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Folk music has gotten soft. At least, it’s gotten soft by Ani DiFranco’s standards. Back in the early ’90s, the Buffalo, N.Y.–bred singer-songwriter regularly served up her feelings on the raw—be they about reproductive rights, sexuality, or your untouchable effing face. DiFranco had her own label, her own guitar tunings, and she was not afraid to use the word fuck. What say you, Iron and Wine? To be fair, Ani couldn’t carry on that kind of intensity through the ’00s, either. “I’ve got myself a new mantra,” she sang on “Present Infant,” a song from her ’08 album Red Letter Year. “Don’t forget to have a good time.” Her days of crouching in a fetal position in the mud (see the cover of 1996’s Dialate) may be gone forever at this point. But even though DiFranco is kicking out somewhat jammier jams these days, she’s still not afraid to say exactly what’s on her mind.
DIFRANCO PERFORMS WITH ERIN MCKEOWN AT 7 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. (202) 265-0930. $40.