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Country road

The country-rock musicians of the Old 97's have traveled a long road. This Thursday, that road will smoothly lead them to Thursday at the Square. In earlier days, that road proved a little more bumpy.

Originally formed from folk and British pop influences in 1993, it was only later that the musicians evolved into the Southern style they have become known for. Yet it wasn't just their sound that was transformed; over the course of the last 14 years, the band also saw a change in record labels. After releasing its debut album, "Hitchhike to Rhome," and a follow-up CD on the indie label Big Iron, the Old 97's eventually signed with Elektra Records. Perhaps quite coincidentally, the band released its Elektra debut, "Too Far to Care," in 1997, which truly helped to introduce the group's name to the masses.

Since the formation of the Old 97's, band members have broken off and released solo albums, enjoying playing smaller shows as individuals. Yet their music remains alive, and was recently featured in the 2006 flick "The Break-Up."

As always, Thursday at the Square happens in Lafayette Square and is free and open to the public. Opening acts take the stage at 5:30 p.m.; Yonder Mountain String Band is set to kick off next week's show.

-- Molly Hirschbeck

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