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WORKING GIRL

One album a year for the past 15 years, with the intermittent time stuffed full of concert dates. Just wrapping your head around this kind of work schedule makes you want to take a vacation.

For Ani DiFranco, this seems to be kid's stuff. She's taken the troubadour's path to heart, riding the proverbial rails and bringing her songs to "the people" with a bullheaded consistency that suggests Woody Guthrie, Dave Von Ronk and Pete Seeger rolled into one.

Surprisingly, amid all this constant motion, DiFranco has managed to develop her art, to assimilate new ingredients into the gumbo.

Her latest, "Knuckle Down," produced in conjunction with noir-pop genius Joe Henry and his production team, finds subtle colorations in mood and manipulations of tone being brought to bear on a nerve-deep collection of songs. DiFranco keeps peaking; one wonders where and when she'll hit the glass ceiling.

DiFranco plays at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. Pal and Righteous Babe labelmate Hammel on Trial opens the show. Call Ticketmaster at 852-5000.