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Jeremiah James, Wednesdays, Pengilly's

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I have a friend whose birthday is Dec. 26. It fell on a Wednesday last year, and I went down to Pengilly's to help her celebrate. Not only because it was a Wednesday but also because it was the day after Christmas, I expected the place to be quiet enough to hear tumbleweeds rolling. When I arrived, the joint was rocking and there wasn't a single damn place to sit. I had forgotten that Jeremiah James plays at Pengilly's Wednesday nights and realized I might as well get used to standing.

Jeremiah James draws a crowd on just about any stage he takes to. His unique style pays homage to country roots but has a firm hold in rock. His honest songwriting, coupled with his bourbon-and-cigarette voice, makes listeners feel as though they're hearing a classic Americana song even if it's the first time James has ever played it.

Leading the charge on acoustic guitar, he shares Pengilly's Wednesday night stage with Rob Hill on bass, Dave Manion on pedal steel, Low-Fi's Mike Rundle on drums and Johnny Shoes on electric guitar. The newly nonsmoking Pengilly's, a venue that lets time just pass it by, is the perfect place to hear James lament on the troubles a country boy can find when he gets mixed up with cheap women and even cheaper whiskey. Just wear comfortable shoes.

Wednesdays, 8:45 p.m., FREE. Pengilly's, 513 W. Main St., 208-345-6344.

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