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The Duhks and Railroad Earth

Today's progressive folk music acknowledges its predecessors while existing in the present. Contemporary acoustic bands the Duhks and Railroad Earth have been blazing trails on the American music scene with that philosophy.

The Duhks and Railroad Earth will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland. The doors open at 7 p.m.

The Duhks latest album, "Migrations" (Sugar Hill Records), was released last year and features the band's signature sound that has moved them to the forefront of the neo-folk movement.

The Los Angeles Weekly called it "youth, originality, chops and soul in one package."

The band was nominated for Best Country Vocals for the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony, alongside The Dixie Chicks.

Since the release of the group's self-titled album in 2005 &

produced by Bela Fleck &

and the re-release of their Canadian debut album, "Your Daughters and Your Sons," it has earned critical praise for its blend of soul, gospel, North American folk, Brazilian samba, country swing, zydeco and Irish dance music.

The group has earned a Juno Award, two Folk Alliance awards and an Americana Music Association nomination for Best Emerging Artists.

The new album's title, "Migrations," seems to speak for itself. The Canadian-based band has toured relentlessly, playing concerts and festivals and has literally made Nashville, Tenn., its second home. The title marks just how far the Duhks have travelled.

The band's members have grown together as musicians. Leonard Podolak (banjo and vocals), Jordan McConnell (guitar, pipes, whistles and vocals), Tania Elizabeth (fiddle and violin), Scott "Se&

241;or" Senior (percussion) developed new songs for "Migrations."

The songs reflect the band's growing sense of self and confidence, making social and political notes during some of the new numbers.

Whether it is Elizabeth and Senior exploring a fascination for Brazilian and Cuban music while practicing violin licks, or McConnell stretching to extend the reach of his bass-line guitar runs, the Duhks keep exploring new territory and sharing the results.

Vocalist Sarah Dugas will be joining the Duhks for its current tour. The band's lead singer Jessica Havey has taken an indefinite leave from the band.

Railroad Earth, the Duhks' opening act, also has carved a path through the American roots music scene.

The group's newest release is a live, a double album titled "Elko," released in early 2006 on the band's new label SCI Fidelity Records.

Railroad Earth features Todd Sheaffer (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Tim Carbone (violin and vocals), John Skehan (mandolin and vocals), Andy Goessling (acoustic guitar, banjo, dobro, flute, whistle, sax and vocals), Carey Harmon (drums, percussion and vocals) and Johnny Grubb (upright bass).

The group got together in the spring of 2001, and after just a few weeks of jamming, the members recorded a live five-track demo, got a manager on board and landed a slot at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

The group returned to the studio one month later and recorded five more live tracks to include on its debut album release in June 2001, "The Black Bear Sessions."

In June 2002, the Railroad Earth landed a record deal with Sugar Hill Records and released its second album, "Bird in a House."

"Bird" received strong sales and reviews throughout the U.S. and Europe for its song writing and instrumentation. Another album, "The Good Life," was released in 2004.

With the successful recordings and dozens of live performances around the country, the band has become an American staple on the touring and festival scene.

Tickets to the show cost $17 in advance; $20 the day of the show. Tickets are available online at mkpmusic.com and ticketswest.com or by phone at 800-992-TIXX. Tickets also are available at the Music Coop in Ashland and at all TicketsWest outlets.