Labor Day: Bryne, Johnson, Lovett |

Labor Day: Bryne, Johnson, Lovett

Janet Urquhart

Surfer/singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, former Talking Head David Byrne and Aspen favorite Lyle Lovett are all in the lineup for this year’s Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival.

Johnson, a former surfing champ whose eclectic sound includes acoustic ballads and music that has been described as “folk and blues-infected pop,” will headline on Friday, Sept. 3, making his first Jazz Aspen Snowmass appearance. He has played Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House.

Returning to the JAS stage to open for Johnson is G. Love and the Special Sauce.

Byrne, former guitarist, lead singer and songwriter for the Talking Heads, a punk band that hit mainstream commercial success before their ’91 breakup, will open the festival on Saturday, Sept. 4, followed by a headline act that has yet to be announced.

Aspen regular Lovett will open on Sunday, Sept. 5, according to Jim Horowitz, JAS executive director. The headline act for Sunday and the lineup for Labor Day – Monday, Sept. 6 – are also yet to be announced.

Johnson’s appearance on the Snowmass stage will be his only stop in Colorado this year, according to Horowitz.

The Hawaii native’s 2002 breakthrough album, “Brushfire Fairytales,” spawned several songs that received radio airplay, including “Bubbly Toes,” “Flake” and “Fortunate Fool.” He followed the album up with “On and On.” G. Love recorded Johnson’s “Rodeo Clowns” on its ’99 release, “Philadelphonic.”

Byrne, who has been doing solo work since well before the Heads split, will appear with a full backing band at Jazz Fest.

“David Byrne is somebody we’ve been talking about getting here for years,” Horowitz said. “He puts on a very interesting show.”

Lovett, he noted, is a longtime Aspen favorite. The Texan has played at various local venues over the years, including the JAS stage, the Music Tent, the Wheeler and a small, now-defunct nightclub, though he hasn’t performed here since 2000.

“As far as Lyle on Sunday, there’s a natural trend to invite back great artists … and Lyle Lovett is one of those,” Horowitz said. “He just has an over-the-top popularity here.”

In addition, this year’s Labor Day Fest will spell the end of the much-reviled policy that forced festival-goers to remain on the grounds once they entered the venue, according to Horowitz. This year, the festival will return to the old days, when attendees could come and go.

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