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Rock-a-Bye Baby

"Lullaby-pop" legend leads audiences on a psychedelic trip.

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With a reputation built as an underground powerhouse in New York's experimental-folk scene, Samara Lubelski rocks MOCA tonight. The 40-year-old chanteuse has expanded her résumé by engineering tracks for Ted Leo, playing violin on Thurston Moore's solo album, and jamming with the likes of Jackie-O Motherfucker and the Double Leopards. Lubelski has even put out four albums of her own. "Most of my early background is in improvised stuff," she says. "Everything was very free and very loose."If you think she sounds like a folk songstress plucked from the '60s, you're not far off. Lubelski mixes equal parts hippie and psychedelic, then strings it all together into lullaby-pop tunes. On her latest album, Parallel Suns, she's crafted maple-syrupy lyrics, spreading them over lush arrangements of strings, brass, and synthesizers. And Lubelski's voice is playfully soft on tracks like "Have You Seen the Colors?" and "Spirit of the Age." In concert, with a small band, the songs sound nothing like their recorded counterparts. "It's totally different onstage. It becomes a little free-for-all live. We just do it a little looser," says Lubelski. "It's definitely not a reproduction. I kinda prefer not to try for that at all, but to just let it take over and have a life of its own with the songs holding it in." Catch Lubelski in concert at 8 tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, 8501 Carnegie Avenue. Tickets are $6 (free for museum members). Call 216-421-8671 or visit www.mocacleveland.org.
Sun., March 9, 8 p.m., 2008

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