Some big shows highlight the month of April, starting with the Monday, April 11, 6-9 p.m., show from Tommy Castro & The Painkillers at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar. Castro is celebrating a milestone as a blues bandleader with a 30th anniversary tour. Castro’s latest CD is “A Bluesman Came to Town,” on Alligator, and he was nominated for six Blues Music Awards this year. See tommycastro.com. Pennsylvania duo Soulful Femme opens. Keep up with the rest of the historic Zoo Bar’s schedule at zoobar.com and facebook.com/zoobarblues.
Mark Hummel, Billy Flynn & Rusty Zinn
West Coast jump-blues harmonica player, vocalist and bandleader Mark Hummel returns with two local shows, featuring the knock-down guitar power and skillful finesse of two top-flight blues stars: Billy Flynn and Rusty Zinn. Both are accomplished bandleaders in their own right as well as in-demand sidemen. Hummel and the band play Wednesday, April 13, 6-9 p.m., at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar. They plug in at The Jewell on Thursday, April 14, 6-9 p.m., as part of the BSO Presents weekly series.
Hayes Carll at Slowdown
Popular Americana singer-songwriter-guitarist Hayes Carll has a show at Slowdown on Thursday, April 14, 8 p.m. Caleb Caudle opens. Carll’s latest album is “You Get It All” (Dualtone).
BSO Presents Series
There’s a new venue in the mix for the Blues Society of Omaha’s BSO Presents weekly Thursday concert series: The Philly Backroom Entertainment Venue inside Philly Sports Bar and Grill, 8116 S. 84th St., in La Vista (in the Brentwood Square shopping center between Brentwood Drive and Giles on S. 84th). Thursday, April 7, 6-9 p.m., The Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck share the bill with Héctor Anchondo in a celebration of their respective OEAA recognitions. The Granite-Benck Band took home the Outstanding Blues Award while Anchondo was chosen Artist of the Year, on the heels of his 2020 International Blues Challenge win. Anchondo is also a nominee in the Acoustic Blues Album category in the Blues Foundation’s national Blues Music Awards this year.
As mentioned above, Mark Hummel and his touring band are up at The Jewell on Thursday, April 14, 6-9 p.m. Popular Nashville-based rockin’ blues trio Too Slim & The Taildraggers play Stocks n Bonds on Thursday, April 21, 6-9 p.m. The Skyla Burrell Blues Band is up at Philly Sports Bar on Thursday, April 28, 6-9 p.m. The Nashville Blues Society raves that Burrell has “one of those perfect, whisky-soaked-with-honey voices that is full of the passion and conviction,” while Blues Biscuits says, “They don’t just lay it down; they knock it down and kick it.” See skylaburrell.com.
Thursday, May 5, the celebration is on with Tony Meza & Chupacabra at Philly Sports Bar, 6-9 p.m. The band is a mix of Lincoln and Omaha roots musicians that is a crowd-pleaser at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar.
The BSO also has a hand in the Friday FAC early shows at The B. Bar, weekly at 5:30 p.m. Shows coming up include The Mezcal Brothers CD release party Friday, April 8. See omahablues.com for the full schedule and a curated list of other area blues shows.
Tickets are on sale for notable shows, including the double bill of Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Friday, July 22, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, 6 p.m., Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples perform at Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl in an outdoor show.
There are tickets available for blues guitar star Buddy Guy on Friday, May 6, 8 p.m. at Lincoln’s Royal Grove. Find out more at theroyalgrove.com.
Festival season is on the horizon with the Zoo Bar’s annual Zoo Fest anniversary celebration Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9.
The Soaring Wings blues festival is Saturday, June 4, with the John Nemeth Band headlining. Watch for a full announcement at soaringwingswine.com under events.
Playing With Fire has announced two weekends of free live music with details to come. Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16, plus Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12 and 13. Watch for updates at facebook.com/playingwithfireomaha. WRITER’S NOTE: Since our deadline the location for Playing With Fire has been announced: the event will return to Turner Park at Midtown Crossing. Promoter Jeff Davis’ other concert series, Music for the City, will also be back with four dates of free music scheduled May 21, June 11, July 23 and Aug. 20 at The Dam Bar on the River City Star landing.
In the Market for Blues, the brainchild of Héctor Anchondo, now with support from the Blues Society of Omaha and other sponsors, is set to expand to two days this year, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6. The multi-venue, multi-band event takes place in sponsoring Old Market clubs and other participating downtown venues. Watch for further announcements at facebook.com/inthemarketforblues.
The Outlandia Music Festival has been announced for Falconwood Park in Bellevue on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12 and 13. Wilco headlines. Other artists on the schedule include The National, Silversun Pickups and Margo Price. See onepercentproductions.com.