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Al Stewart is best known for his 1976 hit “Year of the Cat,” but in my obsessive family merely owning the single or even the album wasn’t enough. My mother, 20 when “Year of the Cat” hit, promptly went out and purchased every album Stewart had ever made, from 1967 onward; she’s purchased every album since. Hence his (history-) bookish folk rock is the music I grew up on – before I was two I was toddling up to my parents with his 1980 record 24 Carrots in hand and humming songs.

So that’s why I simply can’t miss seeing Al Stewart tonight at The Birchmere in Alexandria. And I’d humbly suggest that you can’t either – that is, if you like British folk, ’70s singer-songwriters, or the obscure but fascinating historical tidbits he frequently writes about. (Know who Charlotte Corday is? Heard of the mystery of the Mary Celeste? Ever compared the worlds of an early 1920s migrant worker and then-President Warren G. Harding? Al Stewart might be the guy for you.) Besides, he’s got American country-folk singer Jesse Winchester opening for him, which is always a good thing. Tickets are $29.50.