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From the outstanding opening track, "All the Way Up to Heaven," through "It's Your Choice," the new 10-song album by Girls Guns and Glory is arguably the band's finest work - and, yes, that's saying a helluva lot.
Songwriter/frontman Ward Hayden just seems to get wiser, more musically inspired and more lyrically capable of creating instantly lovable Americana songs. Yes, the listener can hear antecedents from Ricky Nelson and Dwight Yoakam through Wilco and the Jayhawks, but Hayden definitely has his own vision and experiences to draw upon - and he and his very capable band make the most of it.
They're also a gleeful and infectious live band, so their performance Saturday as part of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabin Fever Music Series is a decidedly good weekend option.
Our own Hoolios provide perfect support, and don't be surprised if they test a few of leader Jim Carpenter's new songs.
- RICK KOSTER
Girls Guns and Glory, 7 p.m. Saturday, Rose Barn Theater, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford; Cabin Fever Music Series; $10; (860) 443-5378, theoneill.org, girlsgunsandglory.com.