Over 40 bands and 14 hours of music are on tap as In the Market for Blues brings the annual blues festival to multiple indoor and outdoor venues in and around the Old Market. The Blues Society of Omaha now partners with festival founder Héctor Anchondo and other sponsors to keep the event growing and bringing in bigger talents. This year’s headliner is Curtis Salgado, a local audience favorite who is a multiple Blues Music Award winner, including repeat wins for Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year, most recently in May. He also has a list of albums, his latest being “Damage Control” (Alligator Records).
(See The Reader’s interview with Salgado by Virginia Kathryn Gallner at thereader.com/culture/music/the-blues-is-a-feeling.)
Selected other national and regional headliners of note include The Cate Brothers, Brandon Santini, Jeremiah Johnson, The Bel Airs, Cassie Taylor, Josh Garrett, The Soul Searchers, Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method, Shaw Davis & The Black Ties, The Old NO 9’s, Orphan Jon & The Abandoned,The Terry Quiett Band, Andy Sydow and, of course Héctor Anchondo. There are a number of the best local roots artists also on the Aug. 6 schedule, too many to list here.
Admission is $30 per person on the day of the event at the festival headquarters, 13th & Douglas, which will open at 10 a.m. Look for the pop-up tent with the Blues Society of Omaha banner. Find all the details at inthemarketforblues.com.
Playing With Fire
Meanwhile Jeff Davis is back with the second free Playing With Fire blues concert of the summer. The music is back at Turner Park at Midtown Crossing on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13. Music is scheduled to start at 5:30 each day with the lawn open for seating at 4 p.m. Friday’s headliner is Markus James & The Wassonrai. Bandleader James has received international recognition for his mix of blues, rock and the Indigenous music of West Africa and his home of Mali. From Florida, guitarist JP Soars Gypsy Blues Revue will feature blues fiddle player Anne Harris, who is a fierce and inspiring force of nature when she plays. The Chicago-based Harris has performed at Playing With Fire with Otis Taylor. Also on the bill are Milwaukee’s Blues Music Award-nominated artists the Altered Five Blues Band featuring an ensemble that’s been together for 20 years.
Saturday, Aug. 13, the headliner is the U.K.’s Catfish, a blues-rock band nominated in five categories in the 2021 U.K. Blues Awards, in which they took home Band of the Year honors in 2020. Also on the bill are the U.K.’s When Rivers Meet, which was the first band to win 4 U.K. Blues Awards in the same year in the 2021 ceremony. Rounding out the bill is a duo-oriented act featuring Friday performers James and Harris. Find more information and video clips of this tremendous lineup at playingwithfireomaha.net.
Music for the City
The following weekend, Aug. 20, promoter Jeff Davis brings another free blues concert with the August edition of Music for the City at the Dam Bar & Grill on the River City Star Landing. Performing is powerhouse rockabilly-roots-rock vocalist Nikki Hill and her hard-charging band, along with the U.K.’s rising stars When Rivers Meet and U.S. soul-pop-rock duo VanderWells. Music starts at 4:30 with BluesEd band The Redwoods. See musicforthecity.net.
Zoo Bar Blues
After a great 49th anniversary celebration in July, Lincoln’s Zoo Bar has a great lineup in August. Highlights include Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears on Thursday, Aug. 11, 9:30 p.m., and Carolyn Wonderland on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 6 p.m. Find the full schedule at zoobar.com.
A night of Americana is up at Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 4, with Steve Earle & The Dukes and The Whitmore Sisters at 7:30 p.m.
The inaugural Outlandia Music Festival happens Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13. This is a ticketed event at Falconwood Park that includes some distinguished Americana and rock artists, including Wilco, Local Natives, Silversun Pickups, Margo Price, The Breeders and more. Tickets are available at etix.com.
The Sunday Roadhouse concert series has two shows scheduled this month. Sunday, Aug. 14, 5 p.m. at Reverb Lounge marks the return of Amy LaVere and Will Sexton. Both are acclaimed artists, and their ongoing collaboration creates excellent music. Another Roadhouse audience favorite, the always-rockin’ Sarah Borges, is back Saturday, Aug. 27, 8 p.m., at Reverb Lounge. Details at sundayroadhouse.com.
The Vandoliers play Reverb Lounge on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26, 6-9 p.m. the BSO presents the Hadden Sayers Band at The Jewell. Sayers’ Texas blues-rock sounds and songs have built him a loyal following. Find a curated list of blues and roots shows and BSO-sponsored gigs at omahablues.com. Follow facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha for late-breaking information.