June offers plenty of opportunities to head outdoors for music including the return of Playing With Fire. Summer Arts Fest has great music on their big stage June 5, 6 and 7, including Mike Zito & The Wheel at 7 p.m. Friday, June 5. Music Saturday, June 6, includes Moreland & Arbuckle (5 p.m.) and Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band (7 p.m.). See the full schedule at summerarts.org/music.
Playing With Fire
Playing With Fire (PWF) offers three big, free outdoor concerts this summer: June 18, June 25 and July 2. Concerts are at Midtown Crossing in the space that is also home to Jazz on the Green. Seating in the park opens at 5 p.m. and music begins at 5:30 p.m. For all the details and more artist information see playingwithfireomaha.net.
The gospel-steel of The Campbell Brothers highlights the June 18 show. The Campbell Brothers were a major influence on Robert Randolph. The band is one of the best and most influential gospel-steel acts around. They combine pedal-steel and lap-steel guitar in a traditional gospel style that has been part of certain Pentecostal churches’ worship services for over 60 years. National Public Radio called The Campbell Brothers’ music “every bit as earth-shattering as [Robert] Johnson’s music was in the ’30s. It’s a soul stirring blend of gospel and the power and volume of electric blues and rock, a sound as hot as brimstone that kicks holy butt.” Listen up at campbellbrothers.com.
Also performing June 18 are Nashville soul/R&B band Markey Blue and BluesEd’s Voodoo Vinyl.
Playing With Fire’s lineup for Thursday, June 25, marks the return of Paul DesLauriers, who has been seen at PWF events with Dawn Tyler Watson. DesLauriers hits Omaha with his own band and special guests including Anwar Khurshid and Angel Forrest with Denis Coulombe. BluesEd’s Dilemma opens.
Thursday, July 2, PWF presents the return of blues-rock guitarist Albert Cummings along with Boogie Boys and BluesEd’s Us & Them. Cummings is a popular guitarist who has played PWF events and Thursday blues club matinees. He’s just completed a new recording for Blind Pig Records. See albertcummings.com.
Mesmerizing Eric Taylor
Hoodoo favorite Eric Taylor has a couple of gigs in the metro area. He’s scheduled to return to Jerome Brich’s FolkHouse concert series on Saturday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. A $20 donation at the door goes to the artist. See folkhouseconcerts.com for location and details. Taylor is a storytelling songwriter with a masterful theatrical flair and guitar virtuosity who weaves mesmerizing tales of characters and survivors. Taylor was part of the early Houston scene that produced Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle and Lovett. See bluerubymusic.com.
Taylor also has a show Friday, June 5, at the Depot Deli in Shenandoah, Iowa, a short hour’s drive from Omaha and a pretty cool place to hang out and hear some live music. Music starts about 8 p.m. See facebook.com/DepotDeli.
Detroit’s Laura Rain & The Caesars bring sizzling soul and funk to The 21st Saloon Thursday, June 4. Fine guitarist Bobby Messano is back Thursday, June 11.The 21st Saloon Thursday schedule flexes a bit to accommodate Playing With Fire. Wednesday, June 17, Markey Blue plays a PWF pre-party. Saturday, June 20, guitar star Damon Fowler plays. All shows are 6-9 p.m.
Notable Zoo Bar shows include a couple of Hoodoo favorites. Catch virtuoso keyboard player Bruce Katz Wednesday, June 3, 6-9 p.m. in his only metro appearance. Multiple Blues Music Award winner Janiva Magness is back Wednesday, June 10, 6-9 p.m WRITER’S NOTE: Janiva Magness’ performance has been postponed. Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers perform at the Zoo Wednesday, June 10, 6-9 p.m. instead.
The Zoo Bar celebrates its 42nd Anniversary in July. See details at zoobar.com.
The OEA Awards music Summer Showcase is June 5 and 6 in Benson. See oea-awards.com.
Midtown Crossing hosts a Zydeco Festival Saturday, June 27, beginning at noon with traditional Cajun and Creole foods plus zydeco music including Lazy Lester, Corey Ledet, Christina Balfa, Little Buck, Bobby Allen, DL Menard and Major Handy.