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She was on a cell phone, on a turnpike—headed for a break at home in Brooklyn before returning to the road—so my conversation with Toshi Reagon was understandably fragmented. But between crackles, I learned about her preteen and teen years in D.C. (“We lived in Anacostia; then we lived on Kennedy Street a couple of blocks from Carter Barron”), where she heard not only the gospel and protest songs of her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), and her parents’ friends, but also the stuff kids heard on the radio. “I love rock—Led Zeppelin, Kiss. And Parliament, Chaka Khan, Rufus,” she says. “When I was a teenager, I got into blues: Howlin’ Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, Big Bill Broonzy.” Just as Dame Fate started garroting our connection, I got in a question about labeling the music she plays: “I label it ‘good’ first.” She doesn’t think the issue of genre “has anything to do with the music—I think it’s more of a social issue.” Provocative comment, and she was fleshing it out, saying something about making people appreciate differences in music, when I reckon she went through a tunnel. Oh, well. This I’ll guarantee: Go hear the big, lovely music of Reagon and her band, Big Lovely, on tour to promote her impassioned new album, Toshi, and you’ll have no trouble maintaining a connection. Reagon plays at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at IOTA, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $12. (703) 522-8340. (Pamela Murray Winters)