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Howie Day

With Missy Higgins. Thursday, July 21, at the House of Blues.

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"I don't even know how to classify what he does," said a Miami of Ohio undergrad at Howie Day's first headlining show in Cleveland in 2002. "It's a little bit emo, a little bit pop, a little bit classic rock at times. He's got a wide variety of influences."

Even then, at 21, Day had already mastered the new political art of triangulation, which doesn't mean covering all the bases to reach home, but defining the boundaries and then hugging the center, pleasing everyone without necessarily getting anywhere. In the past three years, this Boston-based strum merchant has dropped two well-received mood-groove records that have achieved moderate sales while he continues nonstop touring to hold onto his middle-of-the-road college fan base. Anyone looking for transcendent experiences will probably find his meandering strumming and crooning less than satisfying, but he's just the prescription for those in search of musical Prozac.

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