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Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby at the Hi-Tone Café

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One of semi-pop's most unexpected recent pairings will make their third Memphis appearance this week. Brit Wreckless Eric was a lesser-known member of the late-'70s Stiff Records scene that launched the careers of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe and is most associated with his enduring single "The Whole Wide World." Yank Amy Rigby was an indie-rock wife in the '80s (married to dB's drummer Will Rigby), who launched a brilliant but under-recognized solo career in the '90s. In the past decade they found each other, becoming musical and life partners. Eric and Rigby are cult artists, and I'm not sure how much their cults intersected before they brought them together, but I'm an enthusiastic Rigby partisan. She specializes in smart, funny, concrete folk-rock songs about domesticity, under-employment, parenthood, romance, sex, and other everyday concerns, put across with a charmingly fizzy voice and bull's-eye phrasing. Her five solo albums between 1996's Diary of a Mod Housewife and 2005's Little Fugitive comprise a body of work that boasts more ace new songs in that sturdy musical vein than perhaps any other songwriter in that period. Think of her as a cross between Todd Snider and Rosanne Cash. Together, Eric and Amy released a strong if too haphazardly recorded duo debut in 2008 and have followed it up with the new Two-Way Family Favorites, a batch of covers ranging from familiar hits to more personal obscurities. Live, Rigby and Wreckless Eric will likely balance selections from their joint discography with respective solo faves. The duo plays the Hi-Tone Café Thursday, June 17th. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $10. — Chris Herrington

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