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JANUARY 18

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For most musicians trying in earnest to invigorate lost traditions that they truly love, there are roots and there are “roots.” In worthy hands, neither is more noble than the other, Los Lobos, for example, being a credible purveyor of the former, and Beck of the latter. But it’s refreshing that such distinctions don’t apply to BR5-49, a Nashville-bred bar band that plays honky-tonk without recognizing that Brooks and Dunn, who it shares a label with, or even Gram Parsons, who it covers, ever happened. Hailed as country music’s latest saviors, the members of BR5-49 leave little doubt that the past is in their blood; the band’s self-titled debut starts with the crackles and snaps of worn vinyl and goes on to instruct both mainstream hucksters and trad-country artists that the rarely perfected art of interpretation doesn’t apply only to singing other people’s songs or to making everything old seem new again. Irony is of less use to the band than subtle satire; on the BR5-49 original “Lifetime to Prove,” Chuck Mead croons just as soulfully about his regrets as he does about all the cherished beer that caused his dreams to slip away. Only when Nashville stirs up as big a fuss about something new from Merle Haggard or George Jones will we be sure that anyone was really listening to BR5-49. At 8 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3901 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $12.50. (703) 549-5919. (Brett Anderson)