Odetta Hartman stirs up a kind of music that's purposefully retro, at least on the surface. The rootsy instrumentation on the New York singer's latest album, Old Rockhounds Never Die, is meant to evoke old-timey folk and country, but she doesn't employ those sounds as faithful mimicry of the past. Instead, the dusty shadows, softly clucking banjos and detuned violins are used as another layer of enchantment that shrouds her intimate tunes with a veneer of arty strangeness instead of dutiful authenticity. Such tracks as "Sweet Teeth" and "Cowboy Song" are too curiously strange to work as museum pieces. In Hartman's hands, these hints of nostalgia are more like another sound effect, deepening her songs with atmospheric mystery. What ultimately stands out is the way austere but endearing idylls such as "Honey" and the power-pop shimmers of "You You" grab you by the heart.
Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; Fri., March 15, 8:30 p.m.; $14. (213) 389-3856, www.bootlegtheater.org.
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