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From her work with the legendary Steeleye Span, vocalist Maddy Prior has come to personify English folk and folk-rock in the minds of many. Her majestic soprano, with its clear, sharp tones, is a truly distinctive instrument. Last fall Prior finally left Steeleye Span to develop a solo career that had previously been a side project. Anyone familiar with Prior’s previous work will find few surprises on her new release Flesh & Blood (Park); it simply presents a clearer picture of Prior’s own artistic vision. Most of the songs reflect her concern with the interactions between family, personality, and society. The melodies retain that special English dignity, and Prior’s voice is well set off by arrangements that are sparser than the full electric blast produced by Steeleye Span. Opening for Prior tonight is Kathryn Tickell, a wizard on fiddle and Northumbrian pipes, who brings a jazzy exuberance to her interpretations of traditional folk tunes. At 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $17.50. (703) 549-7500. (Ken Roseman)