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  • Photos: Dave Alvin & Lori McKenna

    After two months of not shooting concerts — the Stonewall 50 event was a proud exception — I had the opportunity to take photos of two of my favorite artists playing on back-to-back nights this week. The first was Dave Alvin in an acoustic show at The Birchmere on Tuesday with Greg Leisz and Christy McWilson in support of the 25th anniversary of "King of California."

    The second anniversary show was a performance by Lori McKenna, who kicked off her “Return to Bittertown” tour on Wednesday at City Winery to mark the 15th anniversary of the album “that changed everything.” The tour was accompanied by the vinyl release of two re-recorded “Bittertown” songs — “Bible Song” and “Stealing Kisses.”

    “Bittertown” was the album that helped break McKenna, a mother of five who lives with her childhood sweetheart in Stoughton, Mass. Since its release in 2004, she has become one of the most in-demand songwriters in Nashville, co-writing or writing hits for Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Carrie Underwood, and Alison Krauss. In 2016, she became the first woman to win the Country Music Association’s “Song of the Year” award two years in a row for “Girl Crush” and “Humble and Kind,” both of which won Grammys as Best Country Song.

    For more photos and an essay on the two shows, go to my music blog: