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Since going solo with the release of 2003’s The Reckless Kind, Mark Bragg has released some of the most original, striking music in the country. He’s also garnered a reputation for a wild live show … and you can catch Mark Bragg & the Butchers this Saturday at Distortion.

On his liveliest songs, it sounds like someone stuck dynamite up Tom Waits’s ass and recorded the sound of the explosion. Spunk is the word, and few songwriters understand hook, punch, and craft so well. And then there’s the 2-3 quiet ballads he puts on every album for the sake of ebb and flow, and his tracklisting always demonstrates his considerable range: he’s no one-trick pony, he’s more of a musical wizard. Whether you like him or not, the playlist below showcases one of the most original bodies of work any Canadian songwriter has mustered. I mean, how the hell does one even write a song like “Your Boy’s Home” or “Which Doctor?” Nobody else could have written most of these songs, and that’s more than most of us can say about our music. Amanda might lie, but your ears don’t: when you hear a Mark Bragg song, there’s no mistaking it for anything else. In August’s BEST OF issue, voters called Mark “Best Local Who Rarely or Never Plays Live,” here’s a playlist that hints at why people can’t get enough of the man’s music.

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