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Published: 2009/01/07
by Mike Greenhaus

Auld Lang Syne Set 3: Michael Kang, Patterson Hood, Vince Herman, The National, Mark Karan, The Fab Faux, The Mars Volta and More

The third installment in our annual retrospective is our most eclectic, featuring contributions from the likes of String Cheese Incident mandolin-wiz Michael Kang, Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood, Leftover Salmin co-founder Vince Herman, RatDog guitarist Mark Karan, National vistionary Matt Berninger, Fab Faux Beatles expert Rich Pagano and even Mars Volta prog-drummer Thomas Pridgen. We find out who weathered the rain to see My Morning Jacket’s Bonnaroo set, who scored a surprise main stage spot at the legendary Newport Folk Fest and who opened his ears to world music and rediscovered the rustic sounds of Americana. What’s more, we find out who loves David Byrne’s new collaboration with Brian Eno, who can’t get enough of Railroad Earth’s Amen Corner and who’s just excited to hear some new Phish.

If that’s not enough, please glance back at Auld Lang Syne Set 1 and Set 2 to hear from Dave Schools, Mike Gordon, My Morning Jacket, Marc Brownstein, Brendan Bayliss, Chris Frantz, Reed Mathis, Grace Potter, Toubab Krewe and a number of other artists we regularly cover on Jambands.com and in the pages of Relix magazine. We’ll be back next week with one encore edition of Auld Lang Syne as well, so be sure to check back for our fourth and final installment.

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MICHAEL KANG (STRING CHEESE INCIDENT, PANJEA, OUR FUTURE NOW)

What will you remember most about 2008?
The year that the White House turned into the Black House baby!

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
As far as bands to watch in 2009, I’d have to say Phish….....

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
My most listened to album in 2008 was Fallou Dieng, Feuk Djouf, and Mala
Rodriguez, Alevosia.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Favorite Live Show….Thievery Corporation, Rothbury 08

Click here for a recent site interview with Michael Kang

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PATTERSON HOOD (DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Obama!!!!

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
I wish I knew. I have an advance copy of The Dexateens next album Singlewide and it’s fantastic. it would be in my top 5 if it were out right now. (Note: I produced their last album but not the next one, but I love the next one much better than the one I was involved in.)

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
I’ve probably played the last Iron & Wine album (_The Shepherd’s Dog_) from last year more than anything all year. It’s still growing on me. I love the vinyl / mp3 combination that allows one to buy the record and download it for free. I fought hard to have our last album configured that way, but lost.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Alejandro Escovedo at the Continental Club in Austin, TX last September during the ACL Fest Weekend. He played for hours with boundless energy and enthusiasm and hot Hispanic girls go go dancing on the side of the stage. Transcendent.

Click here for a review of a recent Drive-By Truckers performance

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VINCE HERMAN (LEFTOVER SALMON, GREAT AMERICAN TAXI)

What will you remember most about 2008?
The thing I remember most is waiting for George to be out of office.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
The bands to watch in 2009 are Great American Taxi and Elephant Revival

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Railroad Earth, Amen Corner.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Favorite live show of 2008 was the Mark Vann foundation show at the Boulder theatre December 6th

Click here for a recent site interview with Vince Herman

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MATT BERNINGER (THE NATIONAL)

What will you remember most about 2008?
When my homestate, Ohio, turned blue on November 4th.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
I’ll be watching The Strokes. I predict a reinvention.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
I’ve had a CD that’s actually been physically stuck in my MacBook for six months. It’s a band Scott and I were in during college called Nancy. We labeled the disc with stickers that must have peeled up causing the jam. This is not thinly disguised self-promotion. It’s really stuck in there. I’ve tried everything.

The album I listened to the most is The Walkmen – You & Me

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Hank Williams Jr. performing at the McCain-Palin victory party on Fox News. That was awesome.

Click here for a recent site interview with Matt Berninger

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JOSH BARON (RELIX MAGAZINE)

What will you remember most about 2008?
While there were plenty musical highlights, my most memorable moments are non-musical: Obama winning, my girlfriend’s mother passing and me proposing later that day (her mother thankfully knew that that was the day a few weeks in advance).

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Tough call as there are so many great ones on the come up. Can I say a few? Everest should have a good year. The Handsome Furs could be poised to take it to the next level.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Something of a three-way tie: Bon Iver (_For Emma, Forever Ago_), Ryan Adams
(_Cardinology_) and, though it’s not yet released, I really have listened to as much as anything else this year: M.Ward (_Hold Time_).

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
While I saw some incredible performances from Ryan Adams and Toumani Diabate, my hat goes off to Tom Waits. I flew south for two shows, Birmingham and Atlanta and both were absolutely stellar. Waits is in a league of his own.

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MARK KARAN (RATDOG)

What will you remember most about 2008?
OBAMA fer sure…

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Wilco

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Stephen Bruton, From the Five

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Playing with RatDog the night after election night in D.C.

Click here for a recent Jambands.com Readers Interview with Mark Karan

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RICH PAGANO (FAB FAUX)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Two Fab Faux memories: the audience frenzy that we experienced while performing at The Jammys when Trey Anastasio came out to join us on guitar for “My Guitar Gently Weeps” and then a few months later, selling out Radio City Music Hall for our 10th Anniversary show.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Rich Pagano and the SugarCane Cups (debut CD)

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Blodwyn Pig – Getting To This

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Levon Helm and band live in Stamford, CT

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ICE CREAM MAN

What will you remember most about 2008?
I had a new ice cream truck to drive around the country, Newt, and that made life a lot easier. I was able to hit up a lot more places and didn’t have to worry about breaking down before going to a festival or children’s hospital. ah…..

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
I think Animal Collective will finally take off. Not just in the minds of the critics but their
new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, should finally catch on with a bigger audience. They’re helping to lay the groundwork for the future of music.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often? I rank my favorite albums of the year by the ones I listened to the most. 2008 was a great year. I wish my iTunes setup was accurate cuz it’d be a lot easier to tell ya but living outta an ice cream truck for six months means I’m listening to a lot of stuff via mp3 players which don’t keep track. I’d have to say I’ve probably listened to Helio Sequence’s new album the most in 2008. Saw them at Crystal Ballroom in Portland during Music Fest Northwest which was one of my favorite shows too. I’m a big fan of the new Of Montreal album too.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
It’s funny because I couldn’t really even see the band but Sigur Ros at Bonnaroo was my favorite show of the year. I forgot I was such a big fan then started wandering over during their first song. I ended up sitting in front of the bass speakers on the other side of the crowd control barrier and didn’t move for a couple hours. 1-3 in the morning, stuff
like that only happens at Bonnaroo.

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J. BAU (HARD HEAD MANAGEMENT)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Hope, Change, and Happiness.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
(TIE)The Avett Brothers & Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Though not my favorite, over the last 8 months, I found myself being drawn
back to Chinese Democracy (first the leak and then the retail) just to see
how the hell it could take 14 years to make a record. I still don’t have the
answer. Right now, I can’t stop listening to the new TV On The Radio.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
My Morning Jacket at Bonnaroo. Hands Down.

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EVAN WINIKER (STEEL TRAIN)

What will you remember most about 2008?
It’s tough to say one thing because so much happened, if i had to say two things it would be the recession and the election.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
I’ve got a few: Fleet Foxes, Girl Talk and Dr. Dog. They’re all semi-big
but i think in the next year they are gonna become three of the most
important musical acts in America.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Fleet Foxes, self-titled

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Wilco at Lollapalooza

Click here to read Evan Winiker’s 2008 film reviews for Jambands.com

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ROB MARSCHER (MATISYAHU, AGP)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Obama won the presidency and I joined Matisyahu’s band.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Matisyahu. We had an instant connection when we first started playing together last spring – improvising and experimenting – and that has grown immensely through this year’s touring. I’m looking forward to working on more new material in 2009 and continuing to work on our sound as we hit festivals and cities around the world.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Oracular Spectacular by MGMT. "Time To Pretend" and "Kids" got a lot of play in the dressing room before we’d hit the stage. "Evil Urges" by MMJ gets honorable mention.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
The Pemberton festival in British Columbia was very cool. My Morning Jacket, Flaming Lips, Black Mountain, and Tom Petty all sounded great. Playing on the stage surrounded by all those mountains was pretty magical.

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DAVID GANS (SOLO ARTIST, THE GRATEFUL DEAD HOUR)

What will you remember most about 2008?
The election of Barack Obama.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Boris Garcia

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Railroad Earth, Amen Corner

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Rubber Souldiers at MagnoliaFest 10/25/08

Click here for a recent site interview with David Gans

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BOB STIRNER (BORIS GARCIA)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Recording and touring behind Boris Garcia’s latest Once More Into The Bliss

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Why Boris Garcia….of course!!!

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Amen Corner by Railroad Earth….amazing.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Live / On air, David Gan’s / KPFA radio performance with Mark Karan and Peter Rowan sitting in….too much fun!!!

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DAN SHAW (10,000 LAKES FESTIVAL)

What will you remember most about 2008?
The Presidential election. It was encouraging to see so many people involved in the process and seeing so much passion for change. And as a bonus we got to witness a slew of amazing artists play at the rallies. There were some incredibly bizarre and great lineup combinations that will never happen again.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Kinetix, as well as The Hue

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
David Byrne’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today and Shpongle’s Are You Shpongled. The shuffle on my iPod really likes Shpongle a lot.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
I was lucky enough to catch David Byrne at the Playhouse in Cleveland. Really, really great. Catch it if you can.

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ETHAN SCHWARTZ (LANGERADO)

What will you remember most about 2008?
The first car rolling through the gates at Big Cypress – It was an 8 years in the making event and when that first car rolled through I got tears in my eyes. It will remain a lasting memory of a week that professionally and personally was one of the toughest of my life, but absolutely worthwhile in every aspect. I’m truly grateful that we were able to put on Langerado at that incredible site, even if it was only for one year.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
I’m excited to see what Muse does this year. They are one of the biggest bands in the world but aren’t getting the love in the States like they should be. But everyone I have ever talked to who has seen them live has been converted.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
OK Computer – Radiohead, The 3 EP’s – The Beta Band, Sumday – Grandaddy, Absolution – Muse, Party – Nick Swardson, Binaural – Pearl Jam, 7-6-98, Prague – Phish, Dear Science – TV on the Radio

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
The Beastie Boys from Langerado. 25,000 people just getting nuts in the middle of the Everglades. Wondering to myself if 25 years ago riding in the school bus listening to License to Ill did I ever imagine I would have been throwing a Beastie Boys show in the swamp. Close runner up – Gogol Bordello at the Culture Room. I’ve seen a thousand shows at the Culture Room and the energy in there was un-fucking-believable that night.

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GREG MCLOUGHLIN (BUZZUNIVERSE)

What will you remember most about 2008?
11 PM when Obama’s face appeared on NBC as officially President… I was alone but
shared the moments with hundreds of friends on Facebook as we continually updated
our statuses with joyful, hopeful messages, and I balled in tears watching the speech in Grant Park, so proud to witness one of the greatest moments in world history.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Natural Breakdown… Just watch… They’re playing theaters already and their
spiritual message is connecting with a lot of people…

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Leroy Justice Revolution’s Son

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Self: BuzzUniverse at Gathering of the Vibes… I’ve attended several vibes’ and
always dreamed of performing there… It was about 110 degrees on stage in the sun,
and we rocked it like it was the last set of our lives.

Other: Bruce Springsteen at Hersheypark Stadium… I skipped all of the local Bruce
shows this year and trekked to Hershey, PA on a Tuesday instead… We all know Bruce
eats up the Small Town USA thing, and I knew the show would be special.

Click here for a review of BuzzUniverse’s latest CD

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TOM HAMILTON (AMERICAN BABIES, BROTHERS PAST)

What will you remember most about 2008?
This past summer American Babies played the Newport Folk Festival. That alone would have been enough to mention. What made that day even more memorable was after our set in the small tent we were informed that the Marley Brothers were not going to make it to the festival on time, and we were asked to play a second set on the Main Stage. It couldn’t have gotten any better.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
I think that Dr. Dog is the best band in America right now and I feel that 2009 will be full of great things for and from them.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
She and Him – Volume One

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Cat Power – Newport Folk Festival. Chan Marshall owned the stage. Her undeniable voice, absolutely stunning looks, and commanding stage presence had me mesmerized.

Click here for a review of American Babies’ debut CD

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MARTIN PERNA (ANTIBALAS, TV ON THE RADIO)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Getting married and cooking for 150 people after our caterer ran off with our money!

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Ocote Soul Sounds: (Antibalas meets Grammy-nominated Grupo Fantasma) and their new album Coconut Rock coming out in May or June of 2009

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Budos Band

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Antibalas live at Womad Festival in Gran Canaria, 2008. 12,000 people packing the plaza at midnight watching us for free. It doesn’t get better than that!

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ED ANDERSON (BACKYARD TIRE FIRE)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Recording at Sun Studio, sitting in with Los Lobos, having the band be personal guests of George Wendt on Broadway in NYC to see him star in Hairspray and having him show up at our gig the next night, plus touring with bands like Cracker, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Rev. Horton Heat, etc., etc.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Backyard Fucking Tire Fire

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Alejandro Escovedo – Real Animal

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Opening for Los Lobos on October 25 at the Bloomington Center For the Performing Arts in Bloomington, IL. They were the coolest guys and they had us come up and play with them at the end of their set. A few days later Steve Berlin called and is going to produce our next record in Feb. 09!

Click here for a recent interview with Backyard Tire Fire

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SCOTT BERNSTEIN (HIDDEN TRACK)

What will you remember most about 2008?
I’ll remember 2008 as the year of too many festivals. It seemed like there was a festival every weekend from March until October and many of the new ones were clunkers. There aren’t enough touring bands out there to keep lineups fresh and imaginative, a problem that I only see getting worse in 2009.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
I’ve got three completely different acts that I’m keeping my eye on.

1.Phish – Their reunion can really go either way. Unrealistic expectations can
do them in once again or they can rise to the challenge and reclaim their
post as the country’s most inventive live act.

2. McLovins – These kids are way too young to be so good. Even the most jaded of jamfans appreciates their talents.

3. Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer aka Lonely Island – their debut disc, Incredibad, promises to have you jizzing in your pants with laughter.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
I can still listen to The Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely over and over and over again without getting sick of it. A great all killer, no filler album from top to bottom.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Paul Simon – Under African Skies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Watching Paul and Ladysmith Black Mambazo sing “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and David Byrne claim ownership of “I Know What I Know” are among the most blissful moments of music I’ve ever experienced. It made me feel bad that I only paid $50 to see this show. I felt so bad I gave the venue more money. You’re looking at a paid supporter of the BAM!

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STEVE ADAMS (ALO, BIG LIGHT)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Feeling excited about a presidential candidate and seeing him win! Touring with Tea Leaf Green. Making friends with Big Light. Discovering The Better World Shopping Guide. And getting a horoscope that told me this would be the best year of my life.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Jackie Greene, The Mother Hips, Big Light…

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Tea Leaf Green – Raise Up The Tent
Nicki Bluhm – Toby’s Song
The Lovin’ Spoonful – Platinum & Gold Collection

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
My Morning Jacket at Bonnaroo. Great late night set in the pouring rain. Chali 2Na backed by Galactic at Bonnaroo, super great jam session. The Golden Gate Gramble at 12 Galaxies in San Francisco featuring Skinny Singers, Ball Point Birds, Lebo, Big Light and Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, plus a sweet gramble at the end of the night.

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DAVE KATZ (EKOOSTIK HOOKAH)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Hookahville XXX

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Way too many to name

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Genesis, Trick of the Tail

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Abagail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet with Bela Fleck

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WHITLEY

What will you remember most about 2008?
Getting a great light house in my hometown and growing an awesome vegetable patch.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Seagull, from Melbourne, Australia

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Liam Finn, I’ll Be Lightning

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Whitley/ Ben Kweller at Antones, Austin

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THOMAS PRIDGEN (THE MARS VOLTA)

What will you remember most about 2008?
I remember our tour because we toured this whole year straight no stop like slaves. I remember all that because we just came back from South America, Europe, Japan, did the whole states thing again. That was big for me because I feel like I really did get to see everything. Sometimes you feel like you’ve seen stuff, but this year I really saw it all.
That and I have a two-year-old boy and I just got him a drum set and I just figured out that he’s left handed. Just watching him play is a highlight. I learned when I was three and he’s hella better than me.

Who is the band to watch in 2009?
Damn, that is a good question. We just recorded a new record and to me it’s the best. When I first heard Goliath, I didn’t hear it until it almost came out, so I was like damn, this is sick shit! Cause when I was in the studio I was stressin’ out! Cause when I was in the studio I was learning all of John Theodore’s parts which is crazy! Because it was 20 eight-minute songs. I was learning them and I was stressin’ out. By the time I got to record I didn’t know what to expect because I had never recorded with Omar as far as doing a record. It was a lot of pressure. When I first got in the band I never even tripped. Now this one, the new one we just did that isn’t titled yet, I enjoyed it way more because I knew what to expect from Omar, I knew what to expect from everybody. I could sit down and relax and just do what I do. You feel me? So I think the major thing for our band is going to be our next record because for me I think it’s the best record Omar has ever produced as far as his arrangements and I just like the music a lot. Like the last record, was like I’m gonna show you all that we gotta new drummer. Now it’s like we’re gonna show you that we’re still killin’ it. There’s like ballads on it. We sound like we’ve kicked it longer than two years.

What songs to do you listen to most on your iPod/iTunes?
Damn, I’ve been listening to a lot of Stewart Copeland. A LOT OF STEWART COPELAND. I have his live Police video, where he has his video camera next to the drums and it’s like his own documentary of the Police tours. He’s just hella dope. I’ve been trying to listen to all the people that all the cats that I listen to listen to. Going back and listening to hella Ginger Baker and shit. My girl is like I’ve heard Cream like a million times. I’m like I know; I’m only listening to it because I’m listening to Ginger Baker. I’ve been listening to a lot of like Afro-beat music, like Fela and a lot of other hip-hop stuff. But my iPod has been down. So I’ve just been listening to what I’ve been able to listen to. That’s crazy. I’m gonna go. That’s going to be crazy. A lotta people who are going to go are going be like damn. I’m sure at first people are going to be like yeah I’m just gonna go, but when they actually see it everyone is like DAMN! Like I was in Mexico when Obama won so everything is so crazy to me.

What was your favorite live performance of 2008?
That we did? My favorite one, Detour Fest in L.A. because we rarely ever play L.A. and when we do I just like the crowds. I like the rowdy crowds, like the crowds that are rowdy for no reason. That’s how it was, it was cool. So I gotta say the L.A. crowd. Backstage wasn’t all fun, but the show was tight. Dang! I didn’t go to any shows that weren’t our own, honestly. What shows? I like the Battles, you know them? That guy, the drummer from Helmet, he plays in that band. They’re pretty tight. I like seeing them. I haven’t seen much because I just end up seeing the bands we go on tour with. Sometimes I don’t even listen to them because some of these bands after a while you just get a headache. I’ve been watching a lotta videos though. I’d gotta say probably that Police thing, even though that’s not new. That’s the tightest thing I’ve seen. I like going back. You gotta take it back.

Mike Greenhaus’ New Year’s resolution is to blog more at www.greenhauseffect.com. He thanks Randy Ray for his extra eyes on this week’s Auld Lang Syne Set 3

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