

8 p.m. Saturday, January 20. The Focal Point (2720 Sutton Avenue, Maplewood).

Bands that expend all of their energy living up (or down) to their name — i.e. Alien Sex Fiend, Genitorturers and Dread Zeppelin — are difficult to trust. But it's safe to trust that a new release from Salt of the Earth will be as reliable, unpretentious and virtuous as the band's name. Since 2003, singer and songwriter Lynne Reiff has been leading this acoustic ensemble through the kind of tuneful, graceful, proto-feminist Americana that goes down easy in coffee houses, even if SOTE is more at home in low-key restaurants and bars like Riddles or the Bottleworks. Their self-released new album, These New Days, stretches out just a bit by demurely flirting with proggy folk-rock via cello, flute and pastoral lyrics. The band's CD release party will offer fans of Joanna Newsom and Gillian Welch a chance to find some kindred spirits.

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