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If you have a TV in your home, you’ve probably heard at least one of Alexi Murdoch’s songs. Nissan used the Scottish folk singer’s darkly repetitive acoustic melodies to sell its sleek, youth-oriented models, and the producers of Grey’s Anatomy, Prison Break, and Without a Trace have dialed up his moody tenor to accompany all kinds of literal and figurative heartache. But Murdoch, who just returned from two years of self-imposed exile in the Himalayas, is more than the TV-licensing equivalent of Disney go-to guy Randy Newman, because unlike Newman, the exposure hasn’t killed Murdoch’s soul. He writes at a Salingerian pace, having produced just two albums in the last nine years, and his lyrics, if a little sentimental, at least make sense when you read them on paper: “My hearts been broken/Sometimes, sometimes/My mind is too strong to carry on,” Murdoch sings on “Orange Sky” (one of the standout tracks from—you guessed it—Garden State).
MURDOCH PERFORMS TUESDAY AT 8:30 P.M. AT THE ROCK & ROLL HOTEL, 1353 H ST. NE. $15. (202) 388-7625.