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Consider it a road trip for the soul. Many people have found religion, figuratively speaking, at music clubs, so there's a certain reverse symmetry to the fact that the Nash County Cultural Center is a converted Baptist church. Some great evenings of music have taken place at this Nashville, N.C., venue--located about one hour northeast of Raleigh--with Buddy and Julie Miller, Richard Buckner, Rodney Crowell, and Peter Case among the roots- and country-leaning performers who have preached to the choir. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, the center will host veteran folk-rocker (a term he whole-heartedly endorses) Steve Forbert (pictured above). Almost 25 years after the release of his captivating debut Alive On Arrival, Forbert still tours and records with a passion, wrapping his sandpapered pipes around his own heartfelt creations and any number of choice covers, blending folk, pop, primal rock, and country soul in the process. His latest release is an album full of songs popularized by a fellow son of Meridian, Miss.: America's Blue Yodeler, Jimmie Rodgers. Joining Forbert are Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart. Ms. Earle's surname may be what first snags the attention of a lot of folks, but her disarmingly plain-spoken songs and delivery, not to mention the ace guitar work of husband and glued-at-the-hip accompanist Stuart, are more than enough to keep it. For ticket information and directions, call (252) 459-4734 or send an e-mail to ncac@nashvillenc.com. --Rick Cornell

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