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John Butler Trio 

April Uprising (ATO/Jarrah)

One of the most popular bands in Australia is ready for its close-up in North America, on Dave Matthews’ ATO label. Across 15 songs, Butler gives a clinic on how many different things you can do with a guitar, lap steel or mandolin. The bassist and drummer are new to Butler, but manage to keep up. A rat-a-tat intensity contrasts with the more spacious compositions, like a lizard scampering across the Outback. A clip of an indigenous homeless activist launches “Johnny’s Gone,” about a man on the lam from the law for sins he can’t recall. It’s no-nonsense, dust-raising, nutritious rock.
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Vol 27, No 26
November 21, 2019

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