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"When the people come out to see us, we try to make it a transcendent experience for 'em," says rubber-legged dance demon Joe Bell of his band the Stinging Blades. "We're there to find some release, and to try to provide some release for the people too. It's a group effort--not just a band effort, but the people's effort."

To help you get outside yourself, Bell and company unleash a passel of soul material that includes royalty like Otis Redding, James Brown and Wilson Pickett. But Bell and the Blades are no nostalgia cover band--the tunes are rearranged and whipped into a screaming frenzy by the leather-lunged Bell. He mixes original material in with the covers, which aren't the ones you've heard ad nauseum on oldies radio. Van Morrison's "It Fills You Up" might be slipped in with Mighty Joe Young's "Turning Point" followed by Alvin Robinson's "Down Home Girl" and topped off with a gritty gem from the James Carr songbook. "If they come out to see the Blades, come to have a good time. We got plenty of feelin' in what we do." Feel Joe Bell and the Stinging Blades Saturday, April 5, at The Cave in Chapel Hill, 10 p.m.

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Someone once told Jamie Masefield he really didn't play jazz. Somebody else said he really didn't play bluegrass. Really, it doesn't matter, because what mandolin-trickster Jamie Masefield and his Jazz Mandolin Project do is simply magic. Bold, psychedelic and studied, the Jazz Mandolin Project--a traditional mandolin trio playing in entirely untraditional ways--is a sonic breakthrough. Touring in support of their latest and most expansive record to date, Jungle Tango, the trio returns to Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre Thursday, April 3. Just imagine John Coltrane and Paul Chambers growing up as neighbors half a century later in the mountains of Vermont with a handful of David Grisman and Neil Young records and a copy of Heavy Weather. Pretty interesting, huh? Call 821-4111 for tickets.

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