Don’t-miss shows coming to Aspen and the valley (says Stewy)
ASPEN – Way far down on the list of things that the world needs is more concerts, more festivals and more venues in the Roaring Fork Valley. But hey, there they are, and I’m not about to turn my back on them just because they’re not a new, cheap, abundant source of renewable energy, an agreement to end the Israel-Palestine situation, or a dominant scorer for the Denver Nuggets. Gotta address our problems one at a time, and it’s empowering to start with something that isn’t going to just leave you feeling frustrated and powerless.The way I see it, there’s nothing less frustrating than surveying the upcoming summer of music in this neck of the mountains. The only question is where to begin, and how to proceed from there: By venue? Date? Musical style? Height?How about this: I’ll list my personal top 25 in descending order, and then … I’ll figure out something.1. Tedeschi Trucks Band (Saturday, June 4, Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brewfest): The Tedeschi Trucks Band is 11 pieces of soul firepower, led by singer Susan Tedschi and guitarist Derek Trucks. It may be all downhill after tomorrow.2. Steely Dan (Sept. 3, Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival): Been waiting to hear Steely Dan’s unique jazz-rock in concert for three and a half decades. Word is their show, with horns and a trio of female singers, is tight and hot.3. Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt (June 17, Belly Up): An acoustic evening with two songwriting greats. The interaction between the two should be nearly as good as the songs.4. Fitz & the Tantrums (Sunday, June 5, Belly Up): New-school soul, and an old-school brand of entertainment from this L.A. band that is blowing up as a live act. In a phone interview, bandleader Michael Fitzpatrick came off as good a guy as it gets. Opening is 25-year-old Mexican star Ximena, also in her Aspen debut. Proof of their appeal: beyond the Belly Up date, their debut local gig, they’re already scheduled for a return date, at the Labor Day Fest.5. Buena Vista Social Club (Aug. 21, Aspen District Theatre): It may be a decade past their explosive beginnings, but the music of this Cuban all-star group is bound to be excellent.6. Hayes Carll (June 23, PAC3, Carbondale): Listen to the Texas singer-songwriter’s new album, “KMAG YOYO,” and tell me you’re not psyched to see him.7. Disco Biscuits (July 2, EMU Eco Music Festival, Snowmass): Somehow this jam band – OK, a livetronica, trancefusion jam band – has gone a decade without visiting the valley. They break the streak by headlining this new festival. The Biscuits’ 2010 album, “Planet Anthem,” is worth several listens, and they have another one, “Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens,” coming this summer.8. Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (July 2, Jazz Aspen June Festival/Aspen Music Festival): I don’t expect this to be as good as the last appearance by Marsalis & the J@LC Orchestra, when they were joined by an African ensemble. But I do expect it to be great big-band jazz.9. Kyle Hollingsworth (July 31, Carbondale Mountain Fair): The closing slot at the 40th annual Mountain Fair should be an ideal setting for the groove from the String Cheese Incident keyboardist.10. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (July 13, Belly Up): This young woman is rock ‘n’ roll through and through. So is her band.11. Buckethead (July 24, Belly Up): Recently, I ran into an old friend, a good guitarist with most discriminating tastes. He mentioned that Buckethead was probably in his top three guitarists ever. Good enough for me.12. Edgar Meyer (Aug. 17, Aspen Music Festival): The bassist-composer appears solo in his annual Music Festival show, which focuses on his own compositions.13. Steve Earle (July 3, PAC3): After a handful of solo performances in the valley, the alt-country icon finally brings a band with him: the Dukes and the Duchess, which includes his wife, singer Allison Moorer.14. Empire of the Sun (July 15-16, Belly Up): Can’t say I know a lot about this electronic duo from Australia. (There – now you know as much as I do.) But their Aspen debut – the only club shows on their summer tour – is a two-night stand with a $60 ticket, which makes me take notice. Despite being a duo, expect a fairly grand production.15. The New Mastersounds (June 30, Snowmass Free Concert Series): British lads who do American-style soul-jazz right. Guitarist Eddie Roberts is a monster. Great way to kick off the summer of free music on Fanny Hill.16. Brett Dennen (Tuesday, June 6, Belly Up): Love this guy, from his skinny legs to his bright red moptop to his new album, “Loverboy.”17. Monty Alexander (June 24, Jazz Aspen June Festival): Something I’ve never seen before – one guy with two bands. The Jamaican keyboardist will have a jazz combo and a reggae group – simultaneously, onstage – as he pays tribute to Bob Marley.18. Leftover Salmon (July 2, EMU Eco Music Festival, Snowmass): Leftover Salmon’s potent blend of bluegrass, zydeco, rock and more, outdoors in the mountains, Fourth of July weekend. Add a cheeseburger, and I think that covers it.19. Robert Randolph & the Family Band (Friday, June 10, Belly Up): Gospel (sort of) like you’ve never heard it. Randolph, a pedal steel player, started out with the church music known as Sacred Steel – and then he got introduced to Jimi and Stevie Ray. You can imagine the rest.20. Michael Franti & Spearhead (Sept. 4, Labor Day Festival): Yes, Franti has played a lot in the valley the last few years. But have you noticed that he keeps getting better?21. Big Sam’s Funky Nation (July 10, Sopris Park, Carbondale): Big Sam is a big guy with a big personality on a big instrument (slide trombone), playing the music of his Big Easy hometown. Big fun.22. Deer Tick (July 25, Belly Up): A roots rock band from Rhode Island that is heavy on the rock; their shows are known for rowdiness.23. Jim Lauderdale (Aug. 11, Snowmass Free Concert Series): A versatile singer-songwriter, Lauderdale does country-rock, bluegrass and more, and has struck up a productive relationship with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.24. Stephen Marley (July 23, Belly Up): This member of the Marley family has stepped up of late; his second album, “Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life,” was released last week.25. Elephant Revival (July 29, Carbondale Mountain Fair): The Mountain Fair crowd will eat up this hippie-gypsy-bluegrass band from the Front Range.That’s just the tip of the iceberg.The Chili Pepper & Brewfest opens Friday, June 3 with reggae band Black Uhuru, and the electro-rock duo BoomBox. Tomorrow, Denver’s Carbon Choir opens for the Tedeschi Trucks Band.Additional highlights on the Belly Up calendar include Jenny & Johnny (Monday, June 6); reggae band Steel Pulse (June 15); long-running rock legends Little Feat (June 18); reggae originals Toots & the Maytals (June 24); Blues Traveler (July 3); Chris Isaak (July 5); Ted Nugent (July 11); Maceo Parker (July 21); Kevin Costner & Modern West (July 29); Amos Lee (Aug. 5); Leo Kottke (Aug. 14); and Brandi Carlile (Aug. 20).Carbondale’s Summer of Music features jammers Smooth Money Gesture (June 17); Shannon McNally & Hot Sauce (July 4); North Carolina’s The New Familiars (July 17); and the Trishas (July 24).Jazz Aspen’s June Festival (June 24-26, Benedict Music Tent) has Raul Midon and Richard Bona; Sheryl Crow’s 100 Miles From Memphis show; and Jennifer Hudson, with club shows at the Little Nell, featuring Maraca and the Hot Club of Detroit.Glenwood Springs’ Summer of Music – replacing the Summer of Jazz, which retired after 25 years – opens June 29 with the 14-piece Cuban band, Maraca. The party continues each Wednesday evening in Two Rivers Park; the lineup has Opie Gone Bad (July 6); Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband (July 13); Erin Bode (July 20); Euforquestra (July 27); and Hazel Miller (Aug. 3).Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale has youngster Jaden Carlson (July 8); the Jessica Fichot Trio (July 21); the Honey Dewdrops (July 23); Natalia Zuckerman (Aug. 11), and more.The EMU Music Festival (June 30-July 3) includes sets by San Francisco rockers Tea Leaf Green, DJ RJD2, Perpetual Groove and more.Also at the PAC3: Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones (July 22); Patty Larkin (Aug. 4); Robert Earl Keen (Aug. 16); and Leon Russell (Aug. 17).Mountain Fair (July 29-31) opens with local hero Bobby Mason; also on the musical agenda are 2009 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition winners the Hillbenders; the all-female quartet Blame Sally; Sambadende, which plays Brazilian music; local combo the Sirens of Swing; Zimbabwean band Zivanai Masango & Pachedu; and roadhouse rockers Truckstop Honeymoon.The Labor Day Festival (Sept. 2-4) lineup is rounded out by the Zac Brown Band, Girl Talk, Thievery Corporation, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Ryan Bingham.And if that’s not enough (but admit, it’s at least close), expect Belly Up to add a bunch more shows, and there’s (hopefully) the second edition of the Big Aspen Barbecue Block Party, which last year had an excellent music component to go with the excellent pork component.And of yes, this doesn’t really include the Aspen Music Festival (June 29-Aug. 21), which has a few classical concerts of its own to put email@example.com
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