Hungry for Music benefit.

7:30-9:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Borders Books & Music, Baileys Crossroads.

Call it a Live! prejudice, but you can't beat music as a holiday gift. And there will be plenty of such gifts on display tomorrow night at the Borders at Baileys Crossroads. A free two-hour concert will feature four area acts: the Fabulettes, Honky Tonk Confidential, Reverb and Mary Sue Twohy. It's a near-guaranteed good time, given the reputations of these performers.

The Fabulettes are a beehived trio on a time-machine trip back to the "girl group sound" of the '60s. Diana Quinn, Lisa Mathews and Jane Quinn Brack are well versed in the Watusi, the Swim and the Pony and specialize in covering timeless classics such as "Leader of the Pack" and "Respect."

Honky Tonk Confidential claims to play only two kinds of music: country, and western. That includes classic honky-tonk, C&W, western swing and original tunes that live up to the band's motto: "The way country music 'spoze to be." Mike Woods, Geff King, Diana Quinn, Bobby Martin and Dave Elliott could run a Wammie outlet with the number of Washington Area Music Association awards they've taken home.

Reverb has played at the Baileys Borders twice before and has become a favorite with both staff and customers. This five-man a cappella group blends the voices of Russell Jeter III, Steve Langley, Chris Hunter, Donovan Briscoe and Victor Pinkney.

Mary Sue Twohy is a long-standing member of the District's contemporary folk scene who's earned multiple Wammie nominations, one Wammie to keep and excellent reviews, comparing her to the likes of Nanci Griffith, Sarah McLachlan and Iris DeMent. Twohy will perform songs from her CDs "Training Butterflies" and "The Risk Involved."

You don't have to give this free show anything except your time. But after all that fine music and warm spirits, you might want to purchase a copy of "A Holiday Feast: Volume 7," the latest CD collection from Hungry for Music. This wonderful D.C.-based charity puts musical instruments in the hands of inner-city children through its instrument donation program and organizes free concerts at shelters for the homeless and at retirement homes.

The latest volume of the fundraising CD series includes all of the artists mentioned here, plus tracks from Ruthie & the Wranglers' "Acoustic Jamboree," 52 Pickup and a rocking sled full of others.

Another idea for getting the rosy glow of generosity: Search the house for an old instrument you're no longer using. Hungry for Music will fix it up and give it to a kid who otherwise wouldn't be able to play. The Borders rep even promises that all who donate an instrument at this event will get a free gift.

Is it better to give than to receive? Why worry about it when you can do both and hear great music at the same time?

-- Marianne Meyer

Borders at Baileys Crossroads is at 5871 Crossroads Center Way, along Leesburg Pike (Route 7) just west of its intersection with Columbia Pike; 703-998-0404. If you can't make the concert but have an instrument to donate, you can contact HFM at 202-479-2810 or visit the Web site,

With their a cappella style and her folk singing, Reverb, left, and Mary Sue Twohy, above, are just two acts in a wide-ranging, four-part lineup at the free concert, where donations are encouraged to help inner-city children learn to play instruments.