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7

FRIDAY

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After co-producing Lucinda Williams’ 2001 album, Essence, and playing in Bob Dylan’s road band from 1999 to 2002 and on Dylan’s 2001 Love and Theft, you’d think Charlie Sexton would want to call in a few favors for his first solo album since 1995. But if anything, the watchword for Cruel and Gentle Things seems to be “independence”: Except for a pair of co-songwriting credits (including one with Steve Earle), these are all Sexton’s songs. And though he’s backed by other musicians, Sexton himself plays multiple instruments—ranging from pump organ to cello to 12-string Rickenbacker—on most of the disc’s 10 tracks. So here’s hoping that his current concert tour features either (a) a solid backing band, perhaps culled from those who fill in nicely on Cruel and Gentle Things, or (b) some Ringling Bros.–worthy acrobatics on Sexton’s part—given that he plays drums, guitar, bass, and piano on the fifth cut alone. Sexton plays at 9 p.m. at the State Theatre, 220 North Washington St., Falls Church. $20. (703) 237-0300. (Joe Dempsey)