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13

friday

To some Saltville, Va., residents, Hobart Smith was just one of the many instrument-strumming members of his family who, in the first half of the 20th century, made a joyful racket on a porch or in some local Pentecostal church. However, to folk music aficionados and musicians such as Bill Monroe, Smith was an icon—a masterful player, an encyclopedia of old-timey and blues sounds, and a good buckdancer to boot. Years later, a Chicago banjo teacher who had recorded hours of Smith’s picking and singing played those tapes for his student, Stephen Wade. In 2005, Wade—who had been at the Arena Stage throughout the ’80s with his show Banjo Dancing—produced a compilation of those recordings. Wade’s latest endeavor is a theatrical tribute to Smith that shares the CD’s title, In Sacred Trust. Wade’s fond of dramatic Americana themes, so expect this slide-illustrated program of speedy twanging and narration to show that this Appalachian artist was more than just a moonshine-drinking curiosity. Wade performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $35. (703) 549-7500. (Steve Kiviat)