Flower Children

The Black-Eyed Susan blooms in Tucson this week.

The black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), which is among the most common of North American wildflowers, is especially valued in Maryland, where it is the state flower. That makes it an appropriate choice of name for one of the most promising young rock acts from Baltimore.

From the city previously famous for giving the world film director John Waters and the TV show Homicide: Life on the Street comes the band Black-Eyed Susan, a jammy jazz-rock outfit boasting sharp vocal harmonies, to play Sunday night, Jan. 25, in the lounge at Plush.

The Baltimore band is not to be confused with other similarly named musical groups, probably the most prominently being the retro-lounge act Black Eyed Susans, from Melbourne, Australia.

The guys in the Baltimore Black-Eyed Susan play a rich, often melancholic combination of electric- and acoustic-based folk-rock seasoned with elements of jazz, funk, blues and bluegrass--a combination ably displayed on the group's debut CD Rudbeckia.

Black-Eyed Susan has been a working group for about eight years, since the four members were high school students together. Steady progress, balanced with a respect for real-world priorities such as college, has found the fellows in BES named by many regional papers in the Baltimore area as the group most likely to break out on a national scale.

In addition to Black-Eyed Susan's laid-back originals, which often swell in intensity thanks to lengthy improvisations, the group is constantly redefining its sound by playing well-chosen covers by the likes of Warren G. & Nate Dogg, Phish, Janis Joplin, The Doors and Talking Heads.

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