EARLY WORD: A Man Called Benjy


If there’s a middle ground somewhere between the arty scuzz of the White Stripes and the sunny, off-center pop of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” D.C.-based artist Benjy Ferree has planted a flag in it and claimed it for himself. Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee, Ferree’s second and most recent album, hops adeptly from style to style while keeping Ferree’s agile wail at the center and the guitar fuzz around the edges. Just when I thought the music would slip into some faux-soul a la Gavin DeGraw, it turns toward the dreamy, overstuffed style of Andrew Bird, with plenty of idiosyncratic touches — droning strings, keening choruses, a child reading cryptic poetry — spinning the tunes away from traditional singer/songwriter pop. Apparently, Bobby Dee‘s a concept album, and although that doesn’t really come across, it’s still a diverting, deep-grained listen from top to bottom. Here’s hoping tomorrow night’s show at the M Room retains both the warmth and the weirdness. $10, with Tim Fite and Deleon, 9 pm, 21+ — DAVE ALLEN

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