The much-anticipated summer event held annually by Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar has announced its lineup. The 49th anniversary celebration is Friday and Saturday, July 8-9, on the street in front of the bar, North 14th Street between O and P streets. The focus is on soul with some heavy-hitting performers. Friday’s schedule is The Bel Airs (5 p.m.), The Melody Trucks Band (7 p.m.), Bobby Rush (9 p.m.) and Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal (11 p.m.). Saturday’s schedule is Big Daddy Caleb & the Chargers (3 p.m.), Dale Watson (5 p.m.), Curtis Salgado & the Phantom Blues Band (7 p.m.), Booker T. (9 p.m.) and Andy William & the Nebraska All Stars (11 p.m.). WRITER’S NOTE: this online text has been updated to reflect a swap in headliner dates, Bobby Rush has been moved to Friday and Booker T. now appears on Saturday.
For those who need a little more background — Booker T. is THE Booker T. of Booker T. & the MGs, a Memphis/Stax Records soul icon famous for his instrumental classic “Green Onions” and a life-long career in soul music. In 2019, he released a book, “Time is Tight: The Autobiography of Booker T. Jones.”
At the age of 80-something,Bobby Rush is a legend in the old-school, chitlin’ circuit style of bawdy, funky blues. An accomplished showman, Rush is equal parts bluesman and entertainer. As his bio notes, he is a Grammy-winning blues legend, Blues Hall of Famer, 12-time Blues Music Award winner, and recipient of the prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award. In 2021, Rush released a memoir, “I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya: My American Blues Story,” written with Herb Powell.
Portland, Oregon, singer-songwriter Curtis Salgado and his exhilarating mix of soul, blues, gospel, funk and more need no introduction to local audiences. The Alligator recording artist is a local favorite and a multiple Blues Music Award winner with over 20 nominations, including receiving the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award.
Melody Trucks is a newcomer to local stages, the Florida performer is the daughter of the late Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band. She also toured with her father in Butch Trucks and the Freight Train, and her show promises to mix her own music with the legacy of her father’s signature sounds. Find out more at melodytrucksband.com.
Single-day tickets and a weekend pass are available. Get the details at zoobar.com and check out the May schedule that includes Dale Watson on Saturday, May 7, 7 p.m., and Southern Culture on the Skids on Monday, May 16, 6 p.m. Find late-breaking news and pop-up events at facebook.com/zoobarblues.
Music for the City
Playing With Fire promoter Jeff Davis brings back his other free concert series, Music for the City, starting May 21. These shows take place at the Dam Bar & Grill on Miller’s Landing at the River City Star. Saturday, May 21, the headliner is the Dom Martin Band from Northern Ireland. The Terry Quiett Band has the third slot and an opening national act is TBA. A BluesEd youth performance band will open the show at 4:30 p.m. See musicforthecity.net for details on the three remaining summer shows, including headliners JW Jones, Monkey Junk & Friends with Paul Reddick and Nikki Hill.
Playing With Fire also returns July 15-16 and Aug. 12-13 at Turner Park at Midtown Crossing. Check out the lineup for this annual free summer series at playingwithfireomaha.net.
The BSO Presents series is on the move. Thursday, May 5, 6-9 p.m., catch Tony Meza & Chupacabra at the Philly Backroom Entertainment Venue. Thursday, May 12, 6-9 p.m., powerhouse Canadian entertainer Dawn Tyler Watson performs at The Strut. Thursday, May 19, 6-9 p.m., the Paul Nelson Band is featured at Stocks n Bonds. Check out omahablues.com for details, late-breaking additions and a curated list of local blues and roots shows.
The Sunday Roadhouse concert series presents the country, honky-tonk, twang and rock sounds of Western Centuries on Friday, May 13, 8 p.m., at Reverb Lounge. Shows coming up in the series include Chicago’s The Claudettes on Sunday, June 19, 5 p.m., at Waiting Room and the just-announced return of Americana icon James McMurtry on Tuesday, July 26, 7:30 p.m., at Waiting Room. See sundayroadhouse.com for more show listings.
Southern Culture on the Skids is up at Waiting Room on Tuesday, May 17, 8 p.m. The classic country-swing sounds of Texas’ Asleep at the Wheel are scheduled for the beautiful Scottish Rite Hall on Friday, June 3, 7 p.m. For tickets see onepercentproductions.com.
Omaha’s own Blues Music Award nominee for acoustic blues album, Héctor Anchondo can be seen at Slowdown on Friday, May 13, 8 p.m., with The Broadways opening. Anchondo has been invited to perform as part of the Blues Music Awards ceremony in Memphis on May 5 when the winners will be announced. The winners will be posted on the Blues Foundation’s site blues.org.
The Soaring Wings Winery hosts its annual blues festival Saturday, June 4, with headliner the John Nemeth Band. WRITER’S NOTE: John Nemeth has cancelled due to health reasons and Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials will headline the Soaring Wings festival.