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Mason Jennings

Mason Jennings has more than a few things going for him. With a name that sounds like Americana distilled, the dude was born in Honolulu (thus affirming his surf-folk affinity with Jack Johnson and his Brushfire Records cred), grew up in Pittsburgh (thus cementing his rust-belt everyman-dom), and dropped out of school at 16 to make a go of it in Minneapolis (thus legitimizing his starving troubadour, guy-with-a-guitar bohemianism).

With the help of his gold-plated voice and some damn catchy tunes, Jennings’ rise has been steep and sweet. Ten albums and three EPs into his career, he’s recorded for Isaac Brock, written a song for a U.S. senator, and sang the part of Bob Dylan in Christian Bale’s section of I’m Not There. This year’s Blood of the Man was a loud turn into electric terrain for Jennings, and most critics have considered this a good thing.

Mason Jennings plays Revolution Hall (425 River St., Troy) with fellow Minnesotan Anni Rossi on Sunday (Oct. 11). Doors open at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $15. Call 274-0553 for more info.

Steps Off the Beaten Path

Rome. It has been called the Eternal City, with a rich history spanning more than 2,500 years. While images of the city’s ancient legacy are iconic, Rome’s transition from historic empire to modern city was a more discreet turn.

Enter the latest exhibition at the Clark Art Institute, Steps Off the Beaten Path: Nineteenth Century Photographs of Rome and its Environs. One hundred photographs, taken between 1850 and 1880 and organized geographically, invite viewers on a “walking tour” of a Rome on the cusp of industrialization.

The collection, first displayed at the American Academy in New York, and Rome, includes work by lesser-known and highly significant European photographers. It reveals a renaissance, not only for Rome, but for photography itself.

Steps Off the Beaten Path: Nineteenth Century Photographs of Rome and its Environs opens on Sunday (Oct. 11) at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (225 South St., Williamstown, Mass.), with a discussion with the curators at 3 PM. The exhibition will be on view until Jan. 3, 2010. For more info, call (413) 458-2303.

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