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George Thorogood flexes his musical muscles at the Birchmere

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

George Thorogood really isn't all about drinking songs.

Tune into the radio and chances are good the Thorogood tunes you'll hear are those that revolve around the enjoyment of adult-themed beverages. But as he expressed on his last release, 2120 South Michigan Avenue, his sonic roots are a lot deeper than the radio playlists indicate. Thorogood is looking forward to a possible project that will allow him to showcase more of his lesser-known songs. Until then, he looks forward to flavoring the set lists on his current tour with an array of his original material.

"That's something I'm not really known for," said Thorogood. A recent interviewer "said 'All you do is covers.' That sort of irritated me. People think every song I do has one chord and every song is about drinking. That comes from classic rock radio that plays 'I Drink Alone, 'and 'One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,' and that's what 90 percent of listeners have been exposed to [from my catalog.]"

That's not to say that Thorogood ignores such fan favorites, as some artists do. It's just that fans should expect to be treated to covers and original tunes that stretch well beyond those parameters. Longtime fans of Thorgood and his band, the Destroyers, know that such music has always been in the repertoire. After all, the title track of the 1978 album "Move It On Over," is a remake of the 12-bar blues song written and recorded by Hank Williams. The album also included a cover of the Bo Diddley song "Who Do You Love."

Onstage
George Thorogood and the Destroyers
» When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
» Where: Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
» Info: $45, all standing in the Flex Stage; 202-397-SEAT; ticketmaster.com

Those that know Thorogood, who left a promising baseball career to try his hand at music, likely aren't surprised by his depth of knowledge and affection for such songs.

"I was into everything. Everything," said Thorogood. "I listened to everything I could from Jimi Hendrix to Tiny Tim to Lead Belly to Marty Robbins ,,, That was my school, the college that I had to learn my trade in. I had to figure out how these people did these things."

His latest album pays tribute to the artists of the former label Chess Records and also celebrates the performers who shared stages with Thorogood and the Destroyers and encouraged them when they were just coming up on the East Coast blues scene.

"The people who helped me out were all the guys in Muddy Waters' band, all the guys in Howlin' Wolf's band," he said. "They were wonderful to me, and they wanted to help me. They saw what I was trying to do."

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