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BR5-49 is a Hootie and the Blowfish for the Nashville set, inspiring equal parts admiration and disdain. On the upside, BR5-49 found and polished a dormant musical style—retro honky-tonk—that had long been exiled from the nation’s unadventurous country radio scene. Like bar-band Hootie, BR5-49 started small, doing gigs at Robert’s Western World, a bar and boot emporium in Nashville’s Lower Broad district. The disdain—and during my last visit to Nashville, it was palpable—stems partly from the band’s calculated homespun image, which features dark suits and Col. Sanders ties, and partly from the fact that they’ve actually made it. (A prominent New York Times Magazine story implying that they embodied the future of country music certainly didn’t help.) But to their credit, BR5-49 continues to avoid the pitfalls of modern lite country. True, only half of the band’s current release, Big Backyard Beat Show (Arista Nashville), is pure country, unlike the the band’s ’96 eponymous debut album and its abbreviated Live from Robert’s release that year. Fortunately, though, the exhilarating swing-rockabilly “Out of Habit” and the Mexican-tinged “Goodbye Maria” slip well into the band’s new mix, as do the rockin’ “Seven Nights to Rock” and “18 Wheels and a Crowbar” (a repeat from Live). At 7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday, July 16 & 17, at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $17.50. (703) 549-7500. (Louis Jacobson)