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RED LETTER YEAR: Ani DiFranco keeps pursuing her own path, including a stop at the Mountain Winery.

Ani DiFranco

By Steve Palopoli

WHATEVER YOU think about one Ani DiFranco album or another (she has 18 at this point), it's crystal clear that she does nothing but what she wants to do and writes nothing but what she feels at any given time. Some fans might pine for the stark sound of 1995's Not a Pretty Girl, others may prefer last year's sophisticated Red Letter Year, but Ani's not the kind of prefab act that disappears or even falters on the success or failure of any given album. She's that rarest of phenomena: a cult hero with a pop-star-size following. Her punk spirit is as essential to her music as the familiar sound of her taped fingernails against the guitar strings, but her humor and her humanity make it accessible to an ever-wider audience. I'm sure that when she originally decided to put out her own music on the now-iconic Righteous Babe Records, she had plenty of well-meaning friends and mentors who advised against it; I'm equally sure that she couldn't have done it any other way. (SP)

ANI DIFRANCO plays Wednesday (July 1) at 7:30pm at the Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga. Tickets are $37.50/$42.50. (408.741.2822)


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