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Dear Rabbit goes for baroque

A 2011 recording from Renace Liam—aka Dear Rabbit—includes trombone, cornet, tuba, clarinet and French horn. Only 10 years ago, you could have described this music project and I would have thought you were talking nonsense about some high school marching band. French horn as music for hanging out at a bar? No way. Just to muddy the waters, the recording also uses instruments usually found in bluegrass—mandolin and banjo. Plus, the gothic, European-street-corner sounds of organ and accordion.

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  • Dear Rabbit

The baroque pop, cabaret, freak folk creature that Liam has composed is whimsical in the best ways imaginable. His dramatic, operatic vocals will appeal to fans of Tom Waits, The Handsome Family and Beirut. Maybe even Iron & Wine, if you have a sense of humor. This is playful music where you lose track of time and drink too much wine. It's the kind of thing you can imagine yourself listening to in a small, smoky Paris apartment in some other time before cellphones.

True, there are more and more bands like this now who cash in on the sound of dark plucking and the oompah of a tuba—if "cash in" just means taking advantage of a trend rather than making money. Still, this is music crafted with love in a heartwarming, rickety way—not like some assembly line. I bet it sounds even better live.

Dear Rabbit plays the VFW Sat., March 1, at 9 PM, along with Ancient Forest, J. Sherri and Jacob Milstein. No cover.

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