Weekend Ideas: June 26, 2014


Will the Zac Brown Band pull out its satellite-stage version of “Piano Man” at Fenway Park right after Billy Joel does it at the same venue? We’ll see when the Grammy-winning Georgia boys, who also have their way with a range of covers, roll into Fenway for shows both Friday and Saturday. Lowell’s Summer Music Series at cozy Boarding House Park also shines those nights with a pair of roots-rocking women not to be messed with (but definitely to catch live): the gritty Lucinda Williams on Friday and the fiery, impressionistic Neko Case on Saturday. Case’s show, in fact, made my Top 10 outdoor-music picks for this summer, linked here.

On Saturday, one may consider catching solo singer/songwriters at different ends of the spectrum in local folk favorite Ellis Paul holding court at Club Passim while, up over the border, onetime punk-rocker Elvis Costello pares it down and pumps it up at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, N.H. And Sunday offers two very different options. One’s an afternoon trip out to Webster Lake to see country renegade Jamey Johnson delivery his grizzly tunes at Indian Ranch, or an evening at the Wilbur Theatre with the legendary Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion, glimpsed here in a recent concert. And here’s a jump to my recent interview with the notoriously difficult Mr. Baker.

Finally, for my Thursday Throwback, Phish has recently been playing as well (or better) than it did during its ’90s heyday. So, with the Vermont jam-band kicking off a summer tour at Mansfield next Tuesday (behind new album Fuego, which is also probably its best since 1996’s Billy Breathes), here’s a glimpse back to a 1995 show. That’s two decades in a 30-year career, including a hiatus and breakup.

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