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2019 Summer Concert Preview – CT’s Best Gigs

Summer is looming.  That means the time to see great live music is fast approaching.  Connecticut’s best venues are teaming with artists from all eras and genres.

    The Ridgefield Playhouse kicks off its summer schedule on June 7th with David Crosby.  Crosby, who is still on the outs with supergroup CS&N, has had something of a late career resurgence.  The singer/songwriter, who turns 78 this summer, has put out four records in the last five years.  Fans can expect to hear selections from those recent albums alongside classic CS&N tunes like “Guinnevere,” “Deja Vu,” and “Almost Cut My Hair.”  On June 11, Todd Rundgren will take the stage at the Playhouse; the still prolific singer/songwriter/multi- instrumentalist will draw on the dozens of albums he’s recorded under his own name as well as with his bands Nazz and Utopia.  Boz Scaggs, still touring behind last years Out of the Bluesrecord, plays Ridgefield on June 26th.  Scaggs, once a member of The Steve Miller Band, can be expected to play both hits and rarities from his twenty studio albums.  Fans of the artist will no doubt be treated to his recent blues-based material as well as 70’s classics like “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle.”  Jakob Dylan’s The Wallflowers will be performing on July 19th.  With no new material – their last album was 2012’s Glad All Over- the band has regrouped for a recent tour that will likely showcase classics like “One Headlight,” “6th Avenue Heartache,” and “Sleepwalker.”  Country troubadour Lyle Lovett plays back-to-back dates on July 30th and July 31st.  Dawes, this generation’s answer to the Laurel Canyon sound, play on August 12th in support of their latest offering, last year’s wonderfully received Passwords.  The Beach Boys, just a few years shy of their 60th anniversary, play Ridgefield on August 18th.  Nineties stalwarts Toad the Wet Sprocket, known for their tight, catchy pop songs like “Something’s Always Wrong” and “Walk on the Ocean,” will end the Playhouse’s summer schedule on August 25th.

    Jackson Browne plays Wallingford’s Oakdale Theatre on June 29th.  Browne, whose last album was 2014’s Standing in the Breach, is best known for his 70’s hits like “Take It Easy,” “Doctor My Eyes,” and “Running on Empty.”  90’s San Francisco based band, Third Eye Blind, will play Oakdale on July 9th.  The band may only have a handful of albums from which to draw, yet they have plenty of radio friendly songs with which to delight fans: Remember “How’s It Gonna Be,” “Jumper,” and “Never Let You Go.”

    Old Saybrook’s The Kate is proud to host The Drifters.  The 50’s Doo-Wop group, best known for classics like “This Magic Moment” and “Under the Boardwalk,” has endured several lineup changes in their tenure, yet has emerged as a successful touring outfit over the years.  The following week, on June 21st, Amy Helm plays The Kate.  Helm, the daughter of Levon Helm, The Band’s late frontman and drummer, has collaborated with everyone from her father to Steely Dan to Roseanne Cash.  With two solo albums to her credit, Didn’t It Rainand This Too Shall Light, Helm can be expected to draw on those collections as well as selections from the famous Midnight Rambles she hosted with her father in Woodstock, NY.  Fairport Convention’s Richard Thompson plays The Kate on June 26th.  The guitar virtuoso, best known for his sophisticated playing technique, will brave the stage alone as part of his Solo Acoustic tour.

    New Haven’s College Street Music Hall will see Blue Oyster Cult take the stage on June 7th.  The band, often described as stoner metal, is best known for monster hits like “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and “Burnin’ for You.”  More 70’s artists will grace College Street on August 20th when both Hot Tuna and Dave Mason play the venue.  Hot Tuna, led by fingerpicking maestro, Jorma Kaukonen, have been thrilling their fans since their classic 1969 eponymous debut.  The band is sure to perform classics like “Hesitation Blues,” “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” and “I Know You Rider.”  Dave Mason, once the lead guitarist for Traffic, has been enjoying a fruitful solo career since the early 70s.  Having authored classics like “Feelin’ Alright,” and “Only You Know and I Know,” Mason has a wellspring of material from which to curate his sets.

    Fairfield Theatre Company has a blues theme this summer starting with Jimmie Vaughan, who plays July 19th.  With a brand new album out, Baby, Please Come Home, the guitarist continues the blues trajectory he’s been on since his Austin days with younger brother, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Robert Randolph & the Family Band play FTC on August 26th.  Known as much for his pedal steel virtuosity as he is for his infectiously upbeat performances, Randolph has the distinction of being on Rolling Stone’s list of “Top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”  John Mayall, referred to as the Godfather of the Blues, plays FTC on August 15.  At 85, and with a career spanning over sixty years, Mayall is not only still touring, but recording as well.  His latest collection, this year’s Nobody Told Me, continues to blaze the path he set so many years ago with the likes of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, and countless other guitar gods.

Check out the websites for each venue to confirm date and ticket prices.

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