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Jonny Fritz at the Hi-Tone

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As Jonny Corndog, this alt-country singer-songwriter puts across a jokey update of Bakersfield and/or trucker country on 2011's Down on the Bikini Line. Now recording under the more normal Jonny Fritz name for the new Dad Country, he makes further inroads into being what Robbie Fulks once was: an indie ace at balancing cartoon country with the real thing — knowing full well that the real thing is often cartoonish and the better for it. Fritz doesn't quite have the voice to totally seal the deal, but he's got the tunes. The life-of-a-musician songs are funny but also observant: the mildly seedy tour diary "Goodbye Summer." The music-biz self-instructional "Suck in Your Gut." ("Get to politickin' so we can finally move it along now/Success ain't never had nothing to do with no song anyhow.") The post-show social world lament "Wrong Crowd." ("The kind of friends that ain't friends at all/They're just people in a crowded bar.") But the plainspoken relationship songs are even more surprising: "All We Do Is Complain" is a simple, sharp, little falling-out-of-love song, while "Trash Day" finds signs of doom in the smallest domestic irritations. ("The Andersons put their trash out Friday night/They never forget and they never fight/And I hate them.") Jonny Fritz plays the Hi-Tone on Thursday, May 9th, with acoustic trio the Devil Makes Three. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $13.

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