Freedy Johnston has had a stellar roots-pop sensibility as a musician and a Dust Bowl writer’s eye for detail from the very start. When he had to sell some of his family’s Kansas property to continue his musical dream in the early ’90s, he wrote a song about it and made it the very first line of his next album, Can You Fly: “I sold the dirt to feed the band,” he sings. That’s the sort of lyrical head-slap that has earned Johnston a fiercely loyal fan base over the years. “Bad Reputation” is his radio hit from 1996’s This Perfect World, but listen to Johnston’s version of the great “Wichita Lineman” and you’ll hear him nearly steal the song from Glen Campbell. There are very few composers who earn the title of “songwriter’s songwriter.” Johnston is certainly one of them. The Smithereens’ Pat DiNizio shares the bill at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $20 advance, $23 day of show. — Brian Baker
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