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A couple of years ago, when I was tangentially involved in one of Peter Holsapple’s many musical projects, we carried on an e-mail correspondence. When it began, he was headed out on tour with Hootie & the Blowfish; when it faded, as long-distance camaraderie inevitably does, he was resuming a job in the music department of a nationally infamous chain bookstore. Imagine—one of America’s smartest songwriters steering you towards the blank cassettes or the espresso bar. I wonder if he recommends his own albums: “You like rootsy American pop? Hey, you should check out the dBs, the Golden Palominos, or this newer group, the Continental Drifters.” Holsapple’s fellow Drifters are associated with bands that fill his store’s bins. Vicki Peterson is best known for the Bangles; founding member Mark Walton was with the Dream Syndicate. Robert Mach and Russ Broussard come from the Cajun-flavored bands of the Drifters’ Louisiana home. Holsapple’s wife, Susan Cowsill, has the group’s most famous surname; she was part of the family group that inspired the Partridge Family, but don’t hold it against her. Cowsill’s voice epitomizes the Drifters’ sound: technically proficient but emotionally resonant, homey but never hokey, totally hip by standing firmly outside any pretense of hipness. It’s a band full of nice folks who aren’t afraid to swing from Fairport Convention covers to raw-boned rock. And they’re not afraid to work for a living, either, whether it’s at the bookstore or at your local club. The Drifters perform at 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at IOTA, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $12. (703) 522-8340. (Pamela Murray Winters)