O Glorious Democracy! Roughly five percent of voters -- enough to swing a presidential election -- haven't the foggiest clue whom they're going to vote for until they step into the booth and tap that screen. And even then, these fence-sitters can be pushed in either direction by random factors like bad thunderstorms, traffic conditions, and whether or not they took their meds. Still, progressives tend to agree that more is merrier when it comes to voter turnout. To that end, indie folk-rock songstress Ani DiFranco is taking her Vote Dammit! tour through the major swing states this fall, with a pit stop at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre. DiFranco and a bevy of activist organizations, including the Feminist Majority Foundation, plan to set up camp and register 100 percent of fans before and after the concert.
DiFranco is also touring to promote her new CD, Educated Guess, a work as individual in style and substance as her previous 20 albums, all of which were released on her independent label, Righteous Babe Records. She's one of the most resolutely independent of all the indies, and on this album she's taken the concept a step further by writing, singing, mixing, and recording the album by herself on vintage reel-to-reel equipment. It takes her style back to its coffeehouse roots. Ani's edgy vibrato and stubborn refusal to write anything resembling a tune can take some getting used to, but this new album is as mature and complex as expensive wine. DiFranco's take on love, loss, and the spoiled but still lovely American Dream -- as well as her articulate anger at the powers that be -- are enough to inspire most of us to get to the polls November 2. -- Gail Shepherd Ani DiFranco plays the Pompano Beach Amphi-theatre (1801 NE 6th St., Pompano Beach) Friday, September 17. Tickets cost $36; call 954-523-3309 or visit www.ticketmaster.com