Lang, Hull don't fret change

The acoustic-guitar maestros each pick different paths at CD parties this weekend.

You might think a bunch of middle-aged-and-up guys who like to work alone without amplification would be a boring lot. However, the Twin Cities' many acoustic-guitar maestros are a surprisingly difficult group to pin down.

Case in point: Peter Lang and Dakota Dave Hull -- two of our best-known local guitar heroes -- are both reinventing themselves with CD-release parties this weekend.

Lang, who reemerged from a two-decade hiatus a half-decade ago, says he's starting yet another chapter of his life following tonight's show at the Cedar Cultural Center. From here on out, he plans to perform mostly as a rootsy blues artist.

"This recording is sort of a closing-of-the-book," Lang said of "Live at the Charlotte's Web," a two-CD, one-DVD collection.

Culled from an archive of recordings at one of Lang's favorite venues in Rockford, Ill., it features many of his best-known original compositions, including several from his folky albums on John Fahey's Takoma label. Lang claims he won't perform many of those old numbers after tonight, at least not in bulk.

"Early in my career, I sort of molded myself to what Fahey wanted, and what we could sell at the time," Lang said. "But that's not really where my roots are."

Instead, Lang grew up listening to way-old blues greats like Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Sleepy John Estes and -- one of his personal faves -- Sylvester Weaver. He avoided playing that style of music, he said, "because I didn't want to be a pretender to the throne." But with some of the genre's great modern purveyors passing away in recent years, including Dave Ray, Dave Van Ronk and Fahey (all Lang's friends), he realized that "no one else is left."

"All my heroes, for the most part, are dead," he said. "It's high time I carry on their tradition."

As for Hull, he isn't changing styles so much as roles on his new album, "Time Machine," which he's promoting Saturday at Patrick's Cabaret. A collection of old-timey waltzes, rags and Americana songs, it's Hull's first recording as more of a rhythm guitarist and bandleader than as a dazzling finger-picker.

"It's a big part of my musical life," Hull writes in the liner notes about collaborating. His cohorts here include Laura MacKenzie (fife), Kari Larson (resophonic guitar), Adam Hurt (banjo) and Mikkel Beckman (washboard). You get a little fancy guitarwork here and there, but mostly the CD sounds like a group effort -- and a fine one at that.

Do-good hip-hop

The idea of a hip-hop show for children might send a shiver up the stiff backsides of rap-haters (like a certain morning radio crew), but the folks at Walker Art Center were smart enough to put one together. Dubbed Hip-Hop Hooray!, the event happens Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum and features workshops and interactive activities on everything from dancing to DJ-ing. Among the participants are Truth Maze, Desdamona and a father-son duo known as Jake + P.O.S. Don't you love that Dad gets second-billing there?

P.O.S. and all-star group the Chosen Few -- with members of the C.O.R.E., Guardians of Balance and Illuminous 3 -- perform tonight at the Turf Club as a fundraiser for Yo! the Movement, the nonprofit group behind the Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop (10 p.m., $10).


Tonight two shows at 7th Street Entry aren't the only thing that's on Dillinger Four's plate right now. "We have a lot of stuff written and are gonna take the next few months to finish an album," guitarist Erik Funk promised. Finally! D4's last album was 2002's "Situationist Comedy." Funk sounded excited about recording after the quartet recently played festivals in Florida and Chicago. Bassist Paddy Costello spent much of the year on the road with Chicago band the Arrivals.

Knapp time?

On its way into town for last week's First Ave gig, the Ike Reilly Assassination stopped off to play a show a night earlier at the Bar Chord in Knapp, Wis. (near Menomonie). The Bar Chord's entire calendar looks suspiciously like a Turf Club flier from a half-decade ago, which is no surprise considering that former Turf booker Rob Rule and his wife, Leah, are running the place. Superhopper is there Friday, Grant Hart plays Saturday and even Slim Dunlap is heading over there next weekend. More info at

Random mix

Tapes N' Tapes are promising to play a lot of the new tracks that they've been working hard on at tonight's gig at the Triple Rock, their first show in several months. It's a promo event for Pabst Blue Ribbon, with free tickets (read: get there early). ...

Look for a New Year's Eve gig by Brother Ali at 7th Street Entry to be announced soon. ... Just back from a tour out West, Mel Gibson & the Pants are back in action with a month of Thursday gigs for the Nomad's free Minneseries. ...

This month's Filter magazine (David Byrne on the cover) has a six-page "tribute" spread on Hüsker Dü, featuring new comments but the same old bitter tone from the band members. ...

After shutting down his most popular fan sites with legal threats, Prince can't keep fans from slamming him online. His weirdly high-pitched new single "F.U.N.K." was issued last week on iTunes, and it's getting panned virtually across the board. One listener among the many one-star reviews wrote, "Sounds like Prince meets the Chipmunks."

The guy doesn't have enough lawyers on his payroll to shut down iTunes, too, does he? • 612-673-4658

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