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Saloon-happy musician Stephanie Nilles to play free shows at Duggan’s Brewery

Nilles has played many memorable shows in far-flung corners of the world and will be in Toronto for two shows this week.

Hailed as the imp of the American pseudo-intellectual set – that's some hailing – the barrelhouse pianist Stephanie Nilles is a blues-jazz scamp whose songs are titled audaciously: Love Me or I Kill You, and another one that involves an off-colour rejoinder to a ferocious animal (or a prominent indie-rock band, we're not sure which). Born in Chicago and now based in New Orleans, the saloon-happy singer has played memorable shows in far-flung corners of the world. She's shared a bill with Bobby McFerrin in Carnegie Hall, and has offered her interpretation of Busta Rhymes's Break Ya Neck in the remains of a bombed-out cathedral in Nuremberg, as one does. Not a believer in social media – "Facebook is just a gateway drug to stalking" – the new bohemian Niles prefers boozier relations and curious song-based observations. Her fish bowls are vodka-based. This week she settles in at Duggan's Brewery for a pair of free shows. First round's on you.

Stephanie Nilles plays April 6 and 7, 8:30 p.m., Free. Duggan's Brewery, 1346 Queen St. W., 416-588-1086.

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Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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