The most vital acoustic music being today acknowledges its predecessors and lives in the here and now. For four years now, The Duhks, the band of five skilled, high-energy, tattooed twenty-somethings from Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been riveting audiences and winning staunch fans across North America and around the world with just that kind of music.

Since the release of their self-titled, Bela Fleck-produced album in 2005, as well as the consequent re-release of their Canadian debut, Your Daughters and Your Sons, they've won admirers as diverse as David Crosby, Dolly Parton, and Doc Watson. This is not surprising, given their Duhks-alone blend of soul, gospel, North American folk, Brazilian samba, old time country string band, zydeco, and Irish dance music, and the attack they bring to these interwoven acoustic styles which might as well be called sheer rock and roll. Their unique sound has also earned them a Juno Award, two Folk Alliance awards, and an Americana Music Association nomination for Best Emerging Artists.

On the eve of their second major North American release- Migrations - the international acceptance and excitement generated by this band is still fresh enough to be something of a heady surprise for its young members. As Duhks founder Leonard Podolak puts it, It still blows my mind that yeah, we made a record, and now 40,000 people have it., and many have seen that first video (The Mists of Down Below which went to 1 at Bravo Canada), and so a lot of times now well go to a gig in a town where we've never been before, never played a festival, but they know what we do and they're pumped! Fans have recognized them walking in Times Square, and cheered them taking the stage at the huge Woodford Folk Festival near Brisbane, Australia.

And so the title of their new, sophomore Sugar Hill release, Migrations, seems to speak for itself. The Canadian prairie band has toured relentlessly, played rock halls and festivals, made Nashville virtually their second home. The title also marks just how far The Duhks (pronounced like the answer to the question, "Which ones up there are Daffy and Donald?") have traveled as a unit.

Today, all five Duhks, Leonard, lead singer Jessee, fiddler-vocalist Tania Elizabeth, percussionist Scott Senor Senior, and guitarist-luthier Jordan McConnell speak easily of how they've grown together as musicians, how second nature making the new CD proved. This despite the inevitable second-outing situation- which found the band woodshedding in Winnipeg on few and far between breaks from touring rather than developing the new songs after long months on the road, as was the case with their earlier recordings.

Produced in Nashville by bluegrass and folk veteran Tim OBrien and co-produced, as was their last disc, by Grammy award winning engineer and producer Gary Paczosa, the discs eleven tracks flowed into place with new-found ease, strong evidence of this bands growing sense of what a Duhks song sounds like. The band members are quick to agree that this album is both the strongest representation of their regularly electrifying live act yetand a record thats also more direct and tooled to home in on the songs meanings and emotional core.

The songs on Migrations reflect The Duhks growing experience, group maturity, and sense of self. That growth is reflected in the upbeat, anthemic first single, Out of the Rain, a product of Jessees intuitive simplicity and rhythm, and in the surprising gospel song Moses, Dont Get Lost, which, in its last of several twists, finds the Duhks working quintet vocal harmonies out of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Georgia sea Island traditions. Fiery instrumentals reflect the same knack for artfully embellished simplicity, and the bands unflinching unity.

The bands growing confidence is reflected, too, in an unmistakable social, even political note to a handful of the new numbers, numbers reflecting shared band values now finding their way onto disc more expresslyin Tracy Chapmans Mountains O Things, about needing to have too much, the rousing vaudeville blues album opener Ol Cook Pot, which laughs through the travails of having too little, and their friend Dan Frechettes Who Will take My Place, a nuanced look at revolutionaries, hopes and disappointments, through the story of Irish patriot Michael Collins.

Whether it was Tania exploring Scotts Latin collection and fascination with Brazilian and Cuban music while practicing classical violin licks, Jessee soaking up the live soul wallop of the legendary Betty LaVette the night before a recording session, or Jordan stretching to extend the reach of his bass-line defining guitar runs, the Duhks keep exploring new territory, searchingand sharing the results.

Everyone in this band has learned from each other-- in every combination, Leonard submits.

And you can hear all that on this new acoustic CD that is, pardon the expression, electrifying.

$15

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The Duhks reunite! Featuring members Jessee Havey, Scott Senior, Tania Elizabeth, Jordan McConnell, and founder Leonard Podolak, "Canada's premier neo-tradsters romp from world-beat to blues, urban-pop to old-timey, with wild-eyed invention, haunting traditionalism, and spine-rattling groove." (Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe) GRAMMY nominees and JUNO award winners, seeing The Duhks live is nothing short of a spiritual experience. A syncopated bluesy banjo number seamlessly follows a Brazilian samba; an old-time jaunt nestles comfortably next to a gospel performance by vocalist Jessee Havey - her soulful voice piercing like the heart tattoo on her chest. One of the most musically adventurous bands to come from the roots scene in the past decade, The Duhks return to the stage is definitely a cause for celebration.

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Manchester 65

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The Duhks @ Manchester 65, West Warwick RI

Sunday, July 28 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Manchester 65