Summer music gets into full swing, starting with Summer Arts Festival June 7-9 featuring some great roots and blues talents including San Francisco’s The Lucky Losers Saturday, June 8, 3 p.m. and Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band Saturday, 9 p.m. See summerarts.org/music for all the details. This year’s event moves to Mike Fahey Street between 10th and 14th Streets in north downtown by the baseball park.
The Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival moves to Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl Saturday, June 15, with their best-yet lineup on two stages including 2019 Grammy Award Winning artist (Best Bluegrass Album of the Year) The Travelin’ McCourys, the old-timey swing and roots sounds of Pokey LaFarge, acclaimed songwriter Greg Brown, plus The Suitcase Junket, Rainbow Girls, Joshua Hedley, Kris Lager Band, Matt Cox Band, Jock Hotel, Clarence Tilton, Hope Dunbar, Andrea Von Kampen and Will Hutchinson. Food vendors will be on site, along with workshops, music for kids and more. See nebraskafolkandroots.com for schedule and tickets.
The fifth annual, free Zydeco Festival at Midtown Crossing is up Saturday, June 22, 3-10p.m. The lineup has downsized a bit but still offers great entertainers with Omaha’s own Prairie Gators opening the show followed by the funky zydeco of Terry & The Zydeco Bad Boys, hailing from Duson, La., plus headliner C.J. Chenier. Chenier is the son of Clifton Chenier, Clifton is known as the originator of zydeco music, and C.J. carries on the tradition of danceable beats and impeccable musicianship. See midtowncrossing.com.
Meanwhile the first annual Back Alley Blues Festival happens at Love’s Jazz & Art Center, 2510 N 24th Street and the nearby Elks Lodge Saturday, June 22, 3-8 p.m. Headlining is the great Johnny Rawls, who is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee and last month took home his second BMA for Soul Blues Album of the year for his release I’m Still Around. Also performing are Stan & The Chain Gang and Juke Butter featuring Allison Nash. Tickets are $15 at the gate. For details see Facebook.com/ljac.org.
The anonymous donor who stepped up to help the city maintain the tradition of the Fourth of July concert and fireworks show resulted in one of the best line-ups in recent memory. Co-headliners Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul and Chris Isaak will take the stage for the free show at Memorial Park Friday, June 28. The Firm opens the night.
BSO Presents Thursdays
The BSO Presents Thursday series of early shows presents some powerhouse guitarists in June, from soulful, rising guitar star Jarekus Singleton Thursday, June 6, to the great slide sounds of veteran Chicago bluesman Studebaker John June 13. Popular contemporary blues-rocker Mike Zito is back June 20.
Acclaimed 20-year-old newcomer Christone “Kingfish” Ingram makes his Omaha debut Thursday, June 27. Omaha-based blues-rock artist Sebastian Lane Band opens. Ingram is from Clarksdale, Miss., and his debut disc, Kingfish, dropped on Alligator Records in May. Rolling Stone says Ingram is “One of the most exciting young guitarists in years, with a sound that encompasses B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Prince.” Follow the Chrome schedule and a curated list of metro blues-related shows at OmahaBlues.com.
Zoo Bar Blues
Tony Meza’s back with Los Gattos, joined by Jom Van Gelder, Jeff Boehmer, Jeremiah Weir and Tim Budig. Catch their debut show at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Friday, June 14, 5-7 p.m.
Alligator Record’s fiery blues-rock guitar star Jarekus Singleton returns Friday, June 7, 5-7 p.m.
Mike Zito plugs in Tuesday, June 18, SoCal’s roots-rockers The 44s are up Wednesday, June 19, and Tinsley Ellis is back Thursday, June 20. All three shows are 6-9 p.m. Zydeco master C.J. Chenier takes the stage Friday, June 21, 5-7 p.m. Keep up with late-breaking additions to the calendar at zoobar.com.
More Big Shows
An artist who put on one of the best shows of 2018, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives return to Omaha Friday, June 14, 8 p.m., for a One Percent Productions show at Scottish Rite Hall. Stuart is truly a master of song, guitar and showmanship and his band is phenomenal.
Southern California punk-rock legend X performs at Waiting Room Sunday, June 23, 8 p.m.
Speaking of legends and masters, early warning that Austin’s iconic songwriter, guitarist and bandleader Jon Dee Graham is back Monday, July 1, 6 p.m. at the B Side of Benson Theatre with an electric trio version of his Austin band The Fighting Cocks. Opening the show and laying down the bass lines in the trio is acclaimed Austin singer-songwriter Bonnie Whitmore. Graham’s band has held down a Wednesday night residency at Austin’s Continental Club for over 20 years.
Tuesday, July 2, 8 p.m., Waiting Room hosts the return of Phil Alvin’s The Blasters in a quadruple-bill with Wayne Hancock, The Supersuckers and Clownvis Presley.
The alt-country twang and grit of Texas roots group The Vandoliers is on tap at the Bourbon Theatre, Saturday, June 8, doors 10 p.m., music 11 p.m. Grammy-nominated trio The Record Company is on the rise with their second disc, All of This Life, and a slew of touring including Europe and festivals. Catch the band at Waiting Room Tuesday, June 11, 8 p.m. Arizona folk artists Matt and Rebekah Rolland play Lincoln’s Crescent Moon Coffee Wednesday, June 19, 7-9 p.m. See rebekahrolland.com.